starting a brioche experience

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I used to be shy of working w/ yeast.

I had bad experiences w/ fresh yeast which wouldn’t like to work appropriately. I was always not amused about rising time for yeast dough of hours & hours – as it seemed. Then I started working w/ dry yeast & voilà: my yeast dough goes much better now. Concerning the rising time I found that there are a lot of different approaches – some cutting rising time down to acceptable periods.

So I decided to work w/ yeast – one of my ideas for my food blog in 2021.

What to do?
I’m very, very fond of brioche – the small ones as well as a brioche bread or braid. When looking into brioche making I found a lot of frustrating recipes. Some advice like using a classic stand mixer is inevitable – unfortunately I don’t have one on my kitchen counter. Or like having to knead the dough w/ your hands twice or even more for at least 15 min each time … Then there are rising times … (Obviously some bakers think that it’s possible to do all this i. e. some hours’ work just after the morning shower for breakfast!)

Finally I got an inspiration from the food blog Zimtkeks und Apfeltarte. So I started a brioche adventure. Of course I adjusted the amounts of the ingredients … mainly because my loaf tin is smaller than the one used in the original recipe.

W/o anticipating anything I may say that the result (above) was as expected & the preparation of the brioche dough was also successful (below).

What else?
Of course my better half & I continued binge watching TV series. Our last highlight is The Split, a British series starring Nicola Walker (think of her as in Last Tango in Halifax) & Barry Atsma (remember Bad Banks). It’s a comedy, but a scathing comedy w/ polished dialogues about modern relationships & separations, marriage as a business arrangement & all the fallout outpouring afterwards.

All the grown-up protagonists are lawyers, solicitors, barrister – whatever they are called – specialized in family law. So their daily business is divorce handling as well as establishing marriage settlements. Furthermore all of them will be entangled in their very personal mess of relationships, having affairs … separations.

There are 2 seasons so far – my better half & I are convinced that there will be season #3 soon.

Coming back now to the brioche!

We’ll need only:

  • flour
  • dry yeast
  • sugar
  • eggs
  • butter
  • milk.

All the dry ingredients will be mixed in a bowl large enough for the planned rising of the dough. Afterwards the rest of the ingredients end up in the flour mess.

Attention:
Eggs & butter shall be at room temperature; the milk shall be lukewarm.

Grab your handheld electric mixer & mix until there is a fine dough. Carefully form it into a ball.

Cover the bowl & put it into the oven. Start the oven for about 2-3 min at 75° C w/ fan. Then stop the oven & let the dough rise for about an hour.

For the record:
I always thought about where to place my yeast dough for rising. Finally I read about the oven solution which works fine for me. Don’t be afraid that it’ll be too hot – just limit the heating to 2-3 min.

About an hour later there is a fluffy dough – at least the double of the starting ball.

Now add some flour on top of a wooden board & transfer the dough onto the board. The dough is soft, but manageable. Form a roll & cut it into 4 pieces.

Knead each piece, flatten it w/ your hands & fold it back into a ball.

I had a loaf tin (25 cm) prepared w/ baking parchment. So I put all the pieces into the loaf tin.

For rising session #2 I put the loaf tin in the oven … 2-3 min at 75° C w/ fan … afterwards let it rise for about 30 min.

It worked really fine. The dough doubled – at least I think so.

After having retrieved the loaf tin I started preheating the oven: 160° C w/ fan.

I cracked an egg & brushed the dough w/ whisked egg. Finally I added some coarse sugar on top.

The loaf tin marched into the preheated oven for about 25 min … voilà!

I was really excited w/ my result: a perfect brioche bread!

The brioche was soft & fluffy & springy. It had a very nice color: slightly brown. It was not too sweet: perfect for butter and/or jam.

A last remark:
I used eggs. The whole of the egg. Later I read that you should only use the egg yolk … I think next time I try & compare.

Enjoy!

starting a brioche experience
Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time25 mins
Servings: 15 slices
ingredients:
  • 400 g all-purpose flour
  • 7 g dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 50 g fine sugar
  • 150 ml milk (lukewarm)
  • 60 g butter (room temperature)
  • 2 eggs (room temperature)
  • a pinch of salt
  • some flour (for kneading)
for the topping:
  • 1 egg
  • 3-4 tbsp coarse sugar
equipment:
  • handheld electric mixer
  • loaf tin (25 cm)
  • baking parchment
how to:
  • In a large bowl mix flour, dry yeast, sugar & salt.
  • Add milk, eggs & butter.
  • Mix w/ the dough hooks of the handheld electric mixer until it's well done.
  • Form a ball of the dough, cover the bowl w/ a tea towel (or whatever) & put it in the oven; heat the oven for about 2-3 min at about 75° C w/ fan.
  • Let the dough rise for about 1 h.
  • Distribute some flour on a board … Transfer the dough from the bowl onto the board. Knead the dough, form a loaf & cut it into 4 parts. Knead each part, flat it w/ your hands & fold it several times (6-8 times).
  • Line a tin loaf w/ baking parchment & arrange the dough.
  • Put the loaf tin in the oven; heat the oven for about 2-3 min at about 75° C w/ fan.
  • Let the dough rise for about 30 min.
  • Preheat the oven to 160° C w/ fan.
  • For the topping: whisk the egg & brush it all over the dough; add the coarse sugar.
  • Put the loaf tin in the preheated oven & let it bake for about 25 min. Make the famous test w/ a thin wooden pin … If necessary add another 5min.
  • Let the brioche bread cool down & start enjoying.
Notes
Prep time: For rising the dough you’ll need 90 min (session 1: 60 min, session 2: 30 min). Rising time is included.
It is important that the ingredients you normally store in the fridge (milk, eggs, butter) are at room temperature.

(information on equipment)

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