Ellen’s Best Prosciutto Brioche (very eggy dough)

Ellen’s Best Prosciutto Brioche (very eggy dough)
I always double this. They are good for a crowd and they taste good hot out of the oven. They are just as good cold for days after making. This looks and tastes like it is much harder to make than it actually is. Makes about four dozen rolls.
  • Pastry
  • 3½ cups flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 packages (¼ ounce each) active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup butter
  • ½ cup milk
  • 5 eggs
  • Filling
  • Mascarpone
  • Fennel seeds
  • 1 pound of good prosciutto, diced into small pieces
  • Finely grated Gruyère
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1½ cups of the flour, sugar, yeast, lemon peel, and salt.
  2. In a saucepan or microwave, melt butter in milk no more than 120–130º F. (So don’t do this on high in the microwave or it will get too hot and separate.) Add to dry ingredients and beat until moistened.
  3. Add eggs and beat, then add 1 cup of the flour and beat until smooth. Stir in the remaining flour but do not knead. Spoon dough into a greased bowl and cover. Let rise in a warm place for about an hour.
  4. This will make a yellow gooey mess. Yes, it is supposed to look like this.
  5. Gently punch dough down, cover, and refrigerate overnight. If you need this today, just put it in the freezer uncovered for an hour (or, if you are really late, for just as long as you can) and then make a few (a dozen, or however many your cookie sheet can comfortably accommodate) from the harder dough on top—putting the rest back in the freezer while that batch bakes.
  6. Punch dough down and turn onto a lightly floured surface, unless you are using the freezer method—cut some from the dough and set the rest aside. If you are using the freezer method, just take your pieces from the hardest part of the top. Divide the dough into 16 equally sized small balls, maybe a teaspoon, and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet that has been covered in fennel seeds.
  7. Using your fingers, press a good-sized dab of mascarpone into the dough. Sprinkle your dough top with the Gruyere cheese. Then add 5 or 6 pieces of diced prosciutto all over the top of the cheese.
  8. Next, gently pull a little of the stretchy dough from one side of the roll to the other. You can do this in a couple of places. It will look messy. Don’t worry; it will bake beautifully. You just want a little of the stretchy dough from one side touching the stretchy dough on the other.
  9. Sprinkle grated Gruyère all over the top. If it looks messy and there is some Gruyère on the sides and on the parchment paper, you will get those baked cheesy pieces hanging off the edges of your pastry. Don’t worry. Everybody loves these.
  10. Bake at 375ºF for a few minutes, until golden brown.


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