Wednesday 22 February 2017

Caramel and Orange Brioche / Monkey Bread / Arangaluska - Attempt 1

I took a day off when I got back from Spain, so had a bit of spare time to do a slow bake. I haven't done a brioche for a while, so thought I'd do something a bit experimental. A while back I had something called monkey bread, which was made of balls of brioche covered in a caramel. I decided to see if I could make up the recipe, using just stuff I had in the house.

The brioche was fairly easy. As a base I used my normal bread recipe, then swapped out the water for eggs and milk, and then added in a healthy dose of butter instead of oil. I added a little citrus flavour with orange zest, and then whipped up the dough using the trusty (and these days slightly noisy) stand mixer).

I wasn't entirely sure on how to do the caramel in this context...I ended up forming about 15 balls of brioche, then coated them in melted, cooled butter, then rolled them in brown sugar, before placing them in a buttered bundt tin. I don't think was quite right, as the drier sugar tended to burn slightly (or I had it too hot!), and also it was nowhere near enough balls of brioche, the caramel was not spread evenly enough throughout the loaf., I'll be doing this again (probably at the weekend, or next week), with the following changes;
1) More brioche balls (a bit of investigation suggests more than 50)
2) Add cinnamon to the sugar. Possibly also bits of nut (based on the traditional Hungarian recipe)
3) A lower temperature...I did it at 180-190'C, however I think 160'C may be wiser, with a sugar formation.

As part of the post-baking reading, I found that monkey bread is actually a Hungarian recipe called Aranygaluska, so I may call it that to make it sound posher!

Monkey Bread / Arangaluska - Recipe (Attempt 1)

Dough Ingredients

  • 500g strong white flour
  • 4 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 75-100ml milk
  • 150g softened butter
  • 10g yeast
  • 10g salt
  • Zest of 2 oranges 
1) Place the flour, salt, yeast, zest and milk in a stand mixer with the dough hook attached

2) Begin to mix, and add the eggs in one at a time

3) Mix for 5 minutes until a smooth dough is starting to form

4) remove the dough, and wrap it around the butter. Return it to the mixer (I find this tends to help get the butter mixed into the dough...if you add it into the bowl by itself it gets more smeared around the outside)

5) Mix for 5-10 minutes until a smooth, glossy dough is formed.

6) Place in a slightly oiled container, cover, and leave to prove until tripled in size (this is an enriched dough, so this can take some time. Resist the temptation to place it somewhere warm, as this may cause the butter to melt, which will impact your bake)

Caramel Ingredients

  • 100g butter (melted and cooled)
  • 100g soft brown sugar
Note - I think adding cinnamon and nut pieces here would improve things!

1) Take a bundt tin, and brush the inside with some of the melted butter to coat it

2) Grease a work surface (I rubbed some butter into it), tip the dough out and knock it back.

3) Split it into smaller balls (I did about 15, however I think you actually want way more...60-50 at least)

4) Roll each chunk into a small ball, then coat in melted butter and roll in the sugar

5) Place the balls in the bundt tin to fill it up

6) Cover the bundt tin and leave to prove until the dough reaches the top of the tin (at least an hour probably)

7) Pre-heat the oven to 160-180'C (I did 180'C, I would recommend going lower)

8) Place the bread into the oven for 30-35 minutes, until golden

9) Remove to a wire rack to cool slightly. Place a baking tray under the wire rack, as when you turn it out, there may be some caramel coming out

10) Flip the tin over and remove the bread from the tin.

11) (optional) Once cooled drizzle with some melted white chocolate to decorate.