Apple cinnamon brioche – a soft, sweet brioche bread braid filled with juicy cinnamon apples. Post sponsored by VonShef.
The apple tree in my garden has yielded a decent crop this year. The apples are a little too sharp to eat as they are however so I need to do lots of baking to use them up. I haven’t decided exactly what to make with them all, but I started by baking this apple cinnamon brioche which used up four of them and was very tasty too.
The prime reason for baking brioche, as opposed to say, an apple cake; was that I was sent a stand mixer by VonShef to review; and I think that the best way to test the capabilities of a stand mixer is to use it to knead bread dough.
I was sent the VonShef 1260W Black Stand Mixer which comes with three attachments – a beater, whisk and dough hook, a dishwasher safe 5.5 litre stainless steel bowl and an integrated splash guard to cut down on mess (to stop you from covering your kitchen with a cloud of icing sugar…). It is a fairly lightweight mixer with a compact, sleek and stylish design; meaning that it would work well in any kitchen and can happily take pride of place out on the countertop.
The mixer has six speed settings which range from slow for careful mixing, up to a very high speed which is perfect for whisking up meringue; it also has a pulse setting so that you can mix in short bursts. The flat beater attachment is perfect for making cakes and batters, and the planetary action of the arm means that you don’t have to scrape down the bowl too often.
The balloon whisk makes light work of meringue – I used the mixer to make the ghostly haunted pavlova that I shared last week, and with the help of the stand mixer it was an absolute breeze to make. The dough hook is obviously for making bread dough, as well as other heavy mixtures such as pastry. As I mentioned before, making bread is the best way to put a mixer through it’s paces; if it can knead dough without burning out the motor or walking itself off the worktop then it’s a goodun. The VonShef stand mixer performed admirably and had no problems kneading my brioche dough, even though it was mixing nonstop for about ten minutes. Because it is quite lightweight, it does wobble a bit when mixing heavy things like dough at high speeds, but not so much that it is in danger of falling over.
One thing that I was surprised about was just how quiet the mixer is! Despite the fact that it is very powerful, it really doesn’t make much noise at all compared to my last mixer which is a massive bonus. A stand mixer is one of the biggest powerhouses in any baker’s arsenal; it renders a great many tasks considerably easier and enables you to do other things whilst at the same time mixing cake batter, making meringue or kneading bread dough, and the Vonshef 1260W mixer not only performs all of these tasks with ease but it is very reasonably priced to boot! It may not be as sturdy and solidly built as a Kitchenaid mixer, but for the price it really does the job.
On to the apple cinnamon brioche. This is a soft, slightly sweet, incredibly moreish brioche dough that is filled with juicy cinnamon scented apples and is shaped into an impressive looking braid that is actually incredibly easy to make. You simply roll the dough out into a rectangle, spread the apple filling down the centre, cut the dough either side into wide strips then fold them over the filling, alternating sides – it looks like you have spent ages braiding it but it only takes a minute and very little coordination!
The brioche is perfect for breakfast, brunch, afternoon tea or a snack and is so incredibly delicious that you will have a hard time resisting munching on a slice every time you go into the kitchen (I certainly couldn’t resist anyway).
Apple Cinnamon Brioche
- 275 g (2 + 1/4 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 7 g (2 tsp) fast action (instant) yeast
- 25 g (2 Tbsp) caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 70 ml (1/4 cup + 1 scant Tbsp) full fat milk lukewarm
- 100 g (1 stick) softened unsalted butter cubed
- 600 g eating apples (about 4 medium apples)
- juice of 1 lemon
- 30 g (2 Tbsp) unsalted butter
- 75 g (1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp) light brown soft sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- pinch salt
- 1 Tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour
- 1 egg, beaten with a splash of milk to glaze
- demarera sugar for sprinkling
To make the dough: place the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, eggs and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer, mix on a low speed until it all comes together then turn up to medium speed and mix for a couple of minutes until the dough is smooth and slightly elastic. The dough is quite sticky so if you are kneading by hand be prepared to get messy!
With the mixer running, add the butter in lumps one at a time then continue to knead the dough at a high speed until the butter is all evenly incorporated and the dough is smooth, soft and elastic. It will still be quite sticky but should start to pull away from the sides of the bowl cleanly.
Place the dough in a large bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight (the dough will keep for a couple of days in the fridge).
The following day start by making the filling. Peel, core and slice the apples and place in a bowl with the lemon juice, toss gently to combine. Melt the butter in a wide frying pan and add the apples, sugar, cinnamon, salt and vanilla extract. Stir to combine then sauté gently until the fruit has softened slightly and the juices have reduced to a thick syrup, set aside to cool. Once the apples have cooled, sprinkle over the tablespoon of flour and stir in gently.
On a piece of lightly floured baking parchment, roll the brioche dough out into a roughly 10 x 15-inch rectangle, move the paper and dough onto a baking sheet. Spread the apple mixture down the centre of the dough, cut the dough surrounding the filling into diagonal strips about 1 1/2 inches wide making sure to leave a border of uncut dough around the filling.
Fold over the ends, then fold the cut strips of dough over the filling, alternating sides so that it looks like it has been braided.
Loosely cover the dough with oiled cling film and leave it to rise until it is puffy and springs back slowly when you press it gently with a finger – about 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
Gently brush the dough with the beaten egg and sprinkle with demarera sugar. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden and cooked through. Because of the large amounts of butter and sugar in the dough, brioche can colour very quickly on the outside before being cooked on the inside, so if it starts to darken too quickly, cover it with a piece of tin foil.
Leave the brioche to cool on the tray for 10 minutes then carefully transfer it to a wire rack. Best eaten the day it is made but will keep for a couple of days in an airtight container.
This post is sponsored by VonShef, thank you for supporting the brands that allow me to continue doing what I love – playing with food and making a mess of my kitchen.