Oh brioche, how I love thee! I love thine fine golden colour and amber crust. I love thine rich buttery flavour. I love thine soft, yielding fibrous texture. I love thee! I yearn to eat thee!
Pete’s been promising to make me brioche for ages. Why does Pete have to make it, you might ask, why can’t you make it yourself? Because Pete is definitely the master baker in this household and I’m happy to admit to being the weaker sex in the bread domain (I said bread!)
The trouble is, he doesn’t really like brioche himself (though he’s partial to a slice of it toasted, alongside a lump of fine, fried foie gras). But the challenge of the bake and, I like to think, the love for his Mrs, has seen him agree to giving brioche a go. Then again, he’s been promising me this brioche for the last few years!
I even picked up a bag of brioche flour in France last summer – though I didn’t really look at it much, I just spotted it and threw it into the trolley during a ginormous supermarket shop!
So when Pete finally set a date to make me breakfast brioche, I fished out that bag of flour. Looking at it’s ingredients we discovered that it’s regular flour with added milk powder.
I showed Pete the several brioche blog recipes I have bookmarked, pointing out the repeated reference to how much stirring and kneading the dough needs to develop the distinctive fibrous texture of this bread. He picked one from La Tartine Gourmande and got to work.
I “helped”, which mostly meant asking annoying questions and taking photographs!
La Tartine Gourmande's Most Simple Brioche
(Bea provides measurements in ounces and cups. I’ve converted them to metric).
- 250 g plain flour (we used that brioche flour, above)
- 75 g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- 1 tbsp dried baker's yeast
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 80 ml milk (warmed)
- 1 egg yolk for glaze
In a bowl, mix the flour with the yeast.
Make a hole in the middle and add the warm milk, mixing with the tip of your fingers.
Add the sugar and a pinch of salt, then add the soft butter, piece by piece, waiting each time that each piece is absorbed.
Then one by one, add the eggs, mixing well between each.
Work the dough until it is elastic and detaches from your fingers more easily (or from the bowl of the stand mixer).
Cover and let rest in a warm place, away from drafts, for two hours, until it doubles in size.
Work the dough again for 10 minutes and divde it in four balls. Place them in a greased rectangular mould and cover. Let rise for an hour again.
Preheat the oven to 200C (400F)
Brush the brioche with the egg yolk mixed with a dash of sugar.
Place in the oven to bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 175C (350F) and bake for about 20 to 30 minutes.
Remove, unmould and let cook on a rack.
To my delight, the finished brioche looked just like the one in Bea’s blog post photographs – like a proper brioche! I love a reliable recipe, so a big thank you to La Tartine Gourmande!
How was it?
Well, it was good – very good, in fact, for a first attempt.
But it wasn’t my dream brioche.
I want a sweeter version, and one which has a slightly denser texture with those long fibres which I associate with brioche. I shall keep bookmarking likely recipes and call on Pete to have another go.
It may be that I have finally found cause to get my hands on a shiny, pretty Kitchenaid, though Lord knows where it’d live!
If you have any recipes you think might give me the result I’m looking for, please share the link (or recipe) in the comments, below. Thanks!