When living in the Haute Savoie one must realise it really is all about cheese and that star of the cheese stage here is Reblochon as I have mentioned a few times in previous posts. The main dish featured on every discerning savoyard menu is the classic tartiflette. However I have spent sometime trying to come up with fusion ways of using savoyard ingredients and variations on a theme! so I thought I’d try my hand at bread baking – why you ask when I live in the Country that arguably produces the finest bread…well I love a challenge!
So inspired by Paul Hollywood, the UK’s own ‘pin up’ baker I set to work on his enriched brioche dough to make a savoury couronne using the finest french brioche flour and unsalted butter and decided my filling would consist of tartiflette ingredients! This was a great success so I thought I’d share my variation of the recipe with you.
This recipe is Paul Hollywood’ Savoury Brioche Couronne and I have just changed the filling ingredients
Take your time twisting this bread into shape. It makes a stunning centrepiece for the table, with the filling bursting out of the bread. You can make the dough by hand, but as it’s a soft dough it’s much easier to use a food mixer fitted with a dough hook.
10g instant yeast
170ml/6fl oz warm full-fat milk
4 free-range eggs
250g/9oz unsalted butter in small pieces, at room temperature
Fresh thyme leaves
1 free-range egg beaten
If you have a food mixer with a paddle fitting, make the dough as follows: into the bowl put the flour, salt, yeast, milk and eggs and mix until the dough becomes smooth and shiny – (I added some dried thyme to this mixture). Add the butter piece by piece as you mix well for a further five minutes, until all the butter has been incorporated into the dough. It’s important to add the butter very gradually.
If you do not have a machine, make the base dough by bringing the flour, salt, yeast, milk and eggs together in a bowl. Tip the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about ten minutes, or until the dough becomes smooth and shiny. Gradually incorporate the butter piece by piece into the dough, kneading as you go.
Tip the dough into an oiled 1 litre/1¾pint plastic container with a lid – it needs plenty of room to rise. Leave the dough to rise until at least doubled in (at least an hour, or overnight in the fridge).
Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, without knocking the air out of it. Roll it out to a thickness of just under 1½cm/¾in, in a rectangle that’s about 40-50cm/16-20in long. Have the long side facing you.
Cover the dough with a sprinkling of cubed pieces of reblochon and scatter the cooked bacon lardons and thyme over.
Roll up the dough from the long side furthest from you, into a long sausage shape. Cut the roll of dough in half down the length to expose the filling, leaving you with two long strips side by side.
Twist the two strips together, holding both ends of the dough and twisting your hands in opposite directions, to make a long rope that’s quite tightly twisted. Form the rope into a circle and join the ends together so that the dough becomes a ring – a ‘couronne’ or crown.
Put the crown onto the lined baking tray, and put the tray in a large plastic bag, big enough so that the risen dough won’t touch the sides. Leave the crown to rise for 1-1½ hours, or until it has at least doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. *For this recipe you ideally don’t want a fan oven
Whisk an egg with a pinch of salt and brush the egg over the crown.
Bake the couronne in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until golden-brown. Leave to cool slightly. Serve warm or cold.
*I did use my fan oven and reduced the temperature by 10 degrees.
I have tried making this in a bread maker and it is not as successful as when you follow this recipe, make the dough and add the butter gradually.
Here is a link to the original recipe on the BBC website which uses Italian ingredients. I also made this recipe by hand and added sun dried tomatoes into the filling – this was simply delicious too and an even better texture! I served it for lunch with a salad
All photos ©Copyright Caro Blackwell