Monday, March 15, 2010

Brioche Variation

The purest in me would like to believe that there is one brioche; one ratio of flour, eggs, butter, milk, etc. that when properly manipulated creates, "The", one and only brioche.  However, realistically, there are at least a few different recipes for doughs that can all be called brioche.  I decided to create my own variation with some inspiration from Michel Richard. He adds a small amount of apple juice to his version. I add a lot of peach nectar and do not use any milk.
Here is my recipe:
450g bread flour
3g yeast
4g salt
40g honey
116g whole eggs
18g egg yolks
80g peach nectar
114g butter

Place the yeast, salt and flour into a bowl. In a pot, warm the whole eggs, yolks, peach nectar, and honey while whisking, bring it just above body temperature. Heat the butter separately (I microwaved it) until is just starts to melt. You do not need anything to be hot, you just want the butter and egg mixture barely warm. Off of the heat, whisk the butter into the egg mixture, pouring at a constant, slow, stream.
Once this mixture is emulsified add it to the flour, yeast, and salt, all at once. Mix with a spoon until it starts to come together and then knead with your hands until the dough is completely even. The dough will be a little sticky, but, for 1 minute, really work the dough, mash it, twist it, and turn it (that is what kneading means to me).

Form the dough into a ball and place it into the bowl you were using and tightly cover it with plastic wrap. Let this sit out for about 2 hours, depending on how hot everything is will greatly vary the rising time. You want the dough to double in size. After the dough doubles, push out all of the air and reform it into a ball. Place back into the bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 hours, longer is fine, up to two days. Keeping it longer will start to alter the bread in a number of ways(oxidation, added fermentation), but you can still use it, it just wont be the same. After resting in the fridge, place the dough into a baking pan and shape it so that it fills the pan evenly. Cover and let sit at room temperature for about 5 hours, you want the dough to double in size. Once this happens bake at 350F for 42 minutes, or until the top is a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven and the baking pan immediately, placing the loaf on a rack to cool.

This enriched bread has a creamy soft interior that is perfect for French toast.
Plate it up!

Caramel lacquered "brioche" French toast with red plum-vanilla compote and red miso ice cream.

I am not sure if emulsifying the butter into the eggs first actually does anything other than make more work. Most recipes I read add whole butter to the dough a little at a time to achieve a uniform emulsified dough. I don't have, or really want, a standing mixer, so I make everything by hand. Working the butter into the dough this way was difficult and I wanted to see if there was a better way. I will try a few more variations of enriched bread doughs to see what the results are and do a side by side tasting.

Some additional photos and captions are provided to better show the process of making this bread here.



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