This past weekend I headed over to my brother and sister-in-law's house to make brioche. My sister-in-law, Linh, is an amazing baker. Well, she is an amazing everything, but I only have time to talk about her baking skills today. This is a recipe that originates from a restaurant in Boston called Radius, but Linh adapted it along the way, making it her own. She happily opened up her kitchen to us and let us tag along as she made some magic.
This is Linh. See? I told you she is amazing.
18 grams instant yeast
14 oz whole milk
2 oz honey
8 oz all-purpose flour
Rest of the dough:
1.5 oz salt
4 oz sugar
2# AP flour (or 1# AP and 1# cake--the resulting brioche will be more tender)
10 oz softened butter
A sponge is a yeasty batter that is the foundation for a lot of bread making and its most famous counterpart is sourdough. The longer you let the sponge rise, the deeper the flavor of your bread will be and the longer the shelf life. For this recipe, we let our sponge rise for an hour, but you could go much longer--even overnight--if you throw it in the fridge.
To make the sponge, bring milk to 100-110 degrees on the stove (once the surface begins to bubble it should be about the right temp). Combine warm milk with yeast, honey and flour. A side note: instant yeast is not the same as active dry yeast, but if that is all you have lying around, you can use it roughly 1:1. To nerd out on different types of yeast see here. It should like a little something like this after it has rested.
After the rise of the sponge, mix together the dry ingredients in a stand mixer bowl using a dough hook. If you do not have a stand mixer you can knead the dough like this...
Keep in mind that this is a very wet dough, so avoid over-flouring and succumb to the stickiness while you knead. Adding too much flour with make the dough tough which leads to overly dense bread.
Once the sponge and dry ingredients come together, add eggs one at time. Then add the room temperature butter one tablespoon at a time. Let the dough mix together on a low speed (2-4 setting on a Kitchenaid) for 7-8 minutes until it passes the window pane test.
The window pane test is when you see if it is possible to grab the dough and stretch it until it becomes semi-translucent without tearing. If it doesn't pass the test, it means that more kneading is necessary. This test shows that the gluten in the flour has developed enough. Once it has passed the test, pull it out, shape into a ball and oil. Toss the oiled ball back into mixing bowl and let it rise until it has doubled in size, about 2 hours.
While the bread was rising, we got a nice play break with my niece Maddie and her dad…
And maybe had a light snack…
After the rise, punch the dough down and lay onto a flat clean surface. Here you have some options. You can roll the dough into a log and put into a buttered loaf pan, or weigh into equal sized balls and place into buttered brioche or cupcake tins. Make sure to butter the tops. These are respectable options. Or, if you are feeling a little crazy, you can make jam pockets.
To make jam pockets, roll out the dough until it is about ½ inch thick and cut into equal size portions. Take a dollop of jam (you want this jam to be thick and not at all runny) and proceed to pinch the dough around the jam making a little pocket. You could also do this with fudge or peanut butter or hazelnut spread. On this fateful day we chose some homemade blackberry jam and it was delicious.
With the jam pockets, you could put them in cupcake or brioche tins, but we placed them in a row in a bread pan to make them together. This is the before…
And the after...
This recipe makes two loaves or about 24 cupcake sized brioche buns. For the loaves, bake at 325 degrees for about 35 minutes or until the interior is 180 degrees.
For the cupcake sized brioche buns, bake at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes or until the interior is 180 degrees.
And because I just can't help myself...