Assorted brioches : the “non-muffin” alternative for breakfast
During all the years I’ve been teaching pastry in China to a community of French expats, I think Brioche was one of the most demanded subject. For various reasons : first, this is very good and versatile but mainly related to comfort for Breakfast (so good dunked in coffee), but also because it may be technically challenging and that, unlike a muffin which is a breakfast staple for the Americans, it may be challenging to make at home. I remember my first trials : they have all been terrible. You do need a mixer. Do not even think of trying that by hand! It is such a pain! I wonder how the creators of brioche dough did it…they had not mixers, but they had obviously much bigger arms than mine. Anyways, this is a must.
On this class I show how simple it is to make single bites, all stuffed differently. But you may make a loaf and cut toasts out of it, even the famous “brioche based” French toast (which, needless to say, we don’t make in France).
This is not a fat free, gluten free bread. But at least, when making it yourself you have the control of what is in there! Use organic, unbleached bread flour (forget about gluten free here), organic European butter for flavor (Adèle could recognize the brioche smell just out of the raw dough), organic eggs, coconut sugar, 70% bitter chocolate broken into chunks, dried fruits and nuts. With quality ingredients, you have all reasons to feel proud : proud of producing a very good product that won’t add toxicity to your body.
Here is an all purpose brioche dough : not too rich so it is easy to enrich with chocolate and nuts, but rich enough to be offered as is, such as the braid I made (see the picture above) and sliced when needed.
The dough :
4 cups bread flour
2 tsp salt
3 tbs sugar
2.5 tsp instant yeast
¼ cup water
2 sticks of soft butter
1 egg for egg wash
Garnish : 1 egg, cinnamon, butter, sugar, chocolate chips, pearl sugar
Make a little “levain” with ½ cup of flour, the yeast and enough water to make a little dough with it and make sure your yeast is active
Cover that little dough and let it ferment about 15 mn at room temperature.
Place the balance of the flour in a mixing bowl with the salt, sugar and eggs. Stir it with the hook attachment. Then add the little fermented dough. Mix well and add the butter, little by little, on low speed. Then, the dough needs to spend the night in the fridge, covered.
Once it is nice and cold, it can be worked.
Our of the fridge, roll a piece of dough, sprinkle it with your choice of garnish, roll it back and slice it. Let it proof about 30 mn, then egg wash it and bake in a 375 degree oven. I like to splash the walls of the oven with a little water to create steam in it. It helps create a nice crust and color. This is the simplest way to do it. You may always improve your shaping…but really, these little things are always very attractive.
For the large brioche, it takes about 30 mn to bake it. Check it with the point of a knife. I like to glaze mine with powdered sugar and water.