Up until this month I had never eaten brioche before, and yet I decided it would be the first type of bread that I would make at home. I had heard of brioche, and it was described as some magically rich and delicious hybrid of its bread and cake siblings. Naturally, I was curious and sought to satisfy my carb cravings with something new.
The steps for brioche are not difficult, so it's quite suitable for beginners like myself. However, you do need to plan ahead as there are many components to pay attention to, such as the temperature and consistency of your ingredients. Brioche also requires plenty of time and patience. I'm fortunate enough to have made other desserts that require lots of chill time so I'm kind of used to it. (I'm looking at you, madeleines and ice cream!)
The end result is worth the wait, though. When it's fresh out of the oven, you are rewarded with a crust that is crispy and flaky, and a soft, spongey crumb that is light yet buttery at the same time. The best part is that it really is like eating cake for breakfast. I prefer eating slices on their own, or with a thin layer of apricot jam. (Don't add butter to your sliced brioche -- it's already rich enough!)
My brioche stayed soft for about three to four days wrapped tightly. If you have stale brioche around, I've heard that it makes phenomenal french toast.
How to make brioche nanterre
You can shape the dough using a variety of methods, but I chose brioche nanterre, which involves shaping the dough into balls and fitting them into loaf pans. Using the recipe linked above, I was able to make:
- Two 9 x 5 inch loaves, or
- One 9 x 5 inch loaf and two mini (5.5 x 3 inch) loaves
To make brioche nanterre, follow these steps after the overnight chill step in the above recipe. You'll need a kitchen scale to divide the dough evenly, or you can simply eyeball it.
1) Butter the loaf pans.
2) Remove the dough from the fridge and place it on a lightly floured surface or parchment paper.
2) For a 9 x 5 loaf pan, form eight balls of dough. Each ball should be 50 grams. Line them up in the loaf pan, in rows of two. It's alright if the dough balls are loose in the pan.
For a mini loaf pan, form six balls of dough. Each ball should be about 25-30 grams. Line them up in the loaf pan, in rows of two.
Repeat this step for all of your loaf pans. I used this technique to form the dough balls.
3) Move the loaf pans to a warm, draft-free area and place a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap over them. Let the dough rise until the balls have risen over the top edge of the pan, just about half an inch. This should take about 60-90min depending on the temperature.
4) Preheat your oven to 400F (204C). Ensure your oven rack is in the center position.
5) Make the egg wash by beating an egg with one teaspoon of water. Brush the tops of the loaves with the egg wash. Do this delicately and neatly, making sure that the egg wash does not seep into the edges between the dough and the loaf pan.
6) Bake the loaves for about 30-40 minutes. The tops should be a warm, deep brown but if they're browning too quickly, cover them loosely with a sheet of tinfoil.
7) Remove the loaves from the oven once baking is complete. Let them sit for about 10 minutes and then carefully remove from the pan. Let them cool on a wire rack for a bit, and then enjoy!
This post has been submitted to YeastSpotting.