I used to think making brioche was a bit of a faff. The patience required to gradually and gently knead cubes of cold butter into the dough was enough to put me off the delicious breadstuff. It wasn't until my friend Cara pointed me in the direction of the brioche recipe in Ripe Recipes did my brioche world change.
This recipe uses melted butter and adds it directly to the dry ingredients (along with milk and eggs) to create a soft and supple dough. Not a cube of butter to be kneaded in sight! Revolutionary!
The OG recipe calls for a total of 500g of butter with half of that going into the filling. Now I don't know if you've seen the price of butter lately but it sure does set you back a pretty penny. I managed to only use around 100g and also around half the sugar in the filling. Sure you could use more butter but I found even with my reduced amount quite a bit of it ended up pooling around the bottom of the muffin pan rather than absorbing into the brioche.
Ideally you would wake up at 3am to start the dough so it could be ready in time for morning tea. For convenience sake you can make it the night before and leave it in the fridge to prove. The only issue with this is the dough is then too cold to do a second rise once all rolled up into its scrolls. I kind of cheat and warm my oven up to just under 50 degrees and pop my cold scrolls in for fifteen-twenty minutes to get up to room temperature then remove them to rise while you crank the oven up to baking temp. If you've got all the time in the world then I would recommend leaving the dough on the bench to rise for a couple of hours instead.
I would also recommend using a standing mixer to make this dough as it is quite floppy (a very technical term). If you don't have one then either ask for one for Christmas or use an electric hand mixer with that weird looking dough hook rod that you've never used before in your life. I mean worst case scenario you could use a large spoon and a very large bowl. You shouldn't let effort get in the way of delicious brioche.
I made this particular batch of brioche to take into Dylan's work. I was racing out the door when I realised that brown bread on a brown table looks a bit shit. I lacked a second set of hands to hold the tray out so please enjoy the series of awkward brioche selfies I took in my attempt to avoid the brown on brown photography.
Brioche for the Masses
Makes 12-15 Texan sized scrolls or 2 plain loaves
Adapted from Ripe Recipes by Angela Redfern.
500ml milk, warm
4 large eggs
250g butter, melted
850g flour (I used plain because that is what I usually have lying around but if you've got a bread flour you should use that)
1 x 8g sachet of instant dry yeast (I use the Edmonds brand stuff)
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
100-120g butter, cold
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (or more if you fancy)
Milk to pat the brioche with
More butter or vegetable oil for greasing the pans with
Sieve together the flour, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl then mix through the yeast. In a saucepan melt the butter and then once fully melted whisk in the milk and then the eggs.
Tip the liquid ingredients into the dry and mix until a dough has formed. Scrape down the sides as you go to get it all incorporated. Mix the dough until it is smooth and glossy (around five minutes. If the dough is particularly sticky (as in it sticks to your fingers and won't come off easily) then add a couple more tablespoons of flour to help calm it down.
Either leave the bowl covered in a tea towel to rise in a warm place to double in size or wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge overnight. If doing the latter see my note above about dealing with the cold dough.
Once the dough has doubled in size, sprinkle your bench with flour and tip the dough out onto it. Roll it out into a rectangle about 60cm in width and 2cm thick.
Sprinkle your sugar and cinnamon over the brioche leaving a wee gap on one of the longer edges to help seal it up later. Grate your butter over the sugar and spread it around evenly. Start at the end opposite to the gap and start tightly rolling the dough into a log. Wet your finger and run it along that gap to help stick the dough to itself.
Grease up as many Texan sized muffin pans as you have with the butter or oil and cut small squares of baking paper to line the base of each with.
Slice the rolled up log into 12-15 slices (about 3-4cm thick) and place one in each muffin pan. Leave in a warm place to rise again. They are ready to be baked when the dough is light and airy to the tough.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius on bake. Before popping the brioche in the oven pat the top of each with some milk to keep it from drying out.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until the tops are a deep golden brown (16 was the magic number in my oven).
Enjoy any time of day!
To make two plain loaves (for say making french toast with) start by lining two loaf tins with baking paper all the way up the sides. Split the dough into two and shape each portion into a sausage shape the same length as the tin. Place the dough in the tins and leave in a warm place to rise again as with the scrolls. Once the dough is soft and puffy pat the tops with milk and bake for say 30-35 minutes. The tops should be a deep golden colour. I will make them again shortly and confirm back for you. In any case you should be able to tap the tops and they will make a hollow sound.