Talk about perfection. This recipe, if followed to the letter, will deliver unto you the most heavenly light uber-buttery brioche. And, if like me, you think to yourself, amazing though it is, a plain brioche can’t be enough surely? It can always be more delicious. Fabulous can be improved upon… then listen up. Add pork sausage and beer. Evidently everything is tastier with the aforementioned additions. This recipe is adapted from Maggie Beer’s sausage en brioche recipe (the brioche part she nicked from Damien Pignolet) and I messed about with it because I wanted to include beer in both the dough and the poaching. Why? Because I like it! So the beer-yeast method is adapted from The Beeroness’s recipe for Salted Brioche Rolls.
The beer flavour is mild but present. Next time I’d like to ramp it up a little and see if the recipe can take a little more beer.
Makes enough for two sausage en brioche or 1 brioche loaf approx 24 x 11 x 13cm.
Serves 8 as an entree.
It should serve more but I guarantee you, it’s moorish and people are greedy.
- 500g plain flour, sifted (or if you are lazy “00” unsifted, cos that’s how I roll)
- 10g salt
- 7g dried yeast or 15g fresh
- 280g eggs, weighed out of the shell (4-5 eggs), lightly beaten
- 130ml amber ale beer (or milk if you want to be a traditionalist about the whole thing)
- 30g caster sugar
- 300g soft unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 x large Cotechino sausages, approx 15 cm x 5 cm
or 4-6 smaller pork sausages *
I wanted to give people options so I used 4 medium sized pork sausages in one loaf and nada in the other.
- 1 egg, beaten with a little milk (for glazing)
- Dollop of good dijon mustard, for serving
- Good quality salted, european style butter, for serving
- A mixer with a dough hook
- 1 large flat baking tray or two smaller ones
- plastic wrap
- a damp tea towel
- a measuring jug
- Add the beer to a microwave safe container heat in the microwave for 10 seconds, test the temperature (you want it between 105 -110 F or 42 C) and repeat until the desired temperature is reached.
- Sprinkle the yeast on top and allow it to get foamy, about 5 minutes.
- In the mixer goes the flour, salt and sugar and mix on low for a few seconds to combine.
- Add the beer and mix on low until shaggy, flaky lumps form (about 1 1/2 minutes).
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until a dough forms.
- Increase the speed now to high and work until the dough is elastic and makes a fairly loud slapping sound against the sides of the bowls. You may need to stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times. If you are unsure, it isn’t there yet!
- Add the softened butter in 4-5 batches, make sure that each batch is combined before adding the next.
- The finished dough should look smooth and slightly shiny but should not show any signs of oiliness. If it does look a bit oily that means the butter is melting so pop it in the fridge for a bit to resolidfy the butter.
- The dough is now ready for proving. Leave it in the mixing bowl, remove the dough hook and scrape down the dough, pushing to compact it.
- Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface.
- We want it to double in size so mark the level of the dough on the outside of the bowl (with a bit of gaffer tape or if you’re lazy like me, a schmear of dough) that indicates the double size mark. Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place.
- The dough will take anywhere between 1-3 hours to double in volume, depending on the temperature. Keep brioche dough away from any heat sources as the butter may ooze out. If the butter starts to melt and the dough looks oily, place in the refrigerator from time to time.
- After the dough has doubled in volume, knock back the dough with a spatula or simply push it down firmly with your hand.
- Replace the plastic wrap, cover again and prove again until doubled in volume. This second prove should be faster, about 45 minutes.
- As it happened, due to my timing for people arriving for dinner, I let it prove a third time. I can’t confirm whether this 3rd prove makes a difference, perhaps two would do, but I can tell you my brioche was light as a feather.
- While this last prove is happening, immerse your sausage(s) in any leftover beer from the opened bottle(s) and top up with cold water to cover.
- Bring to boil and turn down immediately, poaching the sausage very very slowly so that the skin doesn’t burst. The length of time will depend on on the size of the sausage. A cotechino takes about 45 minutes, a large thick pork sausage will take around 30 minutes whereas a bog standard gluten free pork sausage from your butcher will take around 20 minutes.
- Remove from the poaching water and while it’s still warm take the skin off.
- Grab your baking tray(s) and drop some baking paper on top. Grease with a little butter or olive oil spray
- Take the dough out of the bowl and divide it into two using a sharp knife.
It is quite a wet dough and very elastic.
- Gently spread each half on the baking paper to form a flat rectangle
- Place warm sausage in the centre and wrap the the brioche dough around the sausage.
- Quickly, but gently, flip it over so the seam is underneath.
- Brush the top of the loaf with the beaten egg to glaze
- You wouldn’t go astray here by sprinkling a light dusting of crystallised salt on the top. I forgot so I can’t confirm but all instincts point to yes!
- Leave to rise again for around 10 – 20 minutes. I did this last prove in the fridge because the oven was on and I was concerned about the butter in the dough melting.
- Preheat the oven to 220C.
- Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, turning down the oven to 200C after 10 minutes.
- Serve warm in thick slices with a little mustard on the side
* Places that sell cotechino in Sydney: Fratelli Fresh (Waterloo – imported from Italy), Sam the Butcher (Bondi – in house – dry aged) and AC Butchery (Leichhardt – in house – frozen).
* Using plain pork sausage is what happens when the place you KNOW sells cotechino happens to be sold out that day and you inadvertently buy zampone which has a very similar looking box but is a very different, and useless in this circumstance, sausage wrapped in pig trotter.