While watching Herbert Keller cooking show on PBS I went on line to find the show. Then as usual I went down the rabbit hole of recipes and became distracted. I ended up not finding what I was looking for, but I found his basic brioche recipe. I do not know much about him other than he was born in Alsace, France. His cooking reflects that. One of the things I have noticed about French chefs is that their recipes are smaller than American recipes. I love that because I like small recipes.
Because brioche is basically an eggy buttery bread I have held off making it. I might have told you before that when I see a recipe and it calls for two or three sticks of butter I usually move on. The thought of that much butter kind of flips my stomach and I get a little spooked. I just can’t do it. But with this basic brioche recipe, 6 tablespoons butter, 2 cups flour, I think I can.
Then I began to fret over what to bake them in. I could use my muffin pans or a loaf pan, but I really wanted that brioche look. Now don’t laugh, then I remembered while thrifting, in a moment of weakness, I bought these crazy, as seen on tv, tortilla pans. They were still in a sealed box. I imagined they were a gift and someone packed it up immediately and donated them to charity. Well my thought process was since they were new and so cheap I will give them a try and if I don’t use them, then back to the thrift shop for another impulse buyer to fall victim. They do work well to make tortilla bowls. A quick trip to the oven and you have a crispy bowl for your tortilla salad. But, I wanted these to be more than just for making a tortilla salad. I decided to put my brioche in these to see what happens.
The dough was such an easy mix. Most of the time I make my bread by hand. I heard a chef say it would help me get the feel of the dough and in truth that works for me. But, with brioche it is so much looser dough I went to the Kitchenaid with the dough hook. All went well until I added the butter. I immediately thought I had read the recipe wrong, or maybe it was a misprint. (I told you I am an anxious cook.) But, I hung in there. I thought I could always add more flour if I just had to, so I forged on. I turned a really loose dough out on the floured counter. Although it was pretty loose it came together with just a little bench flour. I hand-kneaded the dough a couple times, shaped it into a ball and placed a large bowl upside-down over it so it did not dry out and was not in a draft.
After about 40 minutes of proofing I peeked at it and it had doubled in size, which was the plan. I took a dough scraper and cut the dough into 4 pieces. For the tête I rolled the dough into a log. I took my hand like a karate chop position only gently and rolled my hand over the top third of the log. Then at the bottom third I pushed my thumb through the dough and brought the top (tête) through the hole. I gently placed it into the buttered pan, covered them with a clean towel and let them rise again for the second time.
Just before baking I took a whole egg with 2 tablespoons of water and beat it well so it is smooth. I gently brushed on the egg-wash to get that brioche color.
I baked mine for 25 minutes. I used my thermometer to test for doneness – 210°F. I removed the brioche from the pan as soon as possible so they would not be soggy on the bottom.
I am so pleased with this recipe. It has so much potential to build on. While I could use some practice on presentation I am no longer afraid of the loose dough and not feeling as foolish for buying these silly pans. I have not tried it yet, but I am going to mix the dough and leave it in the refrigerator overnight. I can pull it out the next morning, shape it, leave it for a second rise and bake it in the morning to see if I can improve this, but to tell you the truth, I doubt it. Look again at the crumb (texture). It is just delicious. Stay tuned.
This recipe made 4 brioche. One brioche this size would make a nice breakfast for two. May I suggest you give one or two of these to a friend for their breakfast.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup milk, lukewarm
- 1 tablespoon instant dry yeast
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 6 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 egg, lightly beaten with 2 tablespoons water - to brush brioche before baking
- In a stand-mixer with a dough-hook attachment, mix together flour, sugar and salt on low speed.
- In a small bowl, combine milk and yeast, set aside.
- Add eggs to flour mixture, and mix for 2 minutes.
- Pour milk and yeast into flour mixture. Raise mixer speed to medium and mix for 3-4 minutes, or until the dough forms a smooth ball.
- Add the butter to the dough. Lower the mixer speed to low, and let dough mix for 2-3 minutes or until it comes together and the sides of the bowl are clean. If the dough is too loose, add extra flour 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
- Remove the dough from the mixer and shape into a ball.
- Place in a bowl that has been lightly dusted with flour.
- Let the dough rise at room temperature or in a warm place for 20 to 45 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Punch the ball of dough after it has risen, and let it deflate.
- Remove the dough from the bowl, and shape into a log.
- Cut into 6 even pieces - I cut into 4 pieces.
- Shape each piece into a ball, and place desired baking dish.
- Let the dough rise at room temperature or in a warm spot for 30 minutes, or until it doubles in size a second time.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Very delicately brush the egg wash onto the top of each brioche roll.
- Bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Remove from pan and place on a cooling rack so they do not get soggy on the bottom.
I am taking these to