I’ve not made brioche for years, so when asked by French company Brioche Pasquier to come and bake and get busy with some dough, my answer was a resounding “Oui!“.
The location was the Faircake sugarcraft school situated just East of Greenwich, with a view of the Thames, Dome, and towers of Canary Wharf. Getting there was made a tad more exerting then it need be due to a) some joker having turned a street sign through 180 degrees, b) a left rather than a right in the directions c) it being too cold to get out phones out and look at a map, and, d) fellow bloggers deciding to follow the directions and walk up an enormous steep hill, ignoring my observation that the address contained the word “wharf” which implied next to the river, and that rivers were not usually found at the top of huge steep hills (I am looking at you Michelle and Katie). We found it in the end; moral of the story is to buy a pair of those gloves which let you use your touch screen smart phone whilst wearing them.
A brioche is made from an enriched (containing sugar, eggs and butter) yeasted dough. Like other yeasted doughs you need to mix and knead it, and allow to rise. Unlike bread, which you let rise, knock back, shape and give a second rise to, you shape a brioche after mixing, allow to rise and bake straight away.
When making brioche – whichever recipe you use some tips are
- Use a strong flour, at least 10% protein, if you use a very strong flour you can add more butter and eggs.
- Add your dry ingredients to the mixing bowl – making sure that the salt and yeast are not touching.
- Add all the ingredients apart from half the sugar at the start – any more stops the gluten developing properly
- Mix in a stand mixer – slowly for a few minutes. Then increase the speed.
- When it comes together you can add the rest of the sugar and knead for a further 4 to 5 minutes.
- If it tears too easily carry on kneading – mine had a good 15 minutes at medium speed.
- Turn the dough onto the work surface and give one last knead with the heel of your hand – add additional flavourings at this point.
- Divide into smaller balls and roll under a cupped hand to shape and smooth.
- Arrange on a baking sheet
- Brush with water, cover and place in a warm place and allow to rise.
- When risen brush with an egg wash and add sugar crystals if wanted and bake.
- Allow to cool and pack into bags.
- For a speedier rise use more yeast. We used dried with 40g yeast for 500g flour. (Interestingly Brioche Pasquier use a sour dough method which I all looking forward to trying.)
Some ideas for flavouring your brioche
- Chocolate chips
- Orange blossom water
- Orange zest, spices, cranberry – perfect for Christmas
- Other dried fruit
Frozen brioches can be wrapped in foil and gently reheated in the oven, sliced and toasted from frozen. Try leftover brioche as a twist on a summer pudding or in bread and butter pudding.
Fuss Free Flavours was the guest of Brioche Pasquier. I received a goodie bag and my travel expenses were refunded. Many thanks for an enjoyable day.