Auguest 2020: Brendon D'Souza

Brioche Loaf

“When someone cooks with love, the meal deserves to be celebrated. You get dressed, choose a killer playlist, and pour a glass of wine then sit down to share the magic with your loved ones.” — Brendon D’Souza

Auguest 2020: Brendon D'Souza

In the middle of typing out a fairly lengthy email at work, my phone vibrates. It’s Dad. A red box of Lowan Whole Foods Instant Dried Yeast appears on the screen. He’s finally found it! For weeks we’ve been on the hunt for a packet of dried yeast. The fourth-highest sought commodity after toilet paper, hand sanitiser, and plain flour. Not too long after the lockdown, Dad had picked up a 5kg bag of bread-making flour thinking it was plain flour. We could finally put it to good use.

As you can imagine, I jumped straight on the #BakeCorona bandwagon. Out came the Pyrex mixing bowls and measuring jug, and the plastic kitchen scale. Years ago I bought a book called Bread Revolution by Duncan Glendenning and Patrick Ryan. The pair had quit their day jobs and founded their artisan bakery The Thoughtful Bread Company so that they could ‘put a smile on people’s faces’ with bread that was lovingly crafted and shaped by hand. It’s a song that foodies have tooted for years. Making food the old fashioned way with time, love, and passion. It seemed to align perfectly with the requirements of the lockdown. We had to slow down and learn to relish in a simpler life. Spending more time surrounded with our immediate family or housemates. For most households, this included cooking more meals at home and actually having the time to sit down to a shared meal instead of eating on the go or by oneself.

Brioche Loaf

My first loaf worked out fairly well. It rose in the tin and had a light brown crust and was demolished within the hour with plenty of butter. Still, I felt I needed to give it another try. This time adding a little more olive oil to the base dough to make it more elastic. This helps to give it a longer shelf life too. I let this batch rise on the tray and scored it with a sharp knife to give the bread a chance to rise and create those perfect cuts. Another secret I learned probably by accident is that dough will continue to rise even in cold conditions. I had left a batch to rest overnight in the fridge in an oil-lined bowl wrapped in cling film. Funnily enough it had grown about four times its original size and produced one of the fluffiest loafs I think I have ever baked. A few loaves later I was adding in melted butter and egg yolks which produced a golden crumb and deep hazelnut crust. This is an adaptation of Duncan and Patrick’s white loaf.

Brioche Loaf Ingredients

PREP TIME 25 MINS* | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | MAKES 1 LARGE LOAF (700G)

* Allow for an extra 60 to 90 minutes to proof the dough

INGREDIENTS

  • 600g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 125g unsalted butter, melted
  • 300 ml water
  • 3 egg yolks, plus 1 extra egg for glazing
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp instant dried yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Olive oil, for greasing

Brioche Loaf Step-by-Step

METHOD

  1. Place the flour, salt, sugar, and dried yeast into a large mixing bowl. Combine the wet ingredients in a medium jug and slowly add to the dry ingredients. Combine using a whisk to form a sticky dough.
  2. Dust a clean work surface with flour. Tip out the dough and then knead for 10 minutes to form an elastic and pliable dough. You can test the dough by poking it with your finger and it should bounce back into shape.
  3. Brush a large clean mixing bowl with the olive oil. A clear glass bowl is handy so you can easily check on how the dough rises. Cover with a clean tea towel or cling wrap and set aside for 60 to 90 minutes for the first proof.
  4. Remove the covering and ‘knock-back’ the dough by gently punching it down. Turn it out onto a clean work surface and shape onto an oval. Transfer this to a loaf tin lined with baking paper. Allow the bread to proof for a second time.
  5. Preheat an oven to 230C (450F or gas mark 8). Position 2 baking racks in the centre and base of the oven. After 10 minutes reduce the temperature to 210ºC (400F or gas mark 6). Your bread goes into the top rack, and a baking dish filled 2cm high with cold water on the bottom rack. The water will steam and help the bread to rise evenly.
  6. The bread will take about 35 to 50 minutes to cook. You’ll know it’s done as your kitchen will suddenly be filled with an incredibly rich yeasty aroma. The top of the loaf will be golden and the loaf will sound hollow when tapped.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cool enough you can remove the loaf from the tin.
  8. Slice thick and serve with butter or your favourite spread. Enjoy!

Brioche Loaf

Brioche Loaf

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2020 | Brendon D’Souza (@brendonthesmilingchef)

BON APPÉTIT

– Brendon D’Souza
Follow me on Instagram at @brendonthesmilingchef

myTaste.com

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Auguest 2019: Brendon D'Souza

Potato Gnocchi with Red & Yellow Peppers

Hi Foodies, it’s Brendon D’Souza from @brendonthesmilingchef here.

It’s an honour to take part in Auguest once again this year at AMCarmen’s Kitchen. Allison and I met in Sydney a few years ago through Instagram, and then in-person at a food blogging event I hosted. Since then we’ve had countless foodie adventures together.

I started a food blog called Brendon The Smiling Chef around 2012, following the success of a recipe column of the same name. I wrote, styled, and photographed the recipes of my favourite dishes and reviewed some of my favourite restaurants and cafes. The blog continued to run until around 2016. I then focused on photography and a few other passions, worked for tech startups like Deliveroo and Tix and eventually landed a role at a global workspace provider. Earlier this year I launched my photography business Sydney Food Photography. I’ve been lucky to collaborate with some amazing brands like Samsung, OzHarvest and more.

Potato Gnocchi with Red & Yellow Peppers

When I received the theme for this year, I knew I wanted to take a playful twist on the definition of fruit. Potatoes are called pomme de terre in French which could literally translate to ‘apple of the earth’ and peppers (or capsicums as we call them in Australia), are also technically a fruit of the nightshade family (Solanaceae).

Gnocchi are delightful potato dumplings made with a few simple ingredients. They are one of my favourite comfort food this winter and pair very well with a tangy roasted pepper sauce.

Potato Gnocchi with Red & Yellow Peppers

PREP TIME 25 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 30 MINS | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

For the gnocchi

  • 500g potatoes, skin on
  • 200g plain flour + extra
  • 1 free-range egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the peppers

  • 1 large red pepper, sliced
  • 1 large yellow pepper, sliced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil + extra

To serve

  • 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Handful chopped parsley
  • Grated Grana Padano or other hard Italian cheese, to serve

Potato Gnocchi with Red & Yellow Peppers

METHOD

  1. Preparing the Potatoes: Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until cooked through. A knife should glide through the potato when it’s cooked. Remove from the heat and drain. Cover the potatoes with cold water and set aside to cool.
  2. Roasted Peppers: Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan forced. Toss the peppers with a little olive oil and garlic slices. Spread in a single layer in a roasting pan and roast for 20-25 minutes until the peppers have softened and start to caramelise around the edges. You may need to stir the peppers in the pan while roasting. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. Potato Gnocchi: Once the potatoes have cooled, peel and then mash. Add the 200g of flour, egg yolk, salt and pepper and mix with a wooden spoon to form a pliable dough. If the mixture looks a little sticky, add more flour until it forms a ball. It will look and feel like play dough.
  4. Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil. Sprinkle a chopping board with some extra flour. Divide the dough into quarters and roll to form a 1.5cm thick sausage. Cut the sausage into 1cm thick slices with a sharp knife dipped in some cold water. This helps to prevent the dough from sticking. I like to make my gnocchi a little rough and leave them as discs.
  5. Cook the gnocchi in small batches for 2-3 minutes. They will float to the surface when they have cooked through. Remove to large heatproof bowl and toss with a little olive oil to prevent sticking.
  6. Add the roasted peppers, cherry tomatoes, and parsley to the gnocchi and toss to combine. Drizzle with olive oil and grated Grana Padano to serve and enjoy!

Potato Gnocchi with Red & Yellow Peppers

Optional extra: I love the taste and texture of pan-fried gnocchi. To do so, heat a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp butter and a drizzle of olive oil. When hot, add the gnocchi in batches and sauté until golden brown.

Potato Gnocchi with Red & Yellow Peppers

Check out my foodie adventures on Instagram at @brendonthesmilingchef

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2019 | Brendon D’Souza

BON APPÉTIT

– Brendon D’Souza

myTaste.com