As part of a recipe development competition for Marx Foods* 4th Annual Morel Recipe Challenge I recently set my mind to work to create a recipe using dried morels. I did what I usually do when I begin brainstorming - I made a list. Then I called some foodie friends and asked which of those ideas they liked best. Overwhelmingly they picked "bread." Now all I had to do was figure out what kind of bread! As I started thinking about the flavors that work wonderfully with morels I kept coming back to how I enjoy mushrooms the most: sauteed in butter with herbs. But of course! A butter bread! A brioche.
If you know me in real life you know I'm not a "bread person." I don't go gaga over bread and I don't even eat it everyday. But once a year, at Christmas, my mother makes brioche and I swoon. Because I am the baby of the family (cough *spoiled* cough) she always makes me a few little extra "baby brioche" to eat on Christmas morning with tea. I shan't tell you how many years this has been going on, but I will say you are never too old to enjoy your mother's love.
I should warn you - your house will smell like you bathed in butter. That's not a bad thing, just try not to eat this morel brioche directly from the pan as I won't be held responsible for burned lips!
15 oz AP flour
1/4 oz morel dust
2.5 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely minced
1 oz sugar
1/8 oz kosher salt
1/2 oz active dry yeast
1 oz warm water (120º F)
5 large eggs
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened + more for bowl
4 tablespoons onion jam, divided
one egg, well beaten
1 teaspoon whole milk or cream
Measure out all ingredients (except water as it will cool off) before starting.
To make the morel dust process approximately 3/4 ounce dried morels in a food processor. Sift and measure out one quarter ounce of the finest powder and set aside. Measure out another half ounce of morel pieces in a separate bowl. Combine these larger pieces with about an ounce of hot water and set aside to reconstitute.
Combine the all-purpose flour with the 1/4 ounce of morel dust, 2.5 tablespoons of finely minced fresh parsley, sugar, and kosher salt. Toss with a fork to combine and set aside.
Sprinkle the yeast over the water and stir once. Let sit for about 5 minutes.
Beat the eggs with a fork until well combined. Add reconstituted morel pieces and beat together. Make a well in the center of the flour-morel mixture and pour in the yeast-water mixture and the beaten morel-eggs. Begin by gently tossing in the dry flour at the edges of the wet ingredients until a dough begins to form.
Turn out on a lightly floured wooden work surface and knead until mixture is combined, elastic, and slightly tacky. You can add more flour as necessary but do so sparingly as mixture will become less sticky as you knead it. I prefer to simply press the dough back into the dry ingredient bowl to pick up some excess flour instead of adding flour to the work surface. Once you have a well-kneaded ball of dough place it in a large buttered bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave in a warm spot to rise for approximately 90 minutes.
After 90 minutes turn dough out onto a floured work surface. It should have doubled in bulk and be very soft and spongy. Knead for 10 seconds to knock the air out. Cover with a towel and let rest five minutes.
Spread about 1/3 of the butter onto the dough and fold in half. Repeat until all butter is spread. Now knead the dough until butter is well incorporated, about five minutes. Sprinkle with flour as necessary. Cover with a towel and let rest five more minutes. Meanwhile, butter two one-pound (or larger) loaf pans.
Cut the dough in half and gently press out each half. Spread with two tablespoons of the onion jam and roll up into a fat log, carefully pinching the seam and ends closed. Put into loaf pans and cover and let rest once more, this time for 45 minutes. Dough will puff up to fill pan about 3/4 full.
Preheat oven to 400º F. Brush top of bread with the egg glaze (well beaten) and cook 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown, cooked through, and producing a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom.
This brioche is great on its own, is wonderful spread with gorgonzola dolce or an herb compound butter, and is absolutely perfect to serve with mushroom soup, cauliflower soup, or alongside a steak dinner. I plan on making the ultimate grilled cheese with my morel brioche! If... um... I don't just eat it all up first.
If you like this recipe please consider voting for Oh Cake at the 4th Annual Morel Recipe Challenge here.
*The dried morels used in this recipe were provided by Marx Foods. Recipe, all text, photos, and opinions expressed herein are my own.