April 7, 2012

Not Very French Brioche

There is a local chain of restaurants whose bakery provides rich, buttery rolls while you wait for your entree. I was unable to locate any recipes for these little death balls, but did run across others who were also looking. My research took a turn and led me to brioche. Since bread baking is new to me, I looked at several different recipes and blog posts, finally deciding to create my own.

Once it came time to reap the rewards of patiently waiting hours for the dough to proof and proof some more, I split the dough into thirds to prepare in various methods, none of them traditional. Let’s not forget, also to proof one last time before baking and filling the house with warm scents. The first third was rolled out with a rolling pin and then sliced into cubes. I lined the muffin pan with baking cups, then added 5 cubes of dough into each. The next third was divided into even amounts and rolled into balls and placed in a sprayed muffin pan. The remaining third was evenly portioned and deep fried in the shape of flattened, small rolls.

The baked dough in both ways came out with a tender inside that you could really sink your teeth into. They were mildly sweet, some made more so after being brushed with melted butter and topped with sugar or cinnamon-sugar. The cubed rolls were definitely whimsical treats to eat, being able to peel a section of dough off and pop it in my mouth. The deep fried were also hearty little rolls with the fried crust giving it an extra something, just not something that I was keen on.

The taste of brioche reminds me of something that I can’t quite put my finger on. There is a strong sense that a buried memory is associated with this flavor. Guess I’ll just have to make some more to see if it will aid in bringing the memory to light! I also have a fab pear bread pudding that the brioche would make a tasty base for.

1/3 C milk, warmed to 110º F
1-1/4 t active dry yeast
1/3 C sugar
3-1/2 C all-purpose flour, divided
1 t salt
1 C unsalted butter, cubed, room temperature
4 eggs

The above recipe will make 12-16 rolls, depending on size.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add milk, yeast, sugar and 1/2 C flour, mix until just combined. Gently place remaining flour, then salt on top of mixture. Let stand for 45 minutes.

Lightly spray or oil a medium size bowl and set aside. Using the dough hook on low speed, mix all ingredients inside the bowl until combined. Add the eggs and continue to mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth, about 5 minutes.

Add the cubed butter and mix on medium speed for 10 minutes. Once the dough has pulled together into a shiny ball, place in prepared bowl. Cover with plastic film and set in a warm area until the dough has doubled in size, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Punch the dough down to work out any air bubbles, re-cover and store in the fridge for a minimum of 6 hours, but best if left overnight.

Heat oven to 350ºF. Prepare pans with liners or spray if necessary. Portion dough evenly and shape as desired. Place in prepared pans and let rest in a warm place for 1 hour. Bake for 18-21 minutes, until the tops are a golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately turn brioche out onto wire racks for cooling. If topping, do so now. Best enjoyed still warm from the oven!

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