Brioche – Week 18

Brioche is a rich and amazing type of French pastry or light bread containing egg and butter, which gives a tender crumb. The dough is slightly sweet but can be used to bake savoury or sweet goods. You need brioche in your life so if you haven’t tried it do so now! This is week 18 of my 52 week bread baking challenge and this time I’m giving you an enriched loaf! It is also a trial recipe for my class of teenagers coming to cookery school next week. Totally yum! It takes a while to make but is so worth it.

This type of bread is more fragile than a standard loaf. It is also best made in a mixer with a dough hook as the eggs and butter make it slippery, soft and very sticky! Let the machine do the hard work and allow it to mix for a little longer than you usually would.

You can vary the basic mixture to include cinnamon, chocolate or lemon.

  • Cinnamon rolls: Increase the sugar to 1/4 cup. Roll the dough out into a rectangle and spread with butter, cinnamon, and sugar. Roll the dough into a log and cut into 12 rolls. Bake in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
  • Mini Chocolate brioche: work chocolate drops into the dough at step 5 or follow the instruction below using chocolate squares instead of lemon curd.
  • Mini Lemon brioche: include the grated zest of 1 lemon into the dough. At step 5 – cut off a quarter of the dough and return it to the bowl & cover. Divide the remaining dough into 8 pieces and flatten each into a disc in the palm of your hand. Place a teaspoon of lemon curd in the centre, pull up the edges and seal. Place, seam down, in a greased muffin tin. Use the remaining dough to make small balls and brush with beaten egg, press onto the top of the brioche.

You will need

225g (8 oz) strong white bread flour

25g (1oz) caster sugar

¼ tsp salt

50g (2oz) soft butter

2 eggs

1 egg yolk beaten

1 tablespoon water

For the yeast batter

2 teaspoons dried yeast (not fast-action)

1 teaspoon sugar

3 tablespoons warm semi-skimmed milk

25g (1oz) strong white flour

  1. First of all, make the yeast batter. Sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the milk and leave for 5 minutes. Stir in the flour to make a paste and leave in a warm place for about 15 – 20 minutes until frothy.
  2. Grease a loaf tin, 8″ round pan or eight holes of a muffin tin.
  3. In a bowl combine the flour, sugar and salt. Make a well in the centre and add the softened butter, eggs and yeast batter. Mix to a soft dough.
  4. If you have a mixer with a dough hook use it to knead the dough for 10 minutes, if you are working by hand knead the dough on an -surface until it is smooth. Place in an oiled polythene bag/ covered bowl and leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size.
  5. Knead the dough. Now you can shape it, either into a braided loaf, a simple loaf in a tin or small individual dinner rolls.
  6. Cover and prove again. Preheat the oven to Gas mark 5/ 190°C/ 375°F.
  7. Brush with the egg yolk mixed with water and bake for 15 – 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
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