Two weeks ago I came back from a great holiday in France with two fabulous “souvenirs”:
- The realization that I just don’t have the time to work as much as I did the last few months.
- This recipe for beautiful breakfast bread.
It is amazing how easily you can become so busy with “have to” that you too loose sight of “want to”. A few busy days turn into busy weeks and suddenly the habit has established itself and you are just busy, busy, busy….busy.
But going on holiday broke that habit. Now that I am back, I suddenly feel I can take the time again to read, to cook or to do-nothing-in-particular. And I can tell you it feels so much better than doing only the things I feel I “have to”.
So, for no reason/occasion/purpose whatsoever, I made this bread this weekend.
But let me take a step back to tell you how I came about this recipe: during our holiday we spent a night in Burgundy. What I remember most about our little b&b, Les Clos d’Orret was the joint breakfast – the tasty local produce, the fun conversation and the beautiful breads. I emailed our hostess after our return and she was gracious enough to share her recipe with me. What I thought was a brioche, without the sugar, turns out to be a “Tresse au Beurre”- a bread recipe she brought with her from Switzerland where it is traditionally eaten on Sunday morning
What an easy loaf to make: some mixing, kneading and resting and you end up with pretty bread that has chewy crust and a silky, tender crumb. Lovely topped with some jam or cream cheese and fresh fruit.
I thought it was best the day I baked it but still enjoyed it on the second. I am sure it would make a great toast as well (But I had gobbled it all up before thinking about trying – guess I will need to make another loaf soon).
1 tsp sugar
20g fresh yeast (or 10g instant dried yeast)*
500g all-purpose flour
50g butter, very soft at room temperature or melted
1 tsp salt
a little egg yolk
- Slightly warm the milk.
- Add the sugar and yeast and allow to stand 5 min.
- Add the flour, soft butter and salt. Knead by hand for about 5 min into a soft, pliable dough.
- Place the dough in a bowl, cover and allow to rest in a warm place until it has doubled in size (I let it rise about 1 hour)
- Form the dough into the desired shape.
I decided to make three tresses and braid them. I placed the bread in a loaf tin.
I only searched on-line afterwards and got the impression that it is more traditional to make two tresses. You lay them to form a cross and then twist them together before placing the dough on a baking tray.
- Allow the bread to rise again. The instruction was “until it is big enough”, which I decided was after 45 min.
- Preheat oven to 220C.
- Brush or spray the bread with some egg yolk.
- Bake about 30 min or until it is golden and done. (Test by tapping the bottom with your knuckle to check the bread sounds hollow.)
- Transfer to a wire rack to allow to cool.
Tips & Variations
* Although you can make this bread using dried yeast it will taste better using fresh
- Cream cheese and fresh fruit