Brioche is the king of the carb world. A classic French dough with the usual ingredients found in bread are enhanced with butter and eggs. Humble butter & eggs elevate this bread onto a whole new level.
Brioche is best eaten by itself because of its rich characteristic that one can make a dessert brioche by adding chocolate pellets, nuts or macerated fruit. It’s lovely as a sandwich bread, toasted with lemon curd and blueberries but my favourite is pain perdu made with leftover brioche and drizzled with Nutella & seasalt. This is a failsafe recipe I adapted from what I learnt at Le Cordon Bleu.
Fun Fact: Brioche a tête is the most popular way of making brioche. It was inspired by Marie Antoinette, the French queen at the time of the French Revolution. She is known for her lack of sympathy for her populace that was living in penury while she was the epitome of decadence.“If there’s no bread, let them have cake” made the boulangers then create this rich decadent bread which has an odd protrusion on top, signifying her tête (head) which you pull out first from the bun to eat and that’s a pretty mean joke on her death by guillotine. The French make their political statements too through their food// The French are so food obsessed that their political statements are also made through food!
500g plain flour
360g unsalted butter, melted
80ml warm milk
25g caster sugar
15g fresh yeast ( I get mine from Steakhouse at jorbagh)
Chocolate pellets, candied orange & walnuts are optional
Put the yeast in warm milk and set aside.
In a stand mixer with a dough hook ( I use a KitchenAid artisan), put the flour, salt and eggs; add the yeasty milk and combine on a slow speed.
Add the sugar to the softened butter and now shifting the machine to a medium speed slowly, add the butter-sugar in about 9-10 inclusions.
Once all the butter is added, beat till the dough is shiny, smooth and elastic. The elasticity means the gluten has developed.
Remove the hook, shape the dough into a ball, scrape the sides, cover with a cling film and leave to prove at 25’C for about 2 hours or until double in size.
Once the dough has proved, pull it out of the bowl and flatten it and reshape into a ball. Place the dough in the refrigerator for the butter to set for an hour.
Add the desired combination of chocolate and nuts but it’s optional.
Shape the dough by either portioning into small balls in a loaf pan, or even a bundt pan and rest for 20 minutes.
Lightly brush the shaped dough with egg wash and bake it at 180’ for 30-40 minutes for a large loaf or 15 minutes for smaller buns.