Sunday, March 6, 2011

Qu'ils mangent de la brioche

I recently returned home from a visit to my parents house. Of course, I wanted to bring some bread along. I wanted to bring something really special, so I made up a batch of brioche dough. 

This was my first try at brioche dough. It's more involved then the typical bread dough. It has eggs and butter. Lots of eggs and butter. Normally when I mix up dough, I have a helper. This time was no exception!

Mix master Jack.

He helped me count out the cups of flour and mixed the dough as I added more. When we were finished, we had a very soupy dough that looked like this.

Brioche soup. 

The recipe said the dough would be very soft, so I set it aside to rise. It rose and seemed to be a bit less soupy. I chilled it for 2 hours, then went to shape a loaf. I couldn't get it to form a ball. It was dripping between my fingers like slime. I plopped it in to the brioche pan and consulted my cook book. The recipe mentioned how easy brioche dough was to work with once it was chilled. I started to think something had gone wrong. 

 This is supposed to be in a ball-ish shape.

Clearly there was not enough flour in the dough. I began adding flour a bit at a time, then a lot at a time. I think I added about a cup and a quarter more flour, and then I had a somewhat normal dough. I think two things happened. Firstly, I think my "helper" who was counting out the cups as I measured the flour, missed a cup. Secondly, I always bake with bread flour, which normally means that you decrease the amount of flour a recipe calls for by about 1/4 cup per 6 cups. I did this with the brioche dough, but there is so much liquid in the brioche dough, it negates the need to decrease the amount of flour when using bread flour.

I incorporated so much flour that I had worked most of the air out of the risen dough, so I set it aside and let it rise for two more hours. It rose back up and was much easier to work with when it contained the proper amount of flour!

Pre-proofing. Much less sloppy!

Post-proofing, this dough loves to rise!

It baked up beautifully. Great oven spring, gorgeous crumb. The egg wash I put on right before baking gave it a gorgeous shine. The flavor and texture is somewhat croissant-like. It's amazing with butter and jam.


Brioche crumb.

I made enough dough to make a loaf of brioche bread, as well as three more delicious pastries using brioche dough. You'll have to check back tomorrow to see what else I made!


  1. That looks great. I *hate* it when my sous chef isn't quite up to par. ;) I'm glad you figured it out!

  2. Yummy! A loaf of brioche once saved my life, so I am very partial to it.

  3. I love that pan- where'd you find it?

  4. Hani- that sounds like a story I'd love to hear if you ever feel like sharing!

    Laura- It's a brioche pan. This one was from William Sonoma.