Carbs are an essential part of my life as a breakfast lover. These can include potatoes and grits but mostly consists of pancakes, biscuits, toasts of all sorts, shapes and colors, muffins English and American, scones and almost infinitely more breads. I really wanted to stretch myself for the upcoming weekend and impending brunch and make my own brioche….or something close to it.
As many of you may already know, I work for a coffee roaster in Oak Cliff, Dallas. Inside our cafe we have a kitchen where everything is made in-house from scratch, including brioche rolls. I’ve made them from time to time when covering for our baker when she takes leave, utilizing quality ingredients, commercial sized appliances and a great convection oven. I thought, sure, this will be easy, I’ve done this before. Yeah, about that. What can I say, I got scared!
While making the dough the night before, to allow for an overnight proof, using what I thought was the same recipe, I had to troubleshoot on the fly. It’s really hard to troubleshoot after working all day, without even a lunch break with almost an hour drive home after. At this point my motivation level was at about a 1.5 on a scale to 10. Not even Pharell’s “Happy” could pep me up – I know, I tried! But me being me and being just a little bit stubborn I pressed on.
I had an idea of what the dough was supposed to look like at it’s different stages, although it had been a while since I’ve made it. I was adding the butter after the first rest period had passed and about halfway through my butter required I noticed that it was getting a little bit too shaggy. I made an impulsive executive decision to stop adding butter! Brioche usually has a 2:1 ratio of flour to butter. I was sitting at a 4:1 ratio. That being said, I continued on with the proofing as normal and baked off my loaf and rolls and made….bread. Success!
Now, I’m not sure this is classified as brioche. It’s not as delicate and fragile as any brioche you’ve probably had but it was still sweet, rich and honestly pretty good. It is a bit sturdier, which made for excellent french toast and sweet rolls!
Makes 1 loaf and 6 rolls, or 2 loaves, or 12 rolls.
What You’ll Need
1/2 cup whole milk
0.5 ounces instant yeast (2 packets)
4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
0.5 ounces salt
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, slightly softened (8 ounces for real brioche)
Add the eggs to the milk and set aside. Do not mix.
In a large stand mixer add your flour, sugar, salt and instant yeast. Blend until combined.
With the mixer on low, using the dough hook, slowly pour in the eggs in the milk, one at a time until completely combined. Keep beating the dough until it just starts to pull away from the edges of the bowl in a uniform ball. Let rest for 30 minutes. Remove the butter from the fridge and allow to soften slightly during the 30 minute rest period.
After the 30 minutes has passed turn the mixer on low again and very slowly add the butter into the dough, about 1/2 tablespoon at a time. This will take several minutes, so be patient. The dough will be very shaggy and loose, do not be alarmed.
Once all of the butter is fully incorporated turn the mixer up one notch and let it work the dough for 3-5 minutes. This develops the gluten that you’ll need for your dough. Once the shaggy dough starts pulling uniformly away from the edges of the bowl again and begins to be uniformly smooth, stop beating.
In a large mixing bowl, add about 1 tablespoon of neutral oil such as canola. Scrape out the dough into the bowl. Tighten the dough into a large ball by reaching underneath, grabbing and pulling it up and over itself. Repeat a few times until a tight ball is reached. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place until tripled in size, about 3 hours.
After the dough has tripled prepare your loaf (or loaves) and rolls. Using a scale measure out 12 pieces of dough that are 4 ounces each. Using your counter and your hand roll each piece into a tight ball. Butter your loaf pan and drop 6 of the balls into it in a staggered pattern. This will give the allusion of a braided bread once baked.
Wrap up your loaf pan and refrigerate overnight. Repeat for a second loaf or keep rolls separate to bake on a sheet tray as large rolls. I left the second half of my dough in the fridge, unportioned, and made cardamom tahini sweet rolls with them.
In the morning, take the pans out of the fridge and let proof for about 1 1/2 hours or until the dough is peeking over the top rim of the loaf pan. Preheat your oven to 350F. Brush the tops of your loaves and rolls with a quick egg wash of 1 egg and 1 Tablespoon of whole milk. Bake your loaves for 35-40 minutes and rolls for 25-30.
Enjoy within 2-3 days. If using the next day, use for french toast or french toast casserole, egg-in-the-hole, avocado toast and so many more. I’ll show you all of the yum-yums you can make using brioche soon!