Honey and hazelnut winter wreath: of new and old

Honey and hazelnut winter wreath-1

This year was full of happenings, things both good and bad, new and interesting people, new and old places, but most of all good food. I restarted the blog in February this year, determined not to quit again as I did when I first started photography and blogging 5 years ago. But those were different times, when I was on my doctoral studies (I have a PhD in molecular biology, there, the secret’s out) and had absolutely no time to continue blogging. This year, a couple of conversations with friends, reflections about the things which are important to me and a couple of weeks later I’ve found myself reopening the blog and started photographing full time. I’ve learned a lot from others, passed hours studying blogs and looking at gorgeous photographs, discovering so many talents. Most of all I had time to cook all day long and practice on my own since I was jobless during the whole year.

I’ve recently got a job in the scientific area. This time, I promised myself not to let go of what I’ve started. I am grateful to have had this year to seriously re-enter the world of photography, cooking and styling. This world means a lot to me. These are the moments when you can entirely detach and concentrate on creating. It’s a world full of wonderful and creative people from around the globe, a community which I am now starting to get to know and feel to be a part of. The most important thing I’ve realised this year is that all comes in its own time. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe in destiny or things alike, I’ve too a scientific mind for it. Yet I understood that things will come when you are ready to accept them, when you are mature enough to deal with them, or when you worked hard enough to see a result and a new opportunity. There is no sense in trying to speed things up or being too eager. You just have to be ready. Have to work harder. However, dream big. Remember to be realistic, but keep your hopes high. I am dreaming about making this my job once, combining cooking and styling and photography. And I am working hard now to gain experience for when the moments is right.

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Honey and hazelnut winter wreath-5This new year will without doubt be a year of hard work. It will also be a year of serious reflection about life and priorities. I hope that in the near future I will be ready enough to make the important changes and concentrate completely on what I love most. Most of all I hope I will be wise enough to take the good opportunities when they come my way and work hard in order to create them.
With that thought I am giving you the recipe for my honey and hazelnut Christmas wreath. It is such a winter-y brioche, perfect for Christmas, which is now several days behind us. But the festive spirit is all around. Today is the last day of the old year, and maybe just as well a good opportunity to decorate the festive table with this wreath. I wish you all a year full of opportunities and the spirit to take them and make your dreams come true.

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550 g flour (plus more for dusting)
250 mL milk
1 egg
80 g butter
50 g light brown muscovado sugar
3 tsp dry yeast
1/2 tsp salt

100 g grounded hazelnuts
50 mL milk (more if needed)
6 tbsp good quality honey

1 Mix flour and salt in a large bowl.
2 Warm up (37° C) half of the milk with one tbsp sugar, add the yeast and mix well. Cover with a dry cloth and leave at a warm place for 10 minutes until the yeast becomes foamy.
3 Mix the rest of the milk with remaining sugar.
4 Melt the butter and add it to the milk.
5 Make a well in the middle of the bowl containing the flour and pour in the milk-butter-sugar mixture, then add the milk with yeast. Carefully scrape all the sugar that might stick to the bowl. Mix the flour into the liquid using a spatula. Continue kneading the dough for a couple of minutes with your hands. When the dough is not sticky anymore, form it into a ball, cover with a dry kitchen towel and leave for one hour on room temperature to rise.
6 Prepare the filling.
7 Roll the dough in around 25×40 cm rectangle. Spread the hazelnut filling over the dough leaving 1 cm border around the edges.
8 Roll the dough on the longest side into a log. Cut the log lengthwise with a sharp knife. Braid the two parts placing one strand of dough over the other making sure to expose the filling.
9 Carefully lift the dough and place it on a large baking sheet, forming a wreath. Seal the ends of the dough together. Leave it to rise in a warm place for another half an hour.
10 Brush the wreath with eggwash, sprinkle with almond slices and bake on 180°C for around 25 minutes, until golden.

1 Heat the milk in a small pan.
2 Add the grounded hazelnuts into the hot milk and stir so that the hazelnuts absorb all the milk. Add a tablespoon more of milk if the mixture is too dry.
3 Add the honey and mix well.
4 Set aside to cool down completely before spreading it over the dough.

9 thoughts on “Honey and hazelnut winter wreath: of new and old

  1. Tu mérites de réussir dans ce que tu aimes, tu travailles dur et tu es très douée. Je te souhaite tout le meilleur et de belles réussites et opportunités pour 2017 et les années à venir 😘

  2. Lori, I can’t believe I’m reading this just now. Even more so, I can’t believe we have so so much in common. Even more so than we thought!! I actually started my blog when I was still working on my PhD (art history). I was extremely frustrated and unhappy and the blog was my way of doing something creative … but it also made me see how much I needed to follow my heart. I officially quit my PhD last year – I just couldn’t devote any more time to something that made me feel so horrible -, started a regular job to at least earn some money, and started to focus more on everything surrounding the blog, writing and photography. It’s extremely difficult finding a rhythm that let’s you combine it all (especially during the dark winter days), but it’s possible … my only advice would be to listen to yourself. You will always see people who do more, write more blogposts, make more photographs, post more on instagram, but that doesn’t mean you have to. It has to be feasible and natural for you … then you can build! x

    1. I’m so sorry for the late reply Elise, I’ve been adjusting to the new job and had so little time for everything else, especially with the long working hours… Thank you so much for you comment! I can’t believe you were a PhD also! Even though it’s not the same domain I believe the stress was the same! I couldn’t allow myself to quit even if I was unhappy (actually the unhappiness came from the bad project and a bad relationship with my boss) because I’ve dreamt about it since college, I came to a new country all alone, and quitting would have been throwing everything away and accepting failure. So I finished. And I discovered this real love for photography i the meantime . Yet even now with the new job, which is quite alright for now (except fro the long working hours), I feel this longing for creativeness, photography, making food. So I pack everything up in the weekends. Where do you work now? Are you planning to go freelance? Tell me everything 😀

  3. By the time I finished reading your post I felt like I need to go through it once more… such beautiful words and story that really touched me and I could somehow relate to it by my own online experience. I started blogging March `16 and by the time half of the year was gone I quit the job I hated and I really needed to focus on what I wanted to do with my life. Which remains to be photography. I’ve learned so much these 6-7 months and as you’ve described it above, it all comes in its own time. This is something that I’m really trying to accept and deal with. No matter my frustration at times that things don’t go the way I was thinking or wanted to. Freelancing is a tough world but shouldn’t be impossible.
    I wish you all the best with your new job (science…wow, impressed) and a good balance between your passions. Love the tones and the light in all your photos and please find the strength to continue showing them to us.

    Denitsa <3

    1. Thank you so much Denitsa for your lovely words! And sorry for such a late reply, with the new job I really needed some time to adjust my schedule. It’s still hard but this is what keeps me going! I think it was so courageous of you to quite your job and start all over! I imagine it must have been very difficult. How do you organise now? Are you a full time “official” freelance? I’m trying to combine my daily job with my passion which I don’t want to set aside under any circumstances. But my biggest problem is the lack of time and also the fact I’m too meticulous so it takes me ages to write a post because I wait for a good inspiration and if I’m not pleased with a photo I am capable of reproducing everything next weekend which could be kind of frustrating. Thank you so much for your compliments. I want you to know I really enjoy your photos also! Keep in touch <3

  4. Sooo I get banned from facebook, cannot stand there and nag you to post new recipes and there are no new ones! Lorena, woman!
    😉 I can see that you have your hands full with the new job, but still! My children will need sustenance! 🙂
    Btw. Twins are growing nicely, all is well, I had first real kick today and it spooked me, I jumped on the couch XD I am moving now, finally, so if you come home and have some time for a cup of coffee, send Mihovil a message, we’ll work something out 😉
    Now get on with some recipeing! (It’s a word, I made it.) I will try this one as soon as I am able to knead 🙂

    1. Hey girl!!
      So glad to hear from you!! I was actually wondering where you are until I saw your sister’s comment on your husband’s wall about you not being on fb anymore. You got banned?! Ahem, what did you do this time? 😀
      I’m happy to hear the twins are growing well! Do you have names already?
      Yes, yes I know, I’ve been too absent lately, I actually moved to a new apartment in the meanwhile, so I was busy with that too. But no worries I’m planning to continue with the blog again and regularly. My new job is good. I actually got that good feeling about research again (plus Curie is kinda classy). Not telling I want to do it for the rest of my life but it’s fine for now. I’ve met some lovely people also, so that helps.
      I’ve been baking like crazy lately. I re-tested all of my good recipes, I want to make sure I put only the good ones on the blog. I’ve some new things on my mind so you’ll have your dose for testing :p
      Keep in touch by email – my first surname.name at gmail! :*

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