There’s something about the aroma of freshly baked bread. The aromas are tantalising and they do cause your appetite to erupt, even when there’s none.
And when the bread is fresh, it doesn’t need too much as an accompaniment.
A little butter or jam, maybe a chutney or pesto. Or better still, flavoured oil.
And these oils, you can make and store in your fridge for a month. Use them as a dip, or as an addition to salads or relishes.
Pour it over pizza and focaccia for an amazing taste.
Use whatever you have to make the oil. Just remember, you need glass bottles and a good quality oil. A light olive oil or a vegetable oil will do. If you use extra virgin olive oil, the flavour and aroma of the oil will get lost. And you can’t heat extra virgin olive oil too a very high temperature. You can heat avocado oil though. Walnut oil is good, but don’t heat too much.
The first thing you need is to decide the flavour. The process is simple.
Heat up 200 ml of oil till it gets hot.
Turn off the heat and to this hot oil add whatever flavouring or reasoning that you want to.
Once cool, transfer the oil and the addition to a glass bottle and you can leave it outside on the shelf or for a longer store the bottle in the fridge.
The best combination, for me is chopped garlic and Rosemary.
Whole Kashmiri chillies for chili oil.
Chopped mint leaves and no stalk make a cool mint oil.
Dill or soa bhaji, coriander seeds and yellow mustard seeds make a brine pickle type oil.
Torn basil leaves make this awesome basil oil.
These glass bottles of oil will be like a treasure, that you will want to use in almost everything you make. I use the oil even when I make breads or as an addition to my crackers.
This star bread is already enriched, but the addition of this oil makes it richer. You can knead the dough or use a stand mixer or your food processor.
The process may seem daunting. But remember patience pays. Don’t give up. You just need to wait till the dough becomes all smooth and the butter is incorporated into the dough.
Also the matter of the potato starch. Its gluten free, no protein but it adds to the quality of the bread. If you’ve not got access to potato starch, use one boiled potato, mashed well.
Try to work in a cold environment. This dough changes texture and becomes difficult to handle with the rise of even 5C. the trick is to keep the dough cold.
This is a basic brioche recipe can survive without eggs. Eggs, of course makes the brioche rich and delicious. But butter is good on its own too.
First while kneading, it will seem as though the dough is not easy to manipulate.
Once you have worked in the butter, you will be able to stretch the dough so thin that you will be able to see light through it. Almost like it’s a window pane. That is what we are looking for, that tells you you’ve made an excellent dough.
You may use whole wheat flour, but its difficult to obtain the window pane thinness with whole wheat.
Star Brioche Bread with Garlic and Rosemary Oil
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp instant dry yeast
2 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup potato starch or one boiled potato mashed
1 tsp salt
2 eggs -optional
150-200 mils warm milk
150 butter at room temperature
Beaten egg or 2 tbsp milk for the milk wash
Poppy seeds or nigella seeds to sprinkle-optional
For the garlic butter
¼ cup finely chopped garlic
50-75 gms soft butter
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ cup chopped coriander
3 tbsp garlic and rosemary oil
Place the flour in a bowl add the yeast, sugar, salt, the eggs (if you’re using them), and knead with milk.
Now tip it onto your work surface.
Flatten it on out and place the soft butter.
Knead the butter into the dough. it may seem to be an impossible task in the beginning, because the butter is trying to escape from the bondage of the flour.
But with a whole lot of coercion, the butter gets married to the dough.
I’d like to believe that the dough is the woman here, pounding the butter into submission. As the dough becomes better, the butter just becomes enmeshed in in it. You can’t tell the butter from the dough and the dough is so much better because the butter is within.
Wow. That’s some analogy.
Check to see the strength of the dough, by stretching a little bit and see if you can stretch it to about a millimetre thin. It should not break quickly, once your gluten is formed well it will stretch as much as possible, and will take whatever shape you give it.
Roll up the dough into a tight ball and place in an oiled bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight.
This is an enriched dough, making the bread soft and very long lasting. So, because of the addition of butter and or eggs the yeast acts slower. Hence the fermentation is slow. Especially in the fridge.
The dough needs to chill because it is difficult to roll out dough that is at room temperature. Remember, the large amount of butter present in this bread?
Make the garlic butter
Grind or pound the garlic and mix with the soft butter. Season with salt and black pepper and add in a fistful of fresh cilantro or dhania. Mix with the infused oil.
I prefer to use Rosemary and garlic oil for this because it intensifies the flavour of the garlic butter. And rosemary when its baked in that mix of oil and butter takes on a different aroma all together.
Mix well, you may think that this is less butter but believe me, it can take even more.
Keep at room temperature.
Make the star bread.
After at least 8 hours of rest, remove the chilled dough from the fridge and cut into 4 equal pieces.
Cut four large parchment pieces, sprinkle some dried flour over. Roll out four round discs at least 5mm thick.
Place one disc on a baking tray.
Spread a third of the garlic butter on it.
Carefully place the second disc over the butter mixture so that the parchment paper is on top and the discs are sandwiching the butter.
Peel off the parchment paper on the top.
Spread the second Part of the garlic butter over the second disc.
Repeat the process with the third disc. Use the last part of the garlic butter and use the last disc.
Chill the discs in the fridge at least 10 minutes and search for a small bowl 5-6 cm in diameter.
Remove the discs from the fridge and place the small bowl in the centre, making an incircle.
Use a bench scraper or a very sharp knife and mark 16 cuts just like a clock with one extra in every quarter.
So eventually you’ll have the whole centre and 16 cuts pieces on the disc.
Pick two consecutive cut pieces and twist them in opposite directions and join the ends to touch each other so that they now form a petal. Pinch the ends together so that there are no loose ends. you will end up with eight petals.
Remove the small bowl from the centre and pop this in the fridge for at least half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 180C and remove the star dough from the fridge.
Brush the centre with beaten egg or milk and then just over the centre sprinkle black poppy seeds or nigella seeds, so that the inside looks dark just exactly like a sunflower.
Brush the remaining dough with milk or egg and pop the bread into the oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until its done.
The bread will toast from the top and the garlic will merge with the dough. It’ll form an almost flaky bread that you can eat as it is or with your holiday roast.
If you are not interested in a garlic star bread, feel free to substitute garlic butter with a fruit preserve or chocolate or even Nutella.
If you have leftovers, warm the bread before serving.
You may not get the shape right in the first time, but try again.
Change the filling and try again. It’s a beautiful conversation starter on your dinner table.
You don’t need a filling either…I really feel it’s a labour of love. It’s a whole lot of happiness you feel feeding your loved ones.
That’s what bread is all about.
What do you think?
And that bottle has my garlic and rosemary oil.
This is not a sponsored post. These are a few of the products that I use. If you click on these links ,they will take you straight to the amazon page where you can purchase the product.