Baking With Colette

Brioche in Three Hours

Hello Bakers,

Yesterday, my demo - Brioche in Three Hours was cut short. My demo was part of the Women Chef's and Restaurateurs Conference that was held here in Los Angeles this weekend.
I was demoing with Chef Jack Mancino from Hudson River Valley Foie Gras and 45 minutes was not nearly long enough. His foie demo was amazing. Since brioche is perfect with foie gras - that was my contribution.
Well, time ran out and I could not finish my demo so I promised the attendees that my next blog post would be all about how to make brioche in three hours.
Usually, making brioche is a long process that involves bulk fermenting the dough in the refrigerator overnight. But before that the butter  is emulsified into the dough. This is fine and classic but it leaves a dough so soft that it has to be refrigerated overnight. It is next to impossible to shape without chilling.
A few years back when brioche hamburger buns were all the rage, the student cafe at the Art Institute often ran out - this is never good.  So I worked on changing the mixing method so that the buns could be made quickly and there would always be enough.
By using creaming method in the beginning, I was able to avoid adding the butter at the end.
Also, the dough could be shaped after a mere hour of bulk fermentation at room temperature.
The students mastered the technique quickly and the little cafe never ran out of buns.

Brioche can be shaped many ways. It can be shaped as an a tete if you have any a tete molds hanging around, as buns or as a loaf - loaves are often called "Nanterre". Larger loaves will take longer to proof and bake.

I hope I have aroused your curiosity, bakers, and that you will try this brioche. It's quick and easy - no gimmicks or rapid yeast - just the same ingredients but mixed differently.
This recipe belongs to my good friend and amazing bread baker, Michael Kalanty. If you have not purchased his first book "How to Bake Bread" please do so now. And his second book "How to Make More Bread" will be available soon. First book

Please try this brioche bakers and tell me what you think.
Also if you have questions, please ask, I am here to help.

Happy Baking!

Three Hour Brioche
A Baking with Colette Tutorial

Adapted from How to Bake Bread by Michael Kalanty
The ingredients in paranthesees yield a small batch.
9 (4.5) ounces water
1 ½ (3/4) ounces fresh yeast or ½ (1/4) ounce instant
12(6) ounces bread flour

1.    Combine well in a bowl – cover and let sit, covered, at room temperature for 45 minutes
Final Dough
11 ounces butter (5.5 ounces)
3(1.5) ounces of sugar
6 (3) eggs

1 # (pound) 8 ounces (12 ounces) bread flour
7/8 ounce of salt (22g) (11g)

                                                                                            mise en place

Demo Notes
1.   Dissolve the yeast in the water, add flour and mix until smooth.
2.   Let sit, covered, 45 minutes at room temperature.
                                                                              after 45 minutes
3.   In a mixer with the paddle attachment cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy – 6 minutes. 
4.   Add the eggs 2 at a time – mix each addition in well before adding the next. It will look broken, that's ok.

                                                                     It looks broken, that's ok
5.   Add the sponge mixture – mix until smooth.
                                  Add yeast paste
6.   Remove the paddle and attach the dough hook add the flour and the salt mix on speed 1 until it achieves “clean up” stage.
7.   This takes about 4 minutes. Then mix for another 2 minutes on speed 2 until smooth.
8.   Bulk ferment the dough in a buttered bowl, covered, for 1 hour until dough has doubled in size.
9.   Degas and shape as desired. Dough can also be overnight fermented.
                          two ounce portions
           Proofing in XL Ziploc bags with hot water
10.                Proof, egg wash, bake at 350 until golden brown, has an internal temperature of 205-210 and feels light.  If the brioche feels heavy return it to the oven for 5-7 minutes. The oven temperature can be reduced 25 degrees so that the brioche do not get too dark.
      Brioche freezes well.
                                                                                             So delicious 

Bake Away the Winter Blues with Luscious Key Lime Pie

Hello Bakers,

There has been so much going on with filming the latest Craftsy class and finishing the macaron book
that this poor blog is sorely neglected.
But not anymore....
The year is young and there is so much baking to do.
We will start 2016 with a three part series on working with citrus fruit

This is the time of year when citrus is at it's best. Here in California the trees are heavy with fruit.
Let's start with Key Lime Pie. You know it - it's delicious hard to eat just one slice.
Key limes were transplanted, literally, to the Florida Keys by the Spanish in the 1500s.
They are Key West - every restaurant sells some variation of the Key lime pie.
What's a little ironic is that in 1926, a hurricane wiped out the key lime plantations in South Florida.
They were replanted with Persian limes, which were easier to pick and grow. Today, key lime plantations are grown closer to Miami.
In Key West, actual key limes have urban myth status. They are found in back yards and never leave the Keys....
Key limes are tricky to squeeze but it can be done. Key lime juice can also be purchased. The best brand is Nellie and Joe's. I would rather use fresh (non key lime juice and extra zest) the bottled key lime juice. But if you are too pressed for time to squeeze limes then that is an option.
In the early days, key lime pie wasn't baked.
During mixing there is a reaction between the condensed milk and the lime juice that causes the filling to thicken on it's own before baking.
Today, we know it is dangerous to consume raw eggs, so the pie is baked for 12-14 minutes until the eggs are cooked and the filling is set. Baking it is better because it helps the filling set up even firmer.
Traditionally, key lime pie was topped with meringue - those egg whites have to be used up after all.
But this version uses whipped cream as a topping. Any extra egg whites in my kitchen get turned into macarons.
One last bit of history, there are 38 states in the union that have an official state dessert and Key Lime Pie is Florida's.

Key lime pie is very quick to put together - Bakers you have to try this.
Let me know what you think.
Happy Baking!

Key Lime Pie
One 8”pie, about 8 servings
2 8” pie pans - the disposable ones work best for shaping the crust
2 medium bowls
18”-20” (45 to 50cm) piping bag
Medium open star tip
Scissors to cut bag
5 ounces (142g) graham cracker crumbs
2 Tablespoons, 1 ounce, (28g) sugar
5 Tablespoons, 2 ½ ounces, (71g) butter, melted
Grated zest of one lime
½ cup, 4 ounces, 113g fresh squeezed key lime or regular lime juice
3 large egg yolks, 2.13ounces, (60g)
1 can sweetened condensed milk, 14 ounces, (397g)
Whipped Cream (Chantilly) Topping
1 cup, 8 ounces, 227g heavy cream
2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon, 1 ¼ ounces (40g) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Mix well
  3. Press the graham cracker crumb mixture into one of the pie pans. It should cover
the bottom, sides and lip of the pan. Line shell with plastic wrap.

4. Carefully press the 2nd pan on top of the graham cracker crumb mixture. Push down hard 
so that the crust is flat and smooth against the first pan. 

Carefully remove the top pan.
    5.   Bake the crust for 7 minutes. The crust should be a light golden brown. Remove and set aside.
    6.   Prepare filling. In a medium bowl combine lime juice, lime zest, egg yolks and condensed milk.    Mix well.

    7. Pour filling into pie shell.

    8. Place in oven. Start checking at 14 minutes. The filling should jiggle slightly but not ripple.
If it jiggles then put it back in the oven for another 4-5 minutes. Check again. By now it should look set.
    9. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. Let cool for a half hour then move to the refrigerator to completely cool.

A few hours before serving, make whipped cream (Chantilly) topping.
Mixing by hand:
1.      Make sure all the ingredients and the bowls are chilled.
2.      Whisk the cream, vigorously, until it is slightly thickened, about the consistency of yogurt..
3.      Add the sifted confectioner’s sugar and the vanilla.
4.      Continue to whip the cream until the cream is smooth but not grainy, about the consistency of shaving cream.
5.      Do not over-whip or the cream will become grainy and separate.
Mixing by Machine:
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment or using a hand held mixer,
whip the cream on medium speed until it is slightly thickened, about the consistency of  yogurt.
    2.  Stop the mixer and add the sifted confectioner’s sugar and the vanilla.
    3.  Increase speed to medium high and continue to whip until the cream is smooth but not grainy, about the consistency of shaving cream.
    4. Do not over whip or the cream will become grainy and separate.
Chantilly cream should be made and used a few hours before serving.
Finishing the pie...
Put the tip in the piping bag and fill with the cream. Pipe a pretty border around the edge of the pie.
The pie can be decorated 2-3 hours ahead of serving and refrigerated.
Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Key Lime Pie will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Honey Madeleines-More Options for your Madeleine Pan Investment

Hello Bakers,

Last week, one of my Craftsy students asked me for a Honey Madeleine recipe. I was happy to
come up with one. It took a few tries because honey always contributes a lot more moisture then sugar. My AI, teaching assistant, Shayenne was so patient - each time we had to redo it.
But this final version is delicious. My husband (Chef) thinks I should add honey powder to pump up the honey flavor but for now I think we will stick with this recipe. The honey flavor is there, trust me.

All  this led me to think that blog post on honey madeleines would be a great idea.
These have a delicious honey and butter glaze. They are fun to make and really tasty - delicious with
morning coffee or tea.

After all, once you have invested in a madeleine pan, it's nice to have a collection of madeleine recipes.

I offer two recipes for madeleines in my Craftsy class French Miniature Desserts and they are good but I will try to more offer more madeleine recipes on the blog. I know plenty of you have those madeleine pans resting in your cupboards. Let's use them and make some beautiful madeleines.
Maybe even a few savory madeleine recipes....
The thing is, Madeleine pans are rather exclusive, basically the only thing you can make in them are madeleines.

This recipe is nice for this time of year. I always think of early spring in California as a transitional
time for bakers - we are moving out of citrus and the berries are not quite here yet.
(Well they are but they are still expensive)
So honey is a nice flavor to explore this time of year.
A good supermarket clover honey will work fine. But if you have some flavored honeys use them.
Lavender honey could be really interesting in these.
The batter is loose so be careful when you fill your piping bag. Maybe put down a piece of parchment paper to catch drips.
Have fun!
Happy Baking!

Honey Madeleines (Ribbon Method)
114g  ( 4 ounces) Cake Flour
3g Baking Powder
1g Salt
3 Eggs
85g (3 ounces) Sugar
85g (3 ounces) Honey
71g (2.5 ounces) Melted Butter
Yield 12 Madeleines
Honey Glaze:
57g (2 ounces)Melted Butter
57g (2 ounces) Honey
Stand or Hand Held Mixer
Madeleine Pan
Sifter or Strainer
Pastry Brush
Piping Bag
Piping Tip (optional) Ateco 804 or any plain tip approximately 3/8” in diameter

Pan Preparation:
Pan spray (or melted butter)
Brush the shells of the madeleine  pans with melted butter or spray with pan spray.
Sift the flour over the pan – be generous, then tap out the excess.

1.     Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, 190 Celsius, Gas Mark 5.
2.     Sift together cake flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
3.     Combine the honey and melted butter in a medium sized bowl.
4.     In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a hand held mixer, combine  the eggs and sugar.   With the mixer at high speed, beat until the mixture is tripled in volume. This will take 8-10 minutes of mixing at high speed. 

5.     Using a spatula fold in 1/3rd of the egg mixture into the melted butter and honey.  Then add this back into the egg mixture, fold gently.
6.     Sift the dry ingredients over  egg mixture, in two increments.

7.     Do not over mix.

8.     Put the batter into the piping bag. (it will be loose)
9.     Pipe the batter into the shells – slightly below the top of the pan.

10.Chill for 20 minutes in the refrigerator.
11.Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes.
12.At 12 minutes, test for doneness by inserting a skewer in the center – it should come out clean.
13. If the madeleines do not test clean, return them to the oven for 3-4 more minutes.
14. Let cool in the pan for about 5  minutes, then carefully remove the madeleines and move them to a cooling rack.

1.     Combine the melted butter and honey.
2.     Brush on madeleines while still warm.

       The madeleines can be piped, wrapped and frozen for up to one month.
       Bake them from the frozen state and allow additional 10-12 minutes for baking.
       The madeleines are best eaten the day they are made. They will keep well  wrapped and              frozen, after baking for up to one month.
       Thaw at room temperature for several hours at room temperature.

***Thank you Carol for proofreading this recipe. We need your eagle eye as I type way too fast.

Flaky Buttery Biscuits, Starring the Best Butters!

Hello Bakers,

In the past few weeks, I have gotten several requests for a good biscuit recipe.
This led me to think that maybe biscuits would be a great blog post.
The following biscuit recipe is a particular favorite.
It is quick and easy, uses milk not buttermilk and uses only baking powder -
making it very accessible to the baker who wants to get some hot and delicious
biscuits on the table - without having to think about ingredients.

Most of us have milk and baking powder in our kitchens and if you are reading this
blog - you most likely have unbleached all purpose flour (King Arthur) in your cupboard as well.
This recipe uses butter - pure unsalted delicious butter.

This is one of those recipes where the butter flavor is the star.
Often I am asked by students "when do you use a premium butter and when is a regular unsalted
butter OK to use in your baking?"
When butter is the predominant flavor - spend up and get the good stuff.
Recipes like biscuits, pie crust. croissants, puff pastry, quick puff pastry and butter cookies (like shortbread) are all better with made with premium butter - after you have mastered the technique of that particular recipe.
Use a supermarket butter when the recipe has lots of sugar, chocolate and other flavors - cakes,
muffins and brownies are good examples of where I would use Trader Joe's unsalted butter.

In these biscuits, I used unsalted  Plugra which is a delicious European Style butter.
Another one of my favorite brands of butter is Challenge Butter.
Challenge Butter is local to California and never uses milk from cows that have been treated with rbST.
Kerrygold is another delicious choice but needs to be cubed and frozen first. Kerrygold cows are grass fed which is why their butter softens up so quickly.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and add it to your repertoire - it will surely make your loved ones smile
to see hot biscuits on the table for dinner.
BTW - they are also great with sausage gravy. Yum!
P.S. You can easy cut the recipe in half - that's why I wrote it in grams. :)
Happy Baking!

Flaky Buttery Biscuits
     Oven 400 conventional or 375 convection
      Pan Prep:
Line a sheet tray with parchment paper
Makes 18 2” biscuits

450g unbeached all purpose flour
8g salt
22g granulated sugar
18g baking powder
180g unsalted butter – cubed and keep cold
270g (ml) milk  Sift all the dry ingredients together.

1.       Cut in the butter – the mixture should look like corn flakes.  A plastic bowl scraper works great for this.

2.       Add the milk.
3.       Combine working the flour into the liquid, push the liquid into the flour with the bowl scraper,
against the side of the bowl. This is how you build layers.

The mixture will begin to come together and there should be no floury residue on the bottom of the bowl.

4.       Transfer the dough to a work surface andf fold a few times until it comes together – do not overwork.
5.       Roll out the dough to 1/2-5/8” thickness. Cut with a floured cutter and place the biscuits on the lined sheet pan.

6.       Chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to firm up the fat.
7.       Brush the tops with a little milk – this keeps the crust soft.
8.       Bake at 400 until the tops are light brown – start checking in 12-14 minutes.
9.       They should be golden brown and delicious. Make sure to pick one up carefully – make sure they feel light.
Leftover biscuits can be frozen for up to one month. Thaw at room temperature for several hours and then refresh in a 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes before serving.