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Brioche

I am very much a ‘when in Rome’ type of person, and so is a very close friend of mine, Kelly. Kelly lived in Paris for a year and adopted the lifestyle very easily…..including the traditions of a sweet breakfast from the Boulangerie, where she bought brioche every couple of days so she could make toast in her apartment which she then topped with Nutella. Coming home to Sydney, Kelly was starting to have withdrawal symptoms as she claims she could not find anywhere that made good Brioche to satisfy her breakfast needs, so I did two things for her:
1) Gave her a list of good bakeries which do make exceptional brioche including Iggy’s in Bronte and Bourke St Bakery in Surry Hills, both of which are not too far away from her home in Coogee;
2) BUT I also accepted the challenge to recreate this bread and see if it meets her expectations or if it at all lives up to the standards she enjoyed in Paris.

But how does one find the perfect recipe? Where does one look? I figured first thing is first, if I was going to find a recipe, it would have to come from a born and bread French(wo)man. I knew that many of the top blogs are French based, and so I read read read, finally narrowing my search down to two types of recipes. The first which some might argue is the ‘proper’ was to make brioche required starting the day ahead and making your own started and letting it ferment overnight. Although I do like making things completely from scratch, I have tried this once before and my house is always so cold, it never works, so I decided the second style would have to do, even though I would use dried packet yeast. The recipe is from a blog called “Tartlette“.

That was the first thing I did, made my yeast mixture with milk (which the original recipe has) however, I started it three different times and none of them fermented. I first warmed the milk in the microwave, WHICH YOU SHOULD NOT DO, as the microwave kills some of the amino acids which are required for the fermentation. So I then tried to warm the milk in a pot and then add the yeast. FAIL. It still did not work. I was so upset, and by this stage I had already mixed all the other ingredients and was just waiting for the final bit, the yeast. I then ditched the milk and used lukewarm water and a little sugar, and presto, within 5 minutes I could already see the frothing start. To compensate no milk, I added more butter to my recipe than originally stated, and once the yeast was ready I added it in a thin stream, mixed, and let the dough rise and rise and rise.

first rise

second rise

egg wash

When making any bread, you must be patient at this point and I find even allow more time than stated to let the dough rise. After it was chilled, kneaded and then left to rise again it was into the oven for 25 minutes and out it came with a gorgeous golden brown crust, but was so soft and fluffy on the inside it was the type of thing which you could eat and eat and eat without realizing how much you are consuming as it is just so light.

The test now was to recreate this for Kelly for the final tick of approval, but at least I am confident now that mine has a chance to please her high standards.

Yes! She loved it….although I did not make my own nutella, she did thoroughly enjoy it! As for me, I decided smearing a few slices in melted dark chocolate would do fine!

Brioche

1⁄3 cup lukewarm milk (not too hot so that it kills the yeast!)
1⁄4 cup sugar + 1 tbsp
2 1/2 tbsp dry yeast
splash of orange blossom water
5 eggs, at room temperature
4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
225g unsalted butter

1. To get the starter going mix the milk, 1 tbsp sugar and the yeast in a bowl. Leave it in a warm place for 15 minutes so it rises and bubbles.

2. Whisk in the rest of the sugar, 4 eggs and the orange blossom water until well combined.

3. Transfer to a kitchen aid and using the paddle handle on a low speed add the flour and salt and butter. Mix until just combined then increase the speed until well combined and a clean dough that comes off the handle forms.

4. Transfer to a buttered bowl and place in a warm area. Let the rise for one hour or until it doubles in size.

5. Knock the dough back, cover and let rise for 1 1/2 hours.

6. Now form your loaves (this recipe will yield 2) and place on baking trays. Again let them rise for 1 hour. (They will need to be on seperate trays as they will rise a lot and combine)

7.Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Beat the last egg to make an egg wash and brush over the loaves. Bake until golden brown, approx 25 mins.

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