For a few years now, at the end of September, I know a good treat that is waiting for me. A friend who lives in the countryside has a quince tree in her garden and plenty of this amazing fruit to share.
When I saw the two bags full of quinces I felt overwhelmed. First, I had to carry them home and then think what to make out of them. One bag was shared among friends and the second remained in my kitchen. Some people can even eat raw quinces but because of their hard flesh as well as their sour and astringent flavour are much more enjoyable when cooked. The easiest to do is to chop and cook them in a pot with the addition of a bit of water so as they don’t stick on the bottom, and then blend them to a jam consistency.
I did that, including also some sugar but not too much (roughly 100g per 1k chopped fruits), otherwise, their flavour would have been lost and become excessive sweet. I added also some cinnamon and lemon zest for aroma and so easily I had prepared some jars of quince jam to spread on my bread for breakfast.
However, I had still many left and the next thing that came to mind was, of course, to use them in a kind of bread. A rich bread such as a brioche was the easy thought.
I decided to use again the quince jam, in this case, cooked plain, topped with some sweeteners/aromatics after spreading it over the surface of the brioche dough sheet.
I rolled the dough into a cylinder, cut it in half, and form a braided bread after twisting each other the two half-cylinders.
The bread came out of the oven filling with its aromas my kitchen, it had a nice color and was soft to the touch, it was simply very inviting. It was only unfortunate because I had to wait to cool down before slicing it!
Quince brioche bread
Baked in a loaf tin (26x12x7cm)
350g flour *
100g active sourdough **
1 egg (ca. 50g)
* Here, I used wheat flour type 550
** Feed your sourdough starter with roughly 3x in weight amounts of flour and water (e.g. 20g starter plus 60g flour and 60g water), mix well, and let at room temperature for 6h up to overnight to at least double in size)
Quince jam *
* 3-4 medium-size quinces chopped, cooked with some water for 20min, blended to a pourable paste with the addition of extra water if needed, and left to cool down before spread on the dough
- Combine milk, egg, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Add the active sourdough and mix. Add and incorporate gradually the flour. Mix well until all flour is hydrated.
- Add the butter, melted but not hot, and pinch/knead it into the dough until fully incorporated so as a homogenous dough is formed and the walls of the bowl remain clean. Cover and let the dough rest for half-hour.
- Knead the dough briefly on a surface or stretch and fold it inside the bowl, until it becomes smooth. Give some love to the dough by forming it into a nice ball, put it back into the ball, cover it, and let it ferment for 6-8h until it rises evidently but not excessively.
(The exact time depends on the room temperature and the activity of your starter. Generally, brioche dough is heavier and requires respectively more time to rise than a typical bread dough)
- Transfer the dough bowl into the fridge for the whole night.
- Next day, take it out, let it for an hour at room temperature, and scrape out the dough onto a floured surface. Roll it out gently with a rolling pin to a rectangle of ca. 40x30cm-long.
(From time to time, lift the dough with your hands so as to introduce some air and prevent it from sticking)
- Spread with a spatula the quince jam all over the dough rectangle. Add some sugar and cinnamon to your liking, and spread some chopped pistachios.
- Roll tightly but gently the dough to a cylinder. Divide (cut) the cylinder into two, long dough braids. Place one on top of the other (with the cut sides facing upwards) to form an X, and twist them into a typical braided-dough pattern. Transfer it into a layered with baking paper (or oiled plus floured) baking tin. Cover it, and place it inside the oven together with a pot of boiled water. Let it into this humid and warm environment to proof for 1-2h.
- Bake it into a preheated at 180°C for ca. 50min.
- When still hot from the oven glaze with a simple sugar-water syrup.
(To prepare the syrup, simply bring to boil and mix to dissolve one part of sugar into half part of water)
- Wait to cool down before slicing!