So, here’s where my love affair with gingerbread began and ended up (I don’t mean I don’t like gingerbread anymore, but that for now, my gingerbread craving has widely been satisfied !). Having seen a recipe of kugelhopf filled with gingerbread cake on a French food blog, I couldn’t wait to try it : it seemed such an unexpected yet great association, an ultimate, nearly decadent treat to indulge in ! But I was quite disappointed as the filling didn’t have the melting texture I expected. So, when I stumbled upon the gingerbread spread I was talking about last time, I naturally thought of substituting it to the original filling. Since I needed a sufficient amount of it and had no store-bought spread enough anymore, using the one I made at home turned out to be the best solution, and I have to say it worked wonderfully ! The resulting bread isn’t actually too sweet but well-flavoured, the added gingerbread taste remaining discreet.
Instead of the original kugelhopf, I associated it with a recipe of brioche, the kind I’m used to do sometimes, having fun in varying the forms. This time, I shaped it in the form of sweet rolls. Besides, I wanted to experiment a new, traditional French recipe, seen in a recently bought food magazine. That’s why I did not use my foolproof one (Julia Child’s, actually), which I slightly regret because the brioche turned out too buttery for me, and not as fluffy as I hoped for it to be. But even though it isn’t my most good-looking brioche, I render the whole method as is.
However, do feel free to substitute your favorite recipe for sweet bread, rolls, or milk toast (tangzhong bread, which is quite popular here since some time, would suit well too)… The shaping is also up to you : as this was my first attempt to make this brioche, I don’t pretend giving a ultimate recipe, rather a suggestion. Anyway, this is obviously the kind of recipe you’ve got to plan ahead because it’s not the matter of few minutes, as well as bread baking in general. But I assure you that you’d be rewarded !
Adapted from Beau à la louche.
Ingredients (yields 6 individual rolls) :
- 250g bread flour (high-gluten flour) + some plain flour to dust your work surface
- 35g caster sugar
- 5g fine sea salt
- 15g fresh yeast or 5g instant dry yeast
- 50g lukewarm milk (preferably full-fat milk)
- 2 eggs, beaten (about 120g), to room temperature
- 150g unsalted butter
- 150g gingerbread spread, to room temperature
- 60 chocolate chips (optional : though present in the recipe that inspired me, I didn’t use them but these tastes go well with each other)
- 1 egg to glaze the brioche
Combine 125g flour, the sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a mixing bowl or the pan of a breadmachine.
Add the yeast (previously crumbled up if fresh) and mix quickly, then combine the beaten eggs and milk before adding them to the dry ingredients.
Start mixing to form the dough, using the dough hook of your mixer, the kneading function of the bread machine or a hand mixer equipped with dough hooks (on the lower speed if possible).
At the end of this first stage, the dough should be smooth but quite wet, like a batter.
Blend in the remaining flour on higher speed to form a moist yet more consistent dough, that starts leaving the sides of the bowl or pan (10 mns or so). Don’t hesitate to scrape out the bowl to help the process.
Add the cold and previously diced butter to the dough, one tablespoon at a time, while keeping up kneading for about 10 mns more ; the dough should be leaving better the sides of the bowl, look silky smooth and elastic, though still being sticky.
Grease slightly a large container and dust it with flour, before placing the dough into it. Cover with cling film or a clean damp cloth and let rise the dough at room temperature for 1 hr 30 mns (less in case of hot weather : it should only double in size).
Deflate the dough by sliding your fingers under it by the sides of the bowl and releasing it. Cover again, but without wrapping tighlty to allow air to circulate and prevent the dough from developing a strong, unpleasant yeast smell. Refrigerate for 6 hrs or more ; I rested it in the fridge overnight (about 9 hrs), and it was fine but I recommend not going too much over this time.
Once chilled, the dough is far easier to work with. Reshape it into a ball, place it on a dusted work surface then roll it into a 30 cm/12-inch long log. Roll it out into a 1 cm/ 1/2-inch thick rectangle and spread out the gingerbread spread evenly on its surface (to do eat neatly, remind not using a smooth spatula like me, but rather a simple knife !). At this stage, you might sprinkle it with chocolate chips, which I omitted simply because I don’t like them much.
Roll up the dough rectangle to form a log again ; though not necessary, you might seal it with some of the egg deserved to the glaze, beaten. Cut it into 6 even-sized parts and arrange them in a medium-sized pan (mine was about 22cm in diameter, but I had initially chosen a bigger one, which turned out to be too large as the dough didn’t rise that much), round or square.
Cover and let rise until doubled in size again, but without going over 2 hrs, even in winter.
Preheat the oven to 375°F / 180°C. Beat the egg and glaze the brioche, then bake it for 35 mns, covering it with foil after 10-15 mns to keep it from browning too much.
Wait a few minutes before unmoulding it, carefully, then let it cool on a baking rack.
Once cooled, you might enjoy the brioche immediately (with a fruit drink, a tea or like me, a glass of cold milk) or wrap it tightly with cling film. This way, it would keep soft up to 2 days, if only some of it remains until there !
Have a nice day !