Farm Girl

Monday, January 31, 2011

Lemon Brioche Muffins

It is winter here on the Central Coast of California, yet with this hot streak we've been having it feels more like summer. Something I associate with both Summer and Winter is the fresh taste of lemons. Specifically, I love Meyer Lemons because of their sweet, compelling scent and their flesh which doesn't shatter when squeezed to make lemonade or citrons press├ęs. 

Donna Hay's most recent magazine contained a recipe for Orange Brioche Muffins with a Lemon glaze on top….Hmmm, time for me to mix it up a little. Instead of adding orange zest, I'm adding lemon. Rose geranium seems like it would bring it up a little notch as well, so, here goes….

Lemon (and Rose Geranium) Brioche Muffins with Lemon Glaze
(say that 10 times faster)
time: approximately 4 hours
Yields 6 muffins
Materials needed:
Scale which measures in grams (Target carries some for about $30)
Oven (preferably gas)
KitchenAid mixer with dough hook
Microplane (or you can use that side of the cheese grater which is really tiny holes)
A coffee grinder or small food processor
A spatula
Measuring cups and spoons
A sieve
Some muffin or cupcake tins
1 clean cloth

For the Bread:
8 grams of instant dry yeast (about 2 tsp)
1 tablespoon lukewarm water
55 grams granulated sugar (about 1/4 cup)
1 meyer lemon, zest of
4 leaves of rose geranium, optional (I used a mixture of Attar of Rose, Lemon Rose and one of which we've forgotten the name.)
1/4 tsp sea salt flakes
2 tablespoons lukewarm milk
250 grams of flour, plus more as needed (1 2/3 cup flour) (I used Huasna Valley Farms because it's local)
2 eggs, lightly beaten (room temperature) The eggs are from my own chickens
225 grams of unsalted butter, chopped and softened (about 2 sticks)

For the Wash:
1 egg slightly beaten

For the Lemon Glaze:
320 grams powdered sugar, sifted (2 cups)
1 Tablespoon boiling water
2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1) Mix the yeast and water in a bowl and mix to combine, set aside for 5 minutes, or until bubbly. Pulverize the granulated sugar and the rose geranium leaves in the coffee grinder until smooth.  Combine the sugar mixture with the salt and milk in a small bowl. Zest the lemon into the flour. Place the flour, eggs and the activated yeast in the bowl of the mixer and beat on low for 1 minute with the dough hook. Increase speed to high, add the sugar mixture and beat for 10 minutes or until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.

The most important part of baking for me is Mise En Place (meaning getting everything ready to bake). The second most important thing for me, is in keeping the kitchen decluttered so as not to run out of room.

2) While still mixing, add the butter and beat for 6-7 minutes or until
 glossy and elastic.

3) Place the dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place for 2-3 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

4) Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 6 equal size balls and knead until smooth. Grease the muffin tins, and place one ball in each cup. Cover with a  clean, damp cloth and set aside for 1 hour

5) Preheat oven to 400˚F. Brush dough with egg wash and bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack

6) Make the lemon icing by mixing sugar, water and lemon juice together. Spoon icing over the muffins and top with a candied lemon peel and let set.

Note: When proofing the dough, do not place in an extremely warm place as it will melt the butter and make it a greasy mess. 65˚F is about how warm you want it. Also note: The flour I used is whole wheat. If I were to make this again, I would use regular all purpose. I would also probably want to add an extra egg yolk and some more zest (I love zest). I'll have to make this again to see if I can improve it. Toodles :)

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