Brioche

2.22.2012


Brioche is a seven letter word. If I could only leave it at that.
My personal quest for the greatest brioche, I have just come to realize, will be a lifelong one.
Why? Because there is something about a brioche recipe that raises my expectations. And the buttery thoughts of course.

Baking is what I love to do most. And baking with yeast is definitely my number one interest. So I guess brioche is kind of an obvious choice. I don´t even remember eating brioche before making it myself. It appealed to me even before trying it. Blame it on the pictures then. All that richness that comes through even in a photograph. And those long, lacy strands of dough.  And the fact that if goes with sweet as well as savory is not to be overlooked. Even few-days-old brioche is good wrapped in foil and heated in the oven. Not to mention in bread pudding or French toast.


There are things to know about brioche baking:
 A heavy duty mixer makes all the difference. You can make it by hand. I did, when I attended a bread baking class. But it´s too much work. I advise not to use your electric hand held mixer, they usually don´t have enough power. I broke one, you are warned!

You need to dedicate time to your project. It is kind of a project the first times you make it. It needs your attention and a long time in the refrigerator. So you need to plan accordingly.
When forming the brioche in whatever shape you choose, working fast is essential. The butter starts to get warm very quickly and over handling the dough can be messy. So choose and butter your pan/s beforehand.
They need to fit snugly in the pan. I once used a pan that was too big for the amount I was making. I ended up with brioche that looked like whoopie pies.



BASIC BRIOCHE DOUGH
from The Village Baker´s Wife by Gale Ortiz

Note: This is the first recipe I ever made and used it for years. After buying other books I realized that the technique is different from most. Almost all other recipes mix everything for about 15 minutes and then add the butter. This recipe works perfectly and the flavor is outstanding. It makes a lot of dough, about 4 pounds. But it freezes perfectly. Thaw it in the refrigerator the night before you plan to bake it.

Ingredients

½  cup warm water
¾  ounce (20 g) active dry yeast
6 ½  cups flour (I use 4 cups all purpose and 2 ½  cups pastry flour)
3 ½  teaspoons salt
½  cup sugar
1 ½ cups / 12 ounces (340 g) unsalted butter, at room tº (but not greasy)
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
¼  cup cold milk

Directions

Place water in a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast over it. Stir to dissolve. Set aside until creamy, 5 to 10 minutes.
Place the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a tabletop mixer fitter with the dough hook. Add the butter, yeast mixture and 2/3 of the eggs. Mix on low speed for 4 to 5 minutes or until all the ingredients are incorporated and the dough is smooth but firm. While the mixer is running, slowly add the rest of the eggs in 3 or 4 additions, waiting until each is fully incorporated before adding the next, about 4 to 5 minutes more. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly add the milk to the side of the bowl, allowing the very wet dough to pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl. The final dough will be elastic, satiny and wet.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour. After the dough has nearly doubled, remove it from the bowl and place it on a lightly floured surface. Punch the dough down and round it into a ball using a little flour on the work surface. Place the dough in a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
The next morning, remove the dough from the refrigerator and use as directed.



BRIOCHE A TETE

2 pounds (950g) brioche dough, divided into 12 pieces
1 egg + 1 teaspoon milk, for glaze

Butter well 12 brioche molds.
To form each brioche a tete you will need a large and a small piece of dough. On a floured surface cut about ¼ of each piece of dough; Slightly flatten the large piece of dough and then bring it together to the center, pinching to seal. Lightly close your palm over the dough and start making circles (counter-clock-wise/ to your left) so that the piece of dough ends up with a rounded shape. This should be done fast because the dough gets hot.
Put the balls in the molds and, with a scissor, cut a slit in the top. Open it with your fingers making a little hole. Repeat with all pieces.
Now, take the small piece of dough, make a little ball and place it in the hole. Repeat with other pieces. Cover the molds with a clean, dry towel and let rise until puffy, about 2 hours. This varies depending on the size, tº of the kitchen and tº of the dough.
Preheat the oven at 375º about 20 minutes before baking.
Mix egg and milk in a small bowl. With a pastry brush glaze top of brioche, careful not to let it drip to the sides of the mold since this might result in your brioche sticking to the sides while baking and not rising well.
Bake for 10 minutes. Decrease oven tº to 325ºF / 170ºC and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until bottom of brioche sounds hollow when tapped with your fingers (I use my knuckles).
Remove from molds and let cool.
Makes 12 brioche.



BRIOCHE AU CHOCOLAT (Chocolate Brioche)

2 ounces (60g) semisweet chocolate, divided into 12 pieces
1 pound + 13 ounces (about 850g) brioche dough, divided into 12 pieces
1 egg + 1 teaspoon milk, for glaze

Butter well 12 brioche molds. You can use muffin tins.
On a floured surface slightly flatten each piece of dough, put a piece of chocolate in the middle and bring it together to the center, pinching to seal. Lightly close your palm over the dough and start making circles (counter-clock-wise/ to your left) so that the piece of dough ends up with a rounded shape. This should be done fast because the dough gets hot. Repeat with all pieces
Put the balls in the buttered molds and slightly flatten tops. This will help them rise evenly.
Cover the molds with a clean, dry towel and let rise until puffy, about 2 hours. This varies depending on the size, tº of the kitchen and tº of the dough.
Preheat the oven at 375º about 20 minutes before baking.
Mix egg and milk in a small bowl. With a pastry brush glaze top of brioche, careful not to let it drip to the sides of the mold since this might result in your brioche sticking to the sides while baking and not rising well.
Bake for 10 minutes. Decrease oven tº to 325ºF / 170ºC and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until bottom of brioche sounds hollow when tapped with your fingers (I use my knuckles).
Remove from molds and let cool.
Makes 12 brioche.



1 comment:

  1. I will definitely be making these - I'm just looking for brioche tins on Amazon right now...!!

    ReplyDelete

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