Bursting with butter, Brioche
Brioche is a very rich, yet beautifully light and fluffy French bread / pastry.
It’s high butter and egg content gives the brioche a rich and tender crumb.
I adapted Paul Hollywood’s Brioche recipe which has no less than, 250g butter and 5 eggs to 500g bread flour plus full fat milk to bring the dough together. I added the zest of two lemons and the seeds of a vanilla pod, hoping to bring some extra flavour to this ultra buttery brioche but my changes had little effect, especially when eating the brioche warm. Maybe if you have a better palate than mine, you will be able to pick out the freshness of lemon zest and sweet vanilla but who am I kidding? All I get is butter, butter, butteriness all the way.
Brioche is renowned for it’s dark, golden and flaky crust which is sometimes accentuated by applying an egg wash (not in this recipe) before baking. The reason why the brioche colours so quickly? again it’s due to the large amount of fat and sugar in the bread. Usually the dark golden crust is an indicator that bread is fully baked, not with brioche. You have to be patient and let the bread bake for the full 30 minutes at least.
This is one of those recipes where you really do need to use a stand mixer, as the dough is very soft and sticky especially after adding the butter. For this reason we chill the dough in the fridge overnight so it’s easier (but not easy – warms hands melt butter) to handle.
Paul’s recipe said to arrange the rolls in a 25 cm round cake pan but I used a 24cm pie dish which meant I could fit all but two of the rolls. The other two went into a 20cm cake pan to prove. If you have smaller than 25cm round cake pans (preferably with loose bases) I would suggest dividing your rolls between them so that the brioche rolls support each other whilst rising/baking in the oven, instead of spreading which to an extent my rogue two did.
Did I mention this bread smells fantastic?! both when baking and after when the rolls have been stored. The husband comes home, you open the tin and he says “those smell nice” trust me that means they really smell nice!
I don’t know about you other married women out there, but I have, do and will bombard my husband with “do you like it?”, “no, but do you really like it?” all whilst he’s still eating the new dish I’ve put in front of him. On second thoughts, I really do need to stop doing that.
My kids really enjoy these rolls too, although when my boy asked me later to split, toast and cover one in baked beans, It got me worried. His palette couldn’t even tell these are sweet rolls *sad face*. Ok, so they aren’t overly sweet but sweet enough for breakfast / dessert, maybe serve with some jam and yet more butter.
a very rich, yet beautifully light and fluffy French bread / pastry
- 500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 7g salt
- 50g golden caster sugar
- 10g instant yeast
- 2 lemons, zest only
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds only
- 140ml warm full-fat milk
- 5 medium eggs
- 250g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- Put the flour into the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the salt and sugar to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the lemon zest, vanilla bean, milk and eggs and mix on a slow speed for 2 minutes, then on a medium speed for a further 6 – 8 minutes, until you have a soft, glossy, elastic dough. Add the softened butter and continue to mix for a further 4 – 5 minutes, scraping down the bowl periodically to ensure that the butter is thoroughly incorporated. The dough will be very soft.
- Tip the dough into a plastic bowl, cover and chill overnight or for at least 7 hours (I chilled for almost 14!), until it is firmed up and you are able to shape it.
- Ideally grease a 25cm round deep cake tin fitted with a loose base or two smaller round deep cake tins.
- Take your brioche dough from the fridge. Tip it onto a lightly floured surface and fold it on itself a few times to knock out the air. Divide it into 9 equal pieces, use weighing scales with help get equal portions. Shape each piece into a smooth ball by placing it into a cage formed by your hand and the table and moving your hand around in a circular motion, rotating the ball rapidly. Put the 8 balls of dough around the outside of the tin and the final one in the middle.
- 5. Cover with the clean plastic bag and leave to prove for 2 – 3 hours, or until the dough has risen to just above the rim of the tin.
- Position rack just below middle and heat your oven to 190°C / 375°F / Gas Mark 5.
- When your brioche is proved,bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Bear in mind that the sugar and butter in the dough will make it take on colour before it is actually fully baked. Remove the brioche from the tin(s) and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.