This year’s Fête du Pain was celebrated with the usual enthusiasm and grandeur with bread baking competitions held between bakeries, pastry chefs from renowned hotels as well as amateur bakers all over the island. Since its first edition in 1992, this annual event has become an integral part of the Mauritian culture, celebrating our staple food item under its various shapes, textures and preparation methods.

Who can do without the traditional pain maison on their breakfast table or in their daily lunchbox? The average Mauritian cannot honestly enjoy a hot batch of gato piments without a crusty loaf of freshly buttered French baguette just as he finds it difficult to appreciate a slice of homemade poudine dipain without leftover bread that has aged for days. Bread, under its different facets, forms an undeniable component of our eating habits, especially so with the advent of special breads on the local market such as gluten free and multigrain varieties to cater for everyone’s needs.

To mark the celebrations, I made this lot of brioche buns, light and buttery with bits of candied fruit in those cute flower-shaped brioche molds I have not used in a while. The recipe is from Blédor, the well known brand distributed by Les Moulins de la Concorde, which has been hosting the baking completion Les Duels Gourmands for the past 4 weeks to encourage Mauritians across the country to participate in the underrated art of bread baking.

BLEDOR BRIOCHE BUNS

Ingredients:

500g all purpose flour

3 eggs, room temperature

60g granulated sugar

10g kitchen salt

10g instant yeast

175ml liquid milk

150g unsalted butter

1.25g bread improver

75g candied fruit cubes

Method:

  • Combine eggs, sugar, salt, bread improver, milk and yeast in mixer bowl fitted with dough attachment.

  • Add flour gradually, mix at low speed until it forms loose, shaggy dough. Increase speed progressively.

  • Knead for about 3 minutes then add softened butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, and knead to incorporate.

  • Knead until dough is smooth and slightly elastic. Transfer to a large bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.

  • Leave the dough to proof in a warm environment for about 1 hour until it has almost doubled in volume.

  • Pat down and lightly fold in candied fruit, then divide dough into portions of equal weight, using a scale.

  • Shape each portion into the traditional ‘brioche’ shape with a small knot on top. Place in brioche molds.

  • Preheat oven to 200oC. Leave dough to proof for another 30 minutes till it rises above the rim of molds.

  • Brush the top with milk or egg glaze and bake for about 15 minutes until well risen and golden in colour.

  • Turn out to cool slightly on wire rack, then serve warm with tea. Makes 8 large or 12 small brioche buns.

Blédor Brioche Challenge

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