That really wasn’t a dough….

It was really more like softened butter mostly held together in a flour structure. I mean technically it was dough and it certainly baked like dough (like it should), but holy gods, that was the butteriest dough I have ever worked with. And I bake a lot! Not pastry chef levels of a lot, but for a home baker? What the [expletive] was I making, you ask?

Brioche

And for those of you who, like me, have/had never heard of brioche before, the Wiki page.

Yes, this one has chocolate. Adam taste tested for me. I don’t think he minded:Adam

Why the [expletive] was I trying to make a pastry involving three different rises (one 4-12 hours long), involving an ingredient that I can’t eat, and enough butter to kill half the cardiologists at the AMA? Well… I’ve never tried brioche before, and Adam is doing a French themed Feastly in July – I claimed the dessert in order to participate (and have an excuse to try more dessert recipes) so brioche seemed appropriate. And I definitely want to try the recipe at least once before serving it to people who’ve paid for a dinner.

Honestly, I think the only reasons this one worked for me on the first go are threefold:
1) I may have mentioned I’ve baked a lot?
2) We own a marble pastry board. Yes, I know that is utterly ridiculous. We put it on our wedding registry figuring that we were just noting things we’d buy eventually. Because I like making lists and this way we could export it and save the idea. And then our family and friends bought out our registry. We were very confused. Highly gratified, don’t get me wrong. But also confused.
The relevant bit being that we own a marble pastry board. Which really did make working with a very buttery dough easier.
3) Adam’s aunt and uncle own a bakery. Which means Adam has watched his uncle transfer very buttery, wet dough from one surface (like a marble board) to another (like a wood cutting board you’re comfortable taking a knife to the dough on). The trick is to lay down one layer of plastic wrap on top of the dough and then roll the dough onto a rolling pin, like you’re rolling up a scroll. … That may not be the best analogy there, but it’s the one I’ve got, so we’re going with that. 🙂 The plastic wrap keeps the dough layers separated, the rolling pin lets you walk the dough to the new surface and then you just unroll. It’s a neat trick. And thankfully one I don’t need to execute very often.

I would not recommend these brioche to y’all. I mean, they’re tasty and interesting. But heck, see above on how I got it to work. And that’s before I’ve mentioned that I started on Tuesday night, left the dough in the refrigerator about 8-10 hours longer than is called for, and finished up on Wednesday night. I’ll probably use these guys for the Feastly, but then I’ll be able to start on a Saturday morning (and I’ll be using an sweetened egg wash on the brioche before putting them in the oven next time). Also, marble  pastry board. Plus I like crazy hard baking challenges. I just don’t, in good conscience, recommend that anyone else try it. Unless you’re a pastry chef – ’cause then you’re probably giggling that I think brioche are kinda tricky.

So, from the Joy of Cooking, 75th Anniversary edition, I present

Brioche au Chocolat

make ~20-30 pastries
Recipe Count – 11 left
Section Count – Dessert Binder:  5 more left, Subsection – Dessert breads: 2 more

  • 1/3 cup warm milk, 105°F-115°F – original called for whole milk and although I used 2%, I would really recommend sticking with that whole milk – it’ll give a richer dough and really, that’s what you should be going for
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (i.e. leave it out on the counter at the start of the recipe and it’ll be soft by the time you need it)
  • Your favorite type of chocolate (dark or semi-sweet recommended)
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten with 1-2 tbsp milk or water, optional (I did not use it this time but will in the future, so am including it here)
  1. Combine the milk and yeast in the bowl you will be mixing in the flour – preferably the bowl of a heavy duty stand mixer. Allow to stand until the yeast is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup flour, the eggs, sugar and salt; mix by hand or on low-speed, gradually stirring in the other 1 cup of flour. Mix until all ingredients are blended, about 5 minutes.
  2. Knead the dough: with a dough hook on low to medium speed for 7-10 minutes or by hand for about 15 minutes. Using a dough hook, the dough should clear the side of the bowl but may stick to the bottom. If kneading by hand, slap the dough down on your work surface, lift half of it up with both hands (it’ll be sticky and part will remain stuck to the surface), and slap it down over itself. Dough is kneaded when it is smooth, elastic, and no longer sticky.
  3. Vigorously knead the butter into the dough until completely incorporated and the dough is again smooth. Transfer dough to a buttered large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set in a warm place (75°F – 85°F ideally) to rise until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Punch the dough down and knead briefly. Refrigerate, covered, for 4-12 hours, until doubled. Do not leave in too long to rise or the dough will taste yeasty.
  5. Punch down the dough and roll out into an 18″x15″ inch rectangle. Cut into 3″ squares and place a generous sliver of chocolate on each square. Fold the dough over the chocolate and, if desired, brush with the egg yolk mixture. Place dough packets on an un-greased baking sheet. Cover with oiled plastic wrap (I used the plastic wrap we used to transfer the dough) and allow to rise until doubled, about 40 minutes.
  6. 15-20 minutes into the rise, start preheating the oven to 400°F.
  7. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Serve when reasonably certain chocolate will no longer burn your mouth. 🙂Finished Brioche
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