Thursday, November 11, 2010

Brioche au Sucre

While I feel that I am doing a good job at feeding my kids healthy, diverse and relatively easy-to-make food in general, there is one area that I am still not overly satisfied with : le goûter (or afterschool snack). It has been even more of a problem since my son started school in September. When he leaves home with my husband in the morning, he makes sure to ask me to bring "un petit goûter." When I pick him up from school, sure enough, the second he gets out, his first look goes to my hands to check whether I brought the sac du goûter with me (a bag where, in addition to the snack, I also carry wipes!!) If I do, he is happy: he goes on to play with his friends. If I don't, he asks whether I left the bag in the car (sometimes, I do, especially on the days when we don't stay long on the playground after school.) Depending on his mood, this can be the start of a meltdown. I know he is not starving. I know that he just woke up from his too-short nap, which can explain the grumpyness. But what I see is some sort of a Pavlov pattern, which is very common with young children (remember my post on snacking?), and, let's be honnest here, with adults too! I am not worried ; it actually makes me laugh to see him be so predictable! So yes, even the simple goûter requires some planning or homebaking!
Since I carry the goûter, it has to be something very easy to take with me. And us being French, it has to be sweet (ie, no cheese sticks or carrots). The easy options (and I look around to see what other parents are bringing) are cookies, applesauce pouches, or a Nutella sandwich when I make fresh baguette. I have also brought drinkable yogurts or flavored milk. These days, I bring some of the Halloween treats too.  To balance the snack (or to give me a better conscious?), I also bring fruits, which I would like them to eat first. In order to control for quantity, I give each kid (I drive my two children and another little girl) his/her two bags (one for fruits, one for the cookies/Nutella/Halloween treats). Je sais, je sais, it's not optimal for the environment, even if I try to recycle the bags! However, it is a very powerful to limit the number of cookies they'll eat otherwise. They know I don't bring more so this is it! And you know what, they are OK with it! And I know that they will be ready to eat a full meal when comes dinner time!
When I have time, I make chouquettes. I also made this brioche from Tartelette (while I am trying to make a nice brioche with my sourdough starter!!). It is a great alternative to cookies, it's different from bread and still goes very well with a little chocolate treat from Halloween. It's even better toasted for breakfast... but then again, if we eat it for breakfast, what am I going to bring for the goûterBon Appétit!

-  150 ml (5 Floz) whole milk (warm : 43-45 C (110-115 F))
-  280 g (9.87 oz) all purpose flour
- 1 pack of active yeast (7g)
- 1 egg
- 50 g (1.76 z) sugar
- 1/4 ts salt
- 15 ml (0.5 Floz) Orange Flower water
- 70 g (2.47 oz) butter at room temperature
- Pearl sugar for decoration
- egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 30 ml (1 Fl oz) milk

  • In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, yeast and sugar.
  • Add beaten egg and stirr
  • Pour warm milk and mix well
  • Add orange flower water
  • Add butter, one tablespoon at a time.
  • Transfer dough into a lightly oiled bowl
  • Cover with a table cloth and let raise for about 1 hour
  • When ready to bake the brioche, cover a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Use flour to scoop small balls of dough. Place them on the parchment paper and use water to smoothen them. Let rest for 30 minutes
  • Pre-heat oven to 175C (350 F)
  • Combine milk and egg to make egg wash and brush on top of brioche
  • Add pearl sugar (push it into the dough)
  • Cook in the oven for  20-30 minutes or until golden brown. 

My Personal Comments

  • This brioche, also called Brioche des Rois, is very common in the South of France around Epiphany, when most French people eat Galette des Rois
  • You could add candied fruits on top/in the brioche but since I am not a big fan I don't use them much
  • You could make small balls for individual servings!

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