It was the beginning of a slight obsession.
After knowingly eating buttery Brioche for the first time a few weeks ago, I promptly purchased 8 Brioche rolls for 4$ at the Central Market bakery. Yikes! At that price, I wanted to learn how to make them myself.
Disclaimer: I am not French nor do I know much about authentic French Brioche. I have been to Paris but my memories are overshadowed by having my airplane ticket stolen while riding the subway back to the airport! Maybe I should call these Texas-style Brioche because they are at least as good as what I can buy at Central Market in Ft. Worth.
I experimented with several recipes using both the bread machine and a stand mixer (i.e. Kitchen Aid mixer).
I mixed and baked and baked and ate. My family consumed my experiments for Thanksgiving, co-workers ate them for snacks, the husband dutifully tasted and opinionized and of course, I carefully analyzed each variation myself–slathering them with Nutella, cherry butter, no butter and creamed tarragon shrimp one day when I was feeling fancy.
And yes, Jenny, I threw a few stale ones in the trash because I have no room in my freezer for more bread. “Better in the waste than on the waist” I often say.
In the end, my favorite dough came out of a stand mixer. The bread machine works too but IMHO, the texture is slightly better out of the mixer.
In case you’re wondering, making it by hand is out of the question for me. If you are so inclined, you’re probably reading the wrong blog.
These would be perfect for Christmas or Sunday dinner because you can make the dough ahead of time. The rising period is also rather long so you have time to focus on other last minute details.
To my friend Daphne (a co-worker who raves about these rolls): Here’s the recipe as promised. I hope they turn out great for you.
Paula’s Recipe Notes:
- This recipe couldn’t be simpler–dump all ingredients in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer and beat 15 minutes or until dough magically turns in to a shiny, elastic ball. Recipes with instructions to add the ingredients in stages, particularly the butter, didn’t turn out any better for me than mixing everything at once.
- Using part bread flour improves the texture without compromising tenderness. If you don’t have bread flour, substitute all-purpose unbleached flour.
- No more lopsided “hats” with my method of forming Brioche. Nearly all recipes I read call for the small balls or topknots to be placed on top of the larger rolls before the final rise. This DID NOT WORK for me. They would not stay in place no matter how big a hole I punched, or how firmly I pressed the ball into the center. Some methods resulted in a roll with the appearance of a big pimple on top. I wanted a cute little hat! I’m probably not the first to figure this out but I haven’t see it in any other recipe. READ on to find out how I do it. If you are a total bread-making klutz, you can leave the hats off or make a loaf instead.
- Removing rolls from a muffin pan uninjured can be challenging. When I discovered individual silicone plastic pans/molds, my troubles were over and all was right with my Brioche. I love the pink brioche-style molds available from World Market. Nothing sticks to them and it’s not even necessary to grease them ahead of time. Be careful not to crowd rolls on the cookie sheet so they will brown well on all sides. The same molds work perfectly for cupcakes too. If you are using muffin pans, be sure to butter them well.
- Because the dough is well-chilled before rolls are formed, it handles beautifully. I was scared by rumors I’d heard about sticky dough but not so. If the dough does get warm and difficult to handle, it can be returned to the fridge. Recipes that leave out the refrigeration time are suspect in my book.
- ¼ cup warm water
- 2 tablespoons dry milk
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1-1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 12 tablespoons butter, room temperature (Important!!)
- 1 cup bread flour
- 1-3/4 cup all-purpose, unbleached flour
- 2-1/4 teaspoons bread machine or instant yeast
- 1 egg + 1 tablespoon heavy cream whisked together well.
- Add all ingredients to mixing bowl of stand mixer and set speed on LOW until flour is moistened. Increase speed to just below MEDIUM and set the timer for 15 minutes. You can pretty much walk away during this time. When ready, dough with be shiny and elastic and the bowl will be clean with all dough sticking to the paddle. ( If using a bread machine, dump all ingredients into pan and set on dough cycle. Dough will be sticky but do not add extra flour.)
- Dough should be allowed to rise for 1-1/2 to 2 hours in warm place immediately after mixing and kneading. Then gently release dough from the sides to remove some of the air.
- Cover bowl (mixing bowl or bread machine bowl) and place in refrigerator for 6-24 hours. Do not skip this part. If you don’t have time for the chill, you might want to make another kind of bread.
- Remove dough to lightly floured board and mold into a ball. Cut in half. Cut each half in half –you should now have 4 pieces. Cut each of those in half (giving you 8 balls) and then cut each of those in half giving you a total of 16 balls. Pull a small amount off each of the 16 balls to make hats. Roll all portions into little balls. The smoother the better and practice helps. Place one large ball in each mold or fill muffin tin. Place all small balls (future hats) on wax paper, parchment or silicone mat on cookie sheet. Cover all with tea towels and allow to rise in warm place until almost double. This may take 1-2 hours.
- When rolls have almost doubled in size, use greased thumb to carefully depress dough in the center. Don’t worry, it will spring back once it hits the oven. Brush with glaze. Place a small ball in the center of the roll and again brush entire roll with glaze taking care not to let glaze pool at the edges between the dough and the mold.
- Place individual molds or muffins pans on cookie sheet to keep the bottoms from over-browning. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Then reduce temperature to 375 degrees and bake rolls for about 15 minutes. Loosely cover rolls with foil if tops are getting too dark. Internal temperature should reach 185-190 degrees. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a couple minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. Best eaten the same day but also good toasted the next day.