Sunday, 24 March 2013

A Parisian Brioche

This month for the Classic French challenge I set the theme as brioche. My first attempt at baking brioche last year failed miserably. It was my first enriched dough and I got impatient and didn't let it rise for long enough and the result was underbaked doughy rubbish. However since then I've made a few other enriched doughs including hot cross buns and an apricot and ginger plait. I have also learned that time is the key factor when making these types of bread. In fact I'd say being patient and waiting for the yeast to do its thing is perhaps the hardest part of the process. Actually making the dough is quite easy, it's the waiting that will test you. Is is it worth it in the end? The answer is most definitely yes.



I left my brioche dough to rise for about 7 hours in the kitchen, in hindsight I probably could have left it for a little bit less as there didn't seem to be much difference after hour 5. I used the recipe from Larousse Gastronimique which I've already posted here. This had a much higher butter content than the recipe I attempted from a magazine last year. In fact the quantities of butter and flour are almost equal, this is definitely not one for anybody on a diet. I started off by making the dough with the flour, yeast, water, milk, sugar and eggs and it started to feel like a nice, soft, pliable dough. The next step was adding the butter, this is where it all got a bit squishy. I would have taken photos but my hands were covered in butter and dough and my boyfriend had made himself scarce. The Larousse recipe advises splitting the dough into 3 pieces and working a third of the dough into the softened butter at a time. I wasn't too sure how well this would work as I just seemed to be making a big buttery mess in my bowl. A good tip to ensure your butter is really soft before you start. Take it out of the fridge a few hours before you need it and cut into small pieces so it warms up faster. Eventually though I could feel that a dough was starting to form, it wasn't really possible to knead the dough at this stage. Instead I was just squishing the dough into the butter and trying to create a homogeneous substance.



After the first prove the dough actually looked and felt like dough and after tipping out onto a lightly floured worktop it was a lot easier to work with. As it was getting a bit late in the day I skipped the resting phase and just baked after the second prove. I made the classic brioche shaped loaf by shaping all of the dough except for about 50g into a large ball and placing into a brioche mould. With the remaining piece I shaped it into a fat pear and poked a hole in the large piece and put the pointed end of the small piece inside it. The dough was then left to rise again for about 90 minutes. Just before baking I cut some incisions into the sides of the dough and brushed all over with beaten egg. As I used a silicone mould I removed the brioche from the mould when it was baked and placed it back on a baking tray in the oven just to give the sides a little bit of colour.

Shaped dough waiting to rise

Dough ready for the oven


Though this took most of the day to make it was most definitely worth it as I had heavenly, rich, buttery brioche drizzled with a litte honey for breakfast this morning. The texture was light, which is what I was hoping for and I am definitely planning on baking this again. However I think I should restrict myself to only baking brioche a few times a year otherwise I'll have to go shopping for new jeans!



This is my entry into Classic French and I'm also entering it into Made With Love Mondays and Tea Time Treats run by Karen (this month's host) and Kate where the theme is French patisserie. This is also being entered into Bake Your Own Bread and into Yeast Spotting.







9 comments:

  1. It looks like you've cracked it this time round as the texture looks lovely and soft and the colour is perfect.

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  2. You had me at brioche :D I'm a big fan of this bread and I'm really impressed you managed to make it without a stand mixer. I'd imagine it's quite tricky because of the heat from your hands with the finicky butter that just want to melt... Lovely results and I'm so glad you shared!

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    1. It really was very squishy to knead, good fun though!

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  3. This looks really good...I love the colour! I wouldn't say no to a slice or two :-) I've never seen a silicone brioche mould before!

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    1. I got mine with Baked & Delicious Magazine and I imagine they're probably available elsewhere online

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  4. Wow! This sounds like a very time consuming labour of love! Well done, it looks and sounds fantastic! I haven't the patience for that sort of thing (hence my cheats breadmaker entry!)

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  5. That looks gorgeous! BTW, sorry for my not very French entry for Classic French. I wasn't really engaging brain.....

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  6. Amazing brioche! Looks so delicious - golden and crusty on top, soft and sweet inside, impressive!! I dream of breakfasts like this!

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  7. A LOVELY brioche for Tea Time Treats thanks Jen and I will add my Hot Cross Buns in the style of Brioche later too! Karen xxx

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