Five reasons why brioche rocks:
Need more convincing? Here’s five more reasons.
6: You can fill it with almost anything.
7: It justifies buying a stand mixer.
8: It can be sweet for dessert, or savoury for a snack.
9: It’s French for awesome. (I might’ve just made that up. Actually – I definitely made that up.)
10: It’s like bread, pastry and cake all mixed together.
Can you tell I have a high opinion of brioche? I love making it. Almost every time I go to a picnic, I end up baking mini brioches and sandwich different fillings inside. So far I’ve put in pork belly, pulled pork, chicken patties and beef/pork patties. (Don’t ask me to pick a favourite – they’re all good in their own way.)
The recipe I use for brioche is from the trusty Cook’s Companion. I tend to split the making into two days – the first day is for mixing the dough, a first rise, and the forming of individual buns. After a second rise in the fridge overnight, the second day is for baking and eating.
Making brioche really does justify the purchase of a stand mixer. I’m sure you can do it by hand but it would be quite a fair amount of effort. Even with the mixer, it takes about ten minutes of mixing/kneading before the butter can be added, and another ten-ish minutes after that to work all the butter in. Fortunately most of the time you can just leave the mixer to do it’s magic while you get on with other things – that is, if you own a decent mixer. I once owned a mixer that would “walk” when mixing dough. If you own a mixer that walks, don’t leave it alone! Mine walked itself right off the kitchen bench… (yes, it broke, so sad.) It wasn’t mixing brioche at the time, so at least I didn’t have to suffer the double disappointment of having a broken mixer as well as semi-mixed brioche dough. Because that would be pretty sad indeed.
- 250g plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon instant dried yeast
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 75g softened butter
- Warm the milk slightly and stir in the sugar, until it has dissolved. Set aside to cool for a bit.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together the flour, salt and yeast and fit the mixer with a dough hook.
- Combine the egg yolks and warm milk mixture.
- Make a well in the flour and pour in the liquid. Mix to a dough. With the mixer on low, work until the dough forms a smooth ball – it’ll take about 10 minutes.
- Keep the mixer going while you add the butter in two lots. The dough will gradually absorb all the butter and it will be shiny and smooth and come away cleanly from the side of the bowl. It could take a while – just keep it mixing.
- Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and place it in a warm, draught-free place for about two hours, or until it doubles in size.
- Knock back the dough, tip it onto a workbench and knead it briefly by hand. Shape it into a loaf or – if making individual loafs – divide it into twelve pieces. I like to weigh the dough, divide the weight by twelve, and then weigh each piece to make sure they’re the same (pedantic!). If making individual buns, place each bun into muffin trays to keep them separate. Sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds if desired – it makes them look more burger bun like.
- Allow to rise again, covered, for 1 hour. Alternatively, place the dough, covered, into the fridge to rise overnight.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180°C and bake for 30 minutes for a single loaf, or about 10-15 minutes for individual brioches. They will be well risen and golden. Tip out of the tin on to a baking tray and return to the oven for another 5 minutes to brown.
- Allow to cool before using.
From The Cook’s Companion