This is my sourdough adaptation of the previous brioche couronne recipe I wrote about on here – which was originally based on Paul Hollywood’s brioche couronne recipe, but with a twist on the filling (sundried tomato and pesto instead of ham and mozzarella). I realised there are technically TWO twists on the fillings as the actual content is different, but also the dough is literally twisted into a pretty couronne (which is French for ‘crown’) shape. Aha!
I have just subtracted the quantities of flour and water used in the sponge from the main dough ingredients, so that the same proportions which were in the original recipe are maintained. 75g of water was used instead of 75g milk as this was unavoidable because starters contain water, not milk! I considered adding a little milk powder to compensate for this difference, but in the end I decided that it would be okay without! And I think it was!
Interestingly, this brioche browned considerably less than its yeast-risen counterpart, even though I did not cover it with foil at any point during the baking. I think this is because it is sourdough, as I notice my sourdough loaves brown less than yeasted ones. Ideally, I would’ve liked a colour in between this one and the yeast based couronne! Next time!
This takes a bit longer to make than the yeast version, but it is very worth it and rewarding in the end. You need to prepare the sponge the night before you make the bread, so this needs to be planned in advance. And, again, I’ve described how to make this by hand, if you don’t have a mixer. If you do have a bread mixer/stand aid then the process is quicker and you don’t need to add the butter in stages! Lucky you!!
I’ve also managed to get better step-by-step photos this time, as I sometimes don’t because my hands are covered in flour or I forget. So I hope this is helpful.
50g sourdough starter – it should be active and very bubbly (mine is 100% hydration, so equal weights flour and water)
100g strong white flour
For the dough:
All 200g of sponge made earlier
375g strong white flour
95g whole milk
250g unsalted butter (chopped in pieces, at room temperature)
For the filling:
About 100g pesto
a big handful of sundried tomatoes (chopped up)
Mix together all the ingredients for the sponge. Add the water to the starter first in order to loosen it, then add the flour. Mix until combined. Cover with cling film and leave to rest for 8-12 hours overnight (depends on the temperature of your kitchen, I left mine for 10 hours which was fine).
In the morning, the sponge should have lots of nice air bubbles and should have relaxed and spread out. First, mix the sponge with the milk to loosen it (it will be very stiff), then add all the rest of the ingredients (apart from the butter). Mix till everything mostly comes together.
Tip this on to a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough looks smooth, elastic, soft, and shiny. Next, knead in about half the butter (might be useful to have a dough scraper here). The butter will melt and the dough will be very sticky, but resist the urge to add more flour. When the butter is fully incorporated with no lumps, place in a container, cover, and place in the freezer for about 10 minutes. This will firm up the dough and make it less sticky to handle.
Next, add the other half of the butter, putting the dough in the freezer to chill whenever the dough becomes too difficult to handle.
When all the butter is fully mixed in with no visible lumps, place the dough in a container and cover with cling film. Let rise for a couple of hours. I left mine for about 4 hours but this can vary quite a bit depending on your sourdough starter and the temperature of the kitchen. When doubled in size, place in the freezer until the dough is firmer and non-sticky (about 15 minutes). Alternatively, this first prove can be done overnight in the fridge, and you will wake up with risen and ready to work with dough. This will also mean that your final couronne will have more of a sourdough tang. This just means planning a little further ahead.
Next, on a lightly floured surface roll out the dough into a rough rectangle, with the longer side facing you. Spread an even layer of pesto over this, then sprinkle on the sundried tomatoes. Roll up this rectangle, starting from the longer edge. Gently press down on the seams to seal.
Then cut this roll in half lengthwise, exposing the filling.
Now it’s time to twist together these two strips together to form the ‘couronne’. This might be a bit messy but don’t worry about it. Mess is expected. Press the ends together to form the crown shape and disguise where the ends join.
And the finished crown:
Lift your creation and carefully transfer to a baking tray (lined with a baking sheet). Cover with a large bag and let rise for 2-4 hours.
When risen, bake for about 25 minutes in an oven preheated to 200C (non fan oven). After about 10 minutes baking, brush with some beaten egg (this will make the surface nice and shiny)
Above is the couronne hanging out with another sourdough loaf I made. Because the cats wouldn’t make an appearance this time! I’m worried they don’t like sourdough, clearly I need to teach them to have good taste in bread! Meow! (only kitten)
Thanks for reading and I hope I made sourdough frenchy sounding bread things sound like something fun and uncomplicated!