|Combined Cinnamon Roll Shape (Monkey Bread)|
|Semi Sweet Savory Muffin Style Brioche With A Soft Crust|
|Classic Crusty Sweet Brioche|
|Example Of Too Much Dough In A Mold|
Brioche Dough Making Information
Brioche is a yeast leavened baked product that is somewhere between bread and pastry. Brioche is highly enriched with milk, eggs and butter. The level of sugar can vary in a brioche recipe. For applications like dinner rolls or hamburger buns, a brioche can be made with less sugar. For a breakfast bread, cinnamon rolls or desserts, the brioche dough recipe is sweet.
Classic brioche requires the yeast to be bloomed in warm milk, with no water. Diluting the milk with water does not significantly change the texture of the bread. Some brioche recipes call for diluted milk. I add water to the milk when making soft brioche hamburger buns or brioche for savory applications. Adding water to the milk may be necessary if old fashioned unprocessed milk is used, because the fat content will be higher than modern processed milk.
When making brioche, the yeast should not be allowed to fully bloom in the warm milk, before the basic dough is made. The dough should be made quickly after the yeast dissolves.
The yeast gives the brioche dough an airy texture, but yeast actually is not the only leavening factor. Creamed butter is combined into the dough. The steam created from the butter, when the brioche is baked, also creates the classic airy brioche texture.
The butter also acts to elongate the wheat gluten strands, so when the bread rises in the oven, the strands of dough stretch and create a pastry texture.
Eggs also add to the leavening process. Eggs are added to the brioche dough, till the are only just combined. The eggs give brioche a pale yellow looking color.
The eggs actually do not fully combine with the buttery milk dough, so from a microscopic view, the egg sits between masses of butter enriched dough, so the egg acts to buffer the expanding dough.
When baked, the egg actually combines with the available starch and it strengthens the dough around the carbon dioxide bubbles that the yeast creates. This causes the dough to rise, stretch and aerate beyond belief. Eggs create the classic light elegant brioche pastry texture.
Sugar acts as a liquifying agent in a brioche recipe. The sugar helps the wheat flour to retain moisture, while sweetening the dough.
When less sugar is added to the recipe, the yeast has less available carbohydrates to quickly feed on and the texture of the brioche will be more dense with less air pocket elongation. Tighter smaller air pockets create a texture that is more like a standard dinner roll or hamburger bun.
The difference between a sweet crusty classic brioche and semi sweet soft crust brioche can be seen in the two captioned photos above.
The amount of sugar was reduced in the soft crust brioche recipe and the result was a brioche that easily retains its shape when baked. This style of brioche is for savory applications. Savory semi sweet brioche is good for mass production of consistent hamburger buns or grocery store bakery style dinner rolls.
The "Classic Sweet Crusty Brioche" captioned photo shows a classic brioche example that has an elegant light texture with a thin hard crust. Accomplishing the classic brioche crusty texture can make a home kitchen cook feel like a great pastry chef!
• The single most important thing to keep in mind when making brioche dough is to not overwork the dough.
• When flour is added to the yeasted milk, it should just be barely combined.
• When creamed butter is added, the dough should barely be combined.
• When egg is added to the dough, the dough making process is finished as soon as the dough combines and a consistent smooth texture is achieved.
• There should be absolutely no extra mixing after the dough looks smooth or the texture will be affected.
• As soon as the dough is completed it must be chilled, so the yeast action is minimized and the dough stabilizes.
One might say that those who lazily or minimally work or knead a dough, will end up producing the finest brioche. Working overtime does not pay anything extra, as far as making brioche is concerned!
Sweet Brioche Dough Recipe:
This recipe yields about 16 to 18 small dinner rolls or about 8 medium size cinnamon rolls.
This recipe is written for a steel gear drive mixer with a dough hook and paddle attachments.
Dry yeast is best for this recipe.
Cut 8 ounces of chilled butter into small cube shapes.
Place the butter the mixer bowl with the paddle attachment in place.
Whip the butter at a medium speed, till the butter starts to cream.
Turn off the mixer.
Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of Fine Ground Kosher Salt.
Add 2 1/2 to 3 ounces of granulated cane sugar. (Bakers fine grind granulated sugar is best.)
Whip the butter till it is creamed to a pale white color.
Turn off the mixer and scoop the creamed butter into a container.
Place the creamed butter in a refrigerator for a few minutes, while the milk dough is made.
Do not wash the mixer bowl, because it will be used in the next step!
Warm 3/4 cup of whole milk in a sauce pot to 112º.
Take the pot off the heat.
Pour the warm milk into the mixer bowl, with a dough hook attached.
Add 1 tablespoon of dry yeast.
Allow the yeast to dissolve, but do not wait for the yeast to bloom.
Add 2 1/2 cups of bread flour.
Add 1 cup of pastry flour.
Mix at a low speed, till the ingredients combine. Turn off the mixer occasionally to scrape the sides of the bowl.
Keep the dough hook on the mixer. Turn the mixer on to a medium low speed.
Add the reserved sweetened creamed butter, 1/3 at a time, to the dough in the mixer bowl.
Mix till the dough starts to combine and look smooth. The dough will have a buttery pale shiny appearance.
*This is where things can get a little messy. The 4 eggs have to be added 1 egg at a time.
Set the mixer to a medium low speed.
Add 1 large egg and allow it to mix into the dough before adding the next egg. Add a total of 4 large eggs.
As soon as the eggs combine with the dough and the sweet brioche dough looks smooth, turn the mixer off.
Allow the dough to briefly rise for about 5 minutes. Beat the dough down before it doubles in size.
Place the dough into a sealed container.
Chill the dough to 41ºF. The sweet brioche dough should be chilled for 24 hours, before it is shaped.
Brioche dough has to be chilled. The yeast should not be allowed to bloom to its fullest extent. A cold environment retards yeast metabolism and growth. It is a lot easier to shape chilled stiff brioche dough.
Chilled brioche dough is sticky and pliable. The work surface only needs to be flour dusted if sheets are rolled. Classic sweet brioche roll shapes are made by hand.
Brioche shapes can be a simple or as complex as you wish. The shapes can be free standing, like hamburger buns or baking molds can be used. Silicone baking molds or seasoned non-stick molds are the best. Dry bare baking molds must be brushed with a very thin film of melted butter. Any excess butter will cause excessive bread browning.
Dough Portion Size Control: For a full size dinner roll, a golf ball size portion of dough is all that is required. The dough will expand at least three times its original size. This is important to remember when spacing shaped brioche portions on a sheet pan or when using a scalloped brioche flower cup mold.
It is very easy to place too much brioche dough in a small mold, then after the dough expands while baking, the finished product will not have a consistent shape. The extra large glazed spiral cinnamon roll in the photos above is a good example of how too much dough in a 5" wide scalloped tart mold will result in a cinnamon roll that leans to one side.
Extra large classic sweet brioche can be over 2 feet wide and more than 1 foot tall. When brioche is made this big, the dough starts to get a mind of its own. The dough will expand with explosive power when baked and the end result will certainly be an interesting looking extra large sweet rich bread that is nearly a work of free-form art.
Spiral Cinnamon Rolls: To make classic spiral cinnamon rolls, the brioche is rolled into a rectangular sheet shape. For tightly wound small cinnamon rolls, the dough sheet should be about 3/16" thick. For large cinnamon rolls, the dough sheet should be 3/8" to 7/16" thick.
The width of the dough sheet determines how wide the cinnamon rolls will be. A dough sheet that is 1/4" thick and 8" wide will be about 2 1/2" in diameter when the sheet of dough is rolled into a cylinder shape.
A mixture of sugar and cinnamon is sprinkled on the dough sheet, then the sheet is rolled into a cylinder shape. Egg wash is used to seal the end of the dough sheet, so the cinnamon rolls do not unravel.
The cylinder is then cut into segments. The length of the segment determines how tall the cinnamon roll will be. A segment that is cut 1/2" tall produces small rolls that can be eaten with a couple of bites. A 1" tall segment produces a much taller roll.
The shaped cinnamon spirals can be baked in scalloped molds, muffin molds or mini bread pan molds. The cinnamon rolls can also be placed side by side on a sheet pan that is lined with parchment paper that is brushed with melted butter.
Combined Cinnamon Roll Shapes (Monkey Bread): Several small spiral cinnamon rolls can be placed in a single baking mold to create a complex shape. Two examples of this can be seen in the photos above.
The star shaped combined roll was made by filling a star shaped baking mold with 8 miniature cinnamon roll spirals. The spirals join together, yet they can be easily separated by hand when eaten.
Four large cinnamon roll spirals were placed side by side in a 4 1/2"diameter muffin cup mold to create the combined shape in the other captioned photo example.
Brioches à Tête: This classic shape looks like a scalloped muffin bottom half that is wearing a top hat. To make classic brioche rolls, a small scalloped brioche cup mold is necessary.
A plum size portion of dough is divided into 2 equal portions. One portion has to be shaped like a miniature doughnut and the other is shaped like a large marble. The marble is pushed part way through the center of the donut, then it is placed in a small scalloped baking mold that is about 2 1/2" wide. This produces the classic brioche dinner roll shapes that have a scalloped bottom half in the picture above. The dough shaping for this process is also pictured.
Muffin Shape Rolls: There are a couple of muffin shaped brioche in the pictures that were made with the soft crust savory brioche dough version (Brioche Dough With Less Sugar). A portion of dough is rolled into a golf ball shape and placed in a 3 1/2" wide muffin cup to produce this kind of roll.
The egg wash can be plain or thinned with milk. Some brioche shapes benefit from egg wash and some do not. Classic crusty dinner roll shapes are rarely egg washed.
An extra large sweet brioche is usually egg washed about 5 minutes before the bread finishes baking.
Obviously, cinnamon roll brioche is never egg washed, but egg wash is used to seal the edge of the the dough sheet, when the sheet is rolled.
Brioche dough requires only a very small amount of proofing time. Basically, as soon as the brioche dough reaches room temperature, it is just about ready to go in the oven. Because the yeast is not fully active when chilled, the dough will suddenly spring to life as soon as it is placed in an oven. The dough will literally expand in size, well beyond belief, during the first few minutes it is baked.
Basically, brioche can be shaped as small or as large as you wish. The baking time does vary with size. The larger the bread, the longer the baking time will be. The center temperature of the bread must be at least 190ºF. A few minutes of extra time in the oven will produce the desirable thin crisp pastry-like crust.
French bakers prefer to bake brioche to a medium brown color. I usually bake brioche to a dark golden brown color, because the brioche will be reheated at a later time. Golden brown is about as light as brioche can be cooked, or the eggs and butter will not have a chance to steam and create texture.
Brioche has to be baked at 400ºF.
If the oven is filled to max capacity, then 420ºF will help to reduce the oven temperature recovery time, but the temperature should be turned back down to 400ºF after a few minutes. Too high of a temperature will cause this buttery enriched dough to get black highlights.
Brioche does take some time to bake, so be patient a do not open the oven door to check the bread too often. Small brioche take about 15 to 18 minutes. An extra large brioche may require an hour in the oven.
Brioche can be served plain or any of these items can be sprinkled, poured or brushed on finished sweet brioche:
- Melted Plugra Butter
- Caramel Sugar Syrup
- Caramelized Fruit Glacé
- Walnut, Hazelnut or Pecan Caramel Syrup
- Maple Syrup
- Fruit Syrup
- Sugar Glaze
- Cinnamon and Granulated Sugar
- Coarse Raw Sugar Crystals
- Powdered Sugar or Confectioner Sugar
Any number of dessert fillings, like warm caramel, fruit preserves, chocolate custard, lemon curd, chantilly cream or pastry cream can be piped into the center of a sweet brioche roll.
Once brioche making is understood, brioche can be made blindfolded! I rarely use a recipe to make brioche anymore. Making customized brioche for specific applications is an art in itself.
Today's recipe will end up being referred to in future brioche recipes. I will expand upon the basic brioche shapes to create brioche dessert recipes in the near future. Yum!