Sourdough Brioche 2017- que ce que ça cloche!

Brioche time. Brioche is basically super rich bread with eggs and butter. Sourdough brioches are pretty to easy to make but they do require time and patience. This recipe is not too sweet as it uses honey. You can use 35 grammes of sugar instead.  The inspiration for the recipe is from here and here.

I haven’t made brioche since last year. Last year I used orange sugar which I think was a nice touch and really the only redeeming feature of the brioches that I made. Looking back on the post there has definitely been great strides and progress made in 1 year.


This year brioches are definitely looking a lot better and are much fluffier and just much more brioche-y.




This recipe’s use of butter is definitely reminiscent of the chef Gary Rhodes whose oft-repeated phrase is add another spoon of butter.




Eggwash notes: I used the egg white and milk for convenience since the recipe calls for one yolk. But if you want a different effect on the brioche you can go to epicurious or cooksinfo website that really get into the ins and out of all the different types of eggwash.


  • 230g bread flour
  • 270g all purpose flour
  • 50g honey
  • 10g salt
  • 3 + 1yolk eggs
  • 250g starter
  • 300g room temperature butter
  • 200g milk
  • 1/2 zest of lemon


  1. Cut the butter in small 1cm pieces and leave out to soften
  2. Mix all ingredient in a bowl except the butter –  milk + lemon zest +honey+ eggs+ flour + starter. Keep the egg white from the 4th egg as you will use it later for the egg wash
  3. Mix well, let it rest for 15min and mix well again.
  4. +butter. Mix gently until all the butter is incorporated. You should massage it in but I ended up mixing it in the kitchen aid and it seem to be alright. The dough should have a nice shine to it.
  5. Put in a covered container and leave in the fridge for 24 hours.
  6. On a lightly floured surface shape the dough and in your baking tins.
  7. Final rise should be at room temperature for 3 hours.IMG_6616IMG_6619
  8. preheat the oven at 215Cº
  9. prepare the egg wash 3 tablespoons of milk + egg white and mix vigorously.
  10. gently brush the egg wash on the brioche doughbrioche raising
  11. Bake for 25min for medium shape brioche, until the top are nice and golden black.


brioch 2

Aniseed macaroons with pastis &rose cream gelato

My dear readers, it has been a hectic couple months with work, excessive drinking, Christmas cooking, and family. But here we are dry January. No drinking to do and no hangover contemplating what it all means and what terrible mistakes I have done, and what is the meaning of it all really. I miss drinking. Anyways Christmas brought a new love in my life: a brand spanking new kitchen aid! And the kitchen aid ice cream maker! (slightly suspect this has been a self-serving gift from loved ones….)

Anyways after seeing these amazing unicorn macaroons, I thought I could totally do macaroons. And off I went to dig up my copy of Les Petit Plats Francais: Irresistible Macaroons by José Maréchal.


I can’t say I recommend the book, upon looking at the reviews now, I can see I am not alone. The recipe instructions are confusing and as you will see I am positive that the oven temperature is wrong. That being said they do have some nice flavour combination. I think it’s a good inspiration book maybe.

Instead, the macaroons became more of a journey than a destination, full of discoveries with high and lows and success grabbed from the jaw of defeat.

reality vs expectation

I have learned several things while making this. First is that I have been using the piping wrong and there is this super easy, obvious way to filling up your piping bag demonstrated wonderfully by thekitchn. Second, the oven should definitely be over 145ºC.



Left the macaroon for over 20 min (vs recommended 13min) and let them cool but unfortunately, as I tried to *gently* scrap them off they just completely disintegrated. The middle still a bit wet and undercooked.


I had a bowl full of macaroons deconstructed and wasn’t too sure what to do with them. Eton mess ran through my mind maybe but is January. Having Eton mess in January would have been obscene. The aniseed cream filling is also very close to gelato recipe. Hence this could be the macaroon version of cookie and cream ice cream! Genius! And perfect to go with Galette des Roi! (in which I decided to make my own puff pastry which I will not go into but it ended with the oven full of butter and a smoky kitchen, but that is another story maybe for another post…..)

This recipe requires an ice cream maker (obviously). If you have something like the kitchen aid ice cream maker make sure the bowl has been in the freezer for at least 12 hours before using it.


  • 1 serving of fucked up undercook aniseed macaroons
  • 600ml milk
  • 5 eggs
  • 90 grams sugar
  • 10 grams honey
  • 1/4 tsp Pastis
  • 1/4 rose water


    1. Warm up the milk in a saucepan on a low -medium heat making sure is does not boil.
    2. Add the eggs + sugar +honey and whisk until it is well combine
    3. Take off the heat and add the pastis + rose water, whisk until well combine.
    4. Pour the mixture into a tupperware and put in the fridge for at least 4 hours. It can’t be sped up in the freezer, something to do about the fats forming according to Felicity Cloak.
    5. Pour your mixture into the kitchen ice cream frozen bowl and throw your chunks of macaroons in. Try to keep everything as cold as possible to prevent any melting – put the spatula and container you will saving your ice cream in the freezer while the gelato is being made.
    6. Put your kitchen aid speed 1 and watch in amazement the cream turning into gelato for 15 min.IMG_5702
    7. Scoop your gelato out into a cold container and put cling film on the surface. This helps stop the top from crystallisation. The gelato will be quite soft. To harden up it put in the freezer for 3-4 hours.

IMG_5709  1


Wish I had thought to add cardamon to cream with anise macaroons and had added a bit of pink food colouring to really make the green macaroon pop. But really enjoyed the macaroon and cream gelato.

The possibility of different combination are endless, may I never succeed to make a macaroon! Coffee macaroons with cardamon, cinnamon and nutmeg cream, or salted caramel macaroon with pollen and mascarpone cream or Chocolate macaroon with tahini cream…..

Sunday cake: Halva and tahini cake.

Managed to find my old recipe book from 6 years ago.

buttermilk pancakes


To celebrate finding it and mothering Sunday made some buttermilk pancake. This absolutely my favourite pancake recipe in the world. They come out incredibly soft and fluffy. The  recipe from 2011 which seems I think it vaguely from Martha stewart. Love seeing my notes on there.

Really excited to have it back, so expect loads of baking recipes like clafouti, madeleines, biscottis and finiaciers soon.



Anyways, on a bit of bread break/rut. I have ordered some bread proofing basket so hopefully I will be back on my sourdough bread baking groove soon. In the mean time I have been doing some sunday cake baking, and found this wonderful tahini chocolate cake with halva frosting. I have modified slightly because it is a bit of a weird recipe. Well for me at least, never made sponge cake or frosting. The boiling water thing is quite weird but all in all it turned out quite well.


  • Cake:
    • 2 cups and 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 3/4 cup flour
    • 3/4 and 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cup milk
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or coconut oil
    • 6 tablespoons tahini
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • Forsting:
    • 400 grams butter at room temperature
    • 1/2 cups powdered sugar
    • 500 grams halva (of any flavor)
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla


  1. Preheat the oven to 185ºC
  2. In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients: sugar+ flour+cocoa powder+baking powder+baking soda+salt.
  3. In a small bowl whisk all the wet ingredients: eggs+vegetable oil+tahini+vanilla.
  4. Mix the wet and dry ingredient in the large bowl while the water is boiling.
  5. Pour the boiling water in the cake mixture. Mix well and divide the mixture evenly into 2 cake tins.
  6. Bake for 30min or until cooked (when you stick a toothpick and it come out clean)
  7. leave the cake to cool
  8. Meanwhile for the frosting: cream the butter + sugar and then mix in the  halva+vanilla.
  9. when the cakes has completely cooled, frost the top of one of the cake and add the the second on top. Then frost the cake completely. I toped it off with dried rose petal and sesame seeds.


Tadah! my frosting skills need a little work. Little side note, left over frosting can be saved in an airtight container in the fridge for about 4 days or 3 months in the freezer. Enjoy.

Sandy cake – Bread brake –

On a bit of bread brake, but a lovely friend of mine sent me a recipe for my name sake cake, called the sandy cake. It came from Dolce by Laura Zavan. I am a bit biased but it tasted really nice. It was a bit like if a sablé cookie did the dirty nasty two back monster with a Victoria sponge. Not so much a proper desert cake but something really lovely to have with tea and coffee. You could also dress it up with a lime, cardamon and rose icing or lemon and thyme icing.


Sandy cake -Torta sabbiosa- recipe that I made uses no leavening agent, which I found quite interesting. An amazing post and recipe with baking powder but no vanilla can be found on bread cakes and ales website here with a mascarpone cream. The leavening agents obviously make the cake much more airy. It also seems that the leavening agent is what makes differentiate a torta paradiso from its closely related sister the sandy cake. Although I am not too sure I have found loads of variation on the sandy cake for example some recipe use part potato starch, part cornflour.

Other notes on the ingredients, is you can exchange the vanilla bean for vanilla extract if you finding/affording (it is annoyingly expensive ingredient) a vanilla bean is a bit too much. One vanilla bean = 3 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Another slightly confusing note is that there seem to be a genuine difference between potato starch and flour (one uses just the starch while the other uses the whole potato), but in this recipe you want potato starch. It seem the confusion comes from potato starch is called potato starch flour. Potato starch can be found in Holland and barrets here in the UK. If you can’t find potato starch I think the closest replacement would be cornflour.

Anyways without further faff, You will need a 22-24 cm cake tin.


  • 200 gram soft butter
    • Plus extra for greasing
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 200 gram icing sugar
    • extra for dusting
  • 3 eggs
  • 100 grams of all purpose flour
    • plus extra to flour the cake tin
  • 100 gram of potato starch
  • 1 pinch of salt


  1. Leave the butter out at room for the an hour so that the butter should be soft.
  2. preheat the oven to 170ºC.
  3. In a large bowl cream the butter+vanilla seeds +icing sugar
  4. whisk the egg separately in a small bowl.
  5. Slowly add the whisked eggs to the cream butter mix until well incorporated.
  6. Sift the flour + potato starch together in a separate bowl before slowly adding to the main mixture.
  7. Finally add salt and mix well. You should have a nice white thick even pasty mix.
  8. With the extra butter grease and flour your cake tin. Pour your batter in and make sure that it evenly distributed.
  9. Bake for 40min or until golden on top and let cool in the tin for an 1 hour.
  10. Remove from the tin and dust with icing sugar or pour your icing.



Challa – hazaaaa!

Going down the rabbit whole and decided to try some challah. Challah is the in some way the jewish version of brioche. The main difference is that it is kosher, to be more specific, it is not made with diary.  So no butter or milk, which make it less faffy.  Again I looked to the fresh loaf inspiration for challah sourdough. I also found another wordpress blog that illustrates it very well is here. For a full little your tube tutorial there are these videos here for 3-9 strands and for simple 4 strand here. I have to say my artistry clearly failed me yet again especially compared to theirs.

Overall this well slightly less of a faff than the brioche, although it was not as soft as the brioche it did make amazingly soft french toast. I used the same french toast recipe as for the brioche which can be found here.


  • 60 grams warm water
  • 3 large eggs, plus 1 for glazing
  • 8 grams table salt
  • 55 grams vegetable oil
  • 65 grams mild honey or 60 grams granulated sugar
  • 400 grams bread flour
  • 200 gram of starter, feed the day before
  • optional
    • 1tsp of rose water
    • 6 crushed star of anise
    • 6 crushed clove
    • zest of half an orange
    • sesame and nigella seeds to sprinkle on the top


  1. In a bowl beat well water+eggs+salt+oil+honey/sugar +rose water+ anise star+cloves
  2. Add bread flour and mix.
  3. Add starter and knead for less than 10 minutes.
  4. Let it rest in a bowl for 2hours – should not rise too much or at all
  5. On a baking trays oil some baking parchment.
  6. Divide the dough into how many challah you want to make, 1 big loaf ,2 medium loaves, 3 rolls. Braid your challah (see the youtube tutorials) and placed them the oiled parchment and baking tray. As you can see mine looks sad and terrible, and has been beaten with a fugly stick. Stay in art class kids! 4.png
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to proof for 5 hours or until tripled in size (depending how warm your kitchen is). When you press the dough with your finger is should stay indented.
  8. Heat your oven to 180ºC and glaze your challah with a simple glaze wash. Sprinkle the sesame and nigella seeds on the top of the challah.
    • Side note of more information you could ever want on glaze wash: you can use beaten egg or you can also add a little bit of milk or water. Depending on what egg wash you use, it will affect the exterior colour of the challah. I added milk which gives it a darker deeper brown than just a beaten egg. The rabbit hole of egg wash can be found here.
  9. Bake the rolls for 15-20min, the 2 loaves for 25-35 min and 1 loaf 35-45min or really until brown. If it is browning to quickly you can cover the challah with foil.
  10. Take out of the oven and let cool on a wire rack.


I have to say I am way more happy making challah than brioches. It was a bit of hit with everyone and it was slightly addictive. Really lovely texture and crust. Just need to work on keeping the shape and getting to look less like a lump. It also makes really lovely french toast. It is even more amazing with marmalade in bed.




Exploring new territory at the moment. Brioche is one of my favourite sweet bread and I love french toast for breakfast. Found a recipe on the fresh loaf, I have to say this was such a faff to do, and it was not the smoothest of cooking process. I think this one definitely takes some practice. Anyway the original recipe can be found on fresh loaf by foolish poolish.

Prep: feed your starter with white flour 8 hours before.


  • 200g bread flour
  • 80g sugar (I used orange sugar)
  • 10g salt
  • 3 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 100g (approx) milk
  • 200g all purpose flour
  • 200g firm white starter
  • 150g unsalted butter (soft enough to easily mix)
  • optional:
    •  1/2 tsp lemon extract + grated zest of 1 lemon 
    • 6 cloves


  1. Using a hand mixer beat the eggs + sugar  + salt + bread flour + lemon zest + lemon extract +cloves  into a smooth past. Rest for 30min
  2. Mix all purpose flour + milk. Rest for 20min
  3. Knead the starter + flour/milk mix together
  4. Add the egg mixture + starter mix a little at a time until combined
  5. I used a hand mixer to incorporate a little butter at time. it should be shiny and gloopy. At this point the mixture will be annoying to handle.
  6. Let the dough rest for an hour.
  7. On a (very) well floured surface, shape your dough as much as possible. The dough will be a little to liquidy to really shape into anything other than a ball. Place the dough in a baking tin and cover loosely
  8. Proof for eight hours.
  9. When ready, preheat the oven to 204Celcius
  10. Apply a simple glaze wash
  11. Bake for 30 min. cover with tin foil if it gets to brown.
  12. Let it cool for 30min.



The flavour is quite lovely, citrus and sweet but not overly sweet. Slightly disappointed about the texture. It is about more bready and not quite as fluffy as I would have hoped. Although considering how what complete chaos doing this recipe for the first time was, maybe its more of one of those recipes that needs a bit of practice……

Anyways as the old adage goes, if god give you brioche make french toast.



I used Felicity Cloake’s recipe for the prefect french toast. I added a bit of milk it just seem to eggy without. The mixture also was just really thick and did not coat nor was it absorbed by the brioche right. Flour in the recipe gives the exterior a nice crunch.


  • 2 tbsp clarified butter or noisette butter, melted
    • and a bit more to cooke the french toast
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar, plus extra to sprinkle
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Pinch of ground mace
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • Finely grated zest of ½ lemon (optional)
  • 2 tsp plain flour
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 2 x 2cm-thick slices of stale, good-quality white bread (your brioche in this case)


  1. Melt the butter. I like to noisette the butter which takes an extra 5 min but worth it.
    • To make noisette butter, is super basic. basically melting the butter at high temperature in a pan, make sure it does not burn by constantly whisking. As soon as can smell a nutty aroma take it off the heat and continue whisking for a couple more minute and transfer to a cool container.
  2. Let the the butter cool down.
  3. Meanwhile mix with a whisk eggs + sugar + salt + spice +lemon zest  in a flat base container.
  4. mix in a little of the mixture with the flour to make paste and mix the past back in with mixture. (This is best to prevent flour lumps. Alternatively but no as good, you can sift in the flour.)
  5. Whisk in the milk
  6. Leave the brioche sliced in for 10 min on one side and 5 minutes on the other.
  7. Heat your pan I usually cook bacon and use the rendered fat to cook the french toast or can use butter.
  8. Medium heat cooke the french toast till golden on both sides.


sourdough banana bread – oooh lala

I have been staring at the slow decay of the banana across the table for weeks now. Today I just couldn’t stand the sight of them anymore, so it was banana bread time.

Just look at these miserable thing, could you look at them for another day?

Found this lovely recipe from WildYeast that used sourdough and made it slightly healthier (for those of us trying to sort of stick to New Years resolutions). I actually wish I had coconut oil as I think you could replace the olive oil with coconut oil to make it even more a bit sumptuous. I also might add oatmeal as well next time. Nuts could also be easily added, oooh and maybe cloves. I did not add the ripe nectarines as called for in the recipe. For the simple reason did not have any (it’s bloody January) but I absolutely love the idea of the extras citrusy sweetness.

Should make about 2 loaves pan 22 x 11 centimetres. I managed to fill 4 small loaf pans and a big loaf pan.

Ingredients :

  • 170 g olive oil or coconut oil
  • 300 g brown sugar or honey
  • 4 whole eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  •  lemon zest (from one medium lemon)
  • 475 g mature 100%-hydration sourdough starter
  • 280 g whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 ripped medium bananas – mashed


  1. Preheat oven to 180Celcius
  2. Butter and dust with flour the loaves pan3
  3. Beat the oil + sugar or honey until smooth.
  4. Add one egg at time beating well in between. you want the mixture to be well aerated and getting lighter in colour.
  5. Add vanilla extract + lemon zest and beat until the mixture is light in colour.2
  6. Fold in the sourdough until barely fully incorporated.
  7. In a different bowl sift the dry ingredient –  flour + salt + baking soda +baking powder +ground cinnamon + ground ginger.
  8. Gently fold in the batter with a sift the dry ingredient and  alternating with the banana mash and finishing with the dry ingredient until combined.
  9. Bake at 180 celsius for an hour or for smaller pan for 45 min or until when you poke the centre with a skewer it comes clean.
  10. Cool on a wire rack.

4.pngand most importantly enjoy!


Taste test: the starter, olive oil as well as the ginger and cinnamon comes through nicely and works well together. The subtle combined flavours gives it a bit more sophistication and elevates it to make not just your normal sweet banana bread. In terms of texture it has this wonderful softness but still holds together.