March 9, 2011

Brioche

I love taking advantage of my local library and have recently realised how big of a cookbook collection they have. One night after work I had one of my usual urges to cook, so I thought I'd make something out of one of the cookbooks I'd borrowed. I chose to make the brioche out of the Bourke St Bakery cookbook. I have only ever made bread once (well rolls) and so I wanted to get some more practise in making that. Plus I've always wanted to make my own brioche.
Ingredients:
190g flour, chilled
4g fresh yeast, chilled
15g caster sugar, chilled
1 1/2 tbsp milk, chilled
3 eggs, chilled
1 tsp salt
125g unsalted butter, cut into cubes, at room temp
egg wash (1 egg, 100ml milk & pinch salt combined)

I firstly set the oven at 220 degrees celcius. Then, to make the dough I put the flour, yeast, sugar, milk, eggs and salt into a bowl and mixed them together with an electric mixer. To this mixture I then added the butter, a few pieces at a time until it was all well incorporated. I turned this sticky dough out onto my bench which I'd dusted with flour and kneaded it with floured hands. I then transferred the dough back into a bowl, which I'd brushed with butter and placed it in the fridge for an hour, covered with a tea towel.
After an hour I took the dough back out of the fridge and turned it back onto the bench, pressing it gently into a rectangle shape. I then folded one third of the rectangle back over itself and then the same with the remaining third, so I had a long rectangle. I then turned the dough sideways and repeated the process until I had a square, which I then placed back into the greased bowl, recovered it with the tea towel and placed it back into the fridge for an hour.
I again had to turn the dough out onto my floured bench and gently knocked the air out of it. I then rolled the dough into a log shape to fit into my pre-prepared loaf tin (greased and lined with baking paper) and placed it in the tin. I then quickly mixed up my egg wash mixture, which was just a matter of whisking the ingredients together and then brushed it on the top of the brioche loaf. I reduced the oven temperature to 180 degrees and baked the brioche for 40 minutes.
The bread turned out really well. It was beautiful and soft when hot, and had a subtle sweet taste to it. By the next morning it had gone a little bit hard, but it was still lovely toasted with my eggs. The only complain that I had was that the instructions about what shape to make the bread, and the process of kneading was a little confusing to me. I'm not sure if I'm the only one, but it seems like this book is maybe geared towards someone who's had a little experience making bread. It was still a very good recipe, and I was very proud once I'd finished to have made my own brioche.

Recipe Source:
Bourke St Bakery: The Ultimate Baking Companion
by Paul Altman and David McGuinness

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