Belgian cougnou
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Makes: 1 large or 8 small ones
 
Ingredients
Dough
  • 8 gr yeast
  • 110 gr milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 35 gr white sugar
  • 400 gr white strong flour
  • 6 gr salt
  • 68 gr butter
  • 100 gr sultana’s
  • 40 gr sugar cubes
Finish
  • 1 egg
Instructions
  1. Allow the butter to come to room temperature.
  2. Warm the milk to lukewarm, pour in the mixing bowl and add the yeast and sugar. Stir in the eggs and allow to stand for a minute to allow the yeast to wake up.
  3. Add the flour and salt and knead the dough until smooth and elastic.
  4. Using a handheld mixer, knead the soft butter through the dough until incorporated.
  5. Place the dough in a clean bowl dusted with flour, and allow to rise at room temperature for an hour or until doubled in volume.
  6. Soak the raisins in hot water for 10 min and drain in a colander.
  7. Crumble the sugar crumbs.
  8. Dust your work surface with some flour and roll the dough out to a rectangle. Put the sugar crumbs and raisins on top and roll the dough up to incorporate the filling and to obtain a cylindrical shape.
  9. Place it seam side down on a tray lined with baking paper, cover with a clean and dry tea towel and allow to proof until doubled in volume, which takes about 60 to 90 minutes.
  10. Preheat the oven to 170 °C.
  11. With floured fingers, pinch the ends of the dough to obtain two smaller bowls et either ends (like a toffee).
  12. Brush the bread with the beaten egg.
  13. Bake the bread for 30 min or until it is done and golden.
  14. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack before slicing.
Stuff to know
The cougnou is a Belgian speciality bread that is typical for the Christmas period. It is comparable to the French brioche but it contains less egg and butter.
Ideally, one would use pearl sugar (also called nib sugar) for this bread but is can be hard to find. Crumbles sugar cubes are an alternative.
Do not warm the milk too much (< 45°C) or it will kill the yeast. Luke warm means body temperature.
Recipe by Jeroen Valkenier Recipes at http://jpvalkenier.com/belgian-cougnou/