Here’s one thing you don’t know about me: I love to bake. Like, truly. I find it therapeutic, and it is my version of meditation. Nothing too fancy, mostly traditional, regional recipes or something I grew up with.
These you see here are called brioche col tuppo, (or brioscia) a delicacy from Sicily. If you visited, you probably noticed that breakfast is often granita (coffee, almond or pistachios), and one of the above. You can fill it yourself with the granita of your choice or get it already filled. Whipped cream also available. Just in case your blood pressure feels a little low.
It is one of the most delicious thing ever invented, and to re-create them at home is no easy task. It takes about 24 hours, and the first batch we tried was, well.. terrible. The second on the other hand turned out great, and the recipe is here below. Still missing Sicily from the equation so we did the only thing we could: open a jar of Arianna Occhipinti Orange Marmalade. Not perfect, but close enough. (Ps. This recipe is not for the faint-hearted. Be warned)
Ingredients (about 10 Brioches)
425g Manitoba Flour or Strong Flour (Protein 14.5%)
125g Plain Flour (Protein 9.7%)
8g Fresh Yeast / 4g Dry Yeast
2 Eggs (medium size)
1 Tbs Orange Flower Honey
1 Pinch Salt
1 Orange or Lemon Peel (grated)
1 Tbs Milk
First thing first, get organised. Mentally. This is going to take a while, about 24 hours. You won't have to work all the 24 of course, but still. Getting ready will make it a lot easier, especially if you plan the time ahead.
Prepare the poolish (or biga): this is a pre-dough liquid to facilitate the raising of the dough.
Heat slightly 150g of milk without exceeding 30-40°C (otherwise you kill the yeast) and dissolve in 2 grams of dry yeast (4 if fresh). We learnt this the hard way, killed the yeast and worked 24 hours for little pieces of stones. If you don't have a termometer, leave it out of the fridge for a while, and check with your finger. Stay on the cold side, better than hot.
Sift and add 25g of strong flour, 25g of plain flour, and the grated peel of an untreated orange (half, if it is too big). These ingredients will be taken from the total.
Whisk for a minute or so, until the lumps are gone, and close in a air tight container. Transfer the poolish in the lower part of the fridge, the one where usually keep the vegetables. Leave it for about 7 hours.
Step 2, the dough:
Heat the remaining milk (70 grams, always careful to not exceed 30-40°C) and dissolve the remaining yeast (2 grams if dry, 4 if fresh) and honey.
Note: From now on, a KitchenAid or the like would be ideal. Alternatively, electric hand mixer can still do part of the job, by hand is not recommended. We tried, we failed.
Sift the two flours (400g of the strong and 100g of the plain), add the sugar and the poolish. If you use the mixer, use the dough hook at the minimum speed, same for hand mixer. If you don't want flour and milk going everywhere, that is.
Pour gradually the remaining milk, in which you melted honey and yeast.
Add butter in small pieces and increase the speed. When the dough is homogeneous, add the eggs, one at a time. Finally add a pinch of salt.
Work the kneader until the dough is smooth, not sticky and perfectly stretchy.
If the dough is too sticky, add some flour little by little.
With a hand mixer is a little trickier, as after a while the blade will stop working and you'd need to continue by hand. We worked the dough for about 40 minutes, stretching and folding, trying to get rid of the lumps as much as possible. The result is here below.
Leave the dough in the bowl at room temperature, covered with cling foil, for about an hour and a half. You'll see that it starts to puff. After this time, transfer the bowl in the bottom refrigerator drawer and forget for at least 8 hours.
Raising of the dough:
Place the bowl in a dry place, cover with a tea towel or a blanket and leave out for another 7-8 hours. The dough will grow and return to room temperature.
(apologies for the poor lighting)
Divide the dough into pieces of about 80 grams each. Getting about 10 panetti. Take from each a small piece to make the "tuppo". If you want them large, then take a 100g per brioche, with 10 for the tuppo.
To work the dough: make a rounded shape, then pinch one side, lengthening the dough and fold it to the center. Turn the dough clockwise and repeat for 2-3 rounds.
Shape the ball further with your hands and place on a baking trey covered with baking paper. Repeat also for the small dough ball (tuppi).
To place the tuppi on the brioche: pinch the center of each brioche with two fingers, pressing hard to the bottom. Lay the tuppo on the cavity that has formed, pressing it a little with your fingers.
Make sure you distance the brioche so that, after raising one last time they do not stick to each other. Cover with a clean cloth and let leaven for another hour.
Finally, the cooking:
Preheat the oven to 200°C, in static mode (or 180°C if forced fan). In a small bowl, beat the egg yolk with milk and, using a kitchen brush, brush the brioches carefully. This will provide the golden, glossy finish you are looking for.
Bake for about 15 minutes, in the lower part of the oven. When they are well colored and fragrant, take them out and place them in the center of a clean cloth, big enough to contain them and cover them. This way they'll retain the heat and make them softer.
Et Voilà, 24 hours later you have them. Cut in half, fill with granita, ice-cream, whipped cream or marmalade. Make a coffee, enjoy with people you love. Or by yourself watching Netflix, one can get quite selfish after all this work ;)