Updated: Jan 12
So what makes brioche so fun to make? Is it the soft, warm, and buttery texture? Or the fact that you can do so much with this versatile dough?
The shapes, fillings, and flavors you can create with brioche dough verge on endless. With this recipe, you can shape your dough into buns for burgers, pull-apart bread for the table, savory brioche bites, and sweet cinnamon sugar topped goodies. I've even piped aged balsamic vinegar and pastry cream into this dough (yes, strange I know)...but I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
If you're mixing with a machine, everything including the salt is getting added to the bowl at once.
If you're mixing by hand, make sure the butter is extra soft and you will mix the butter in a bit more gradually. It will definitely take a bit longer by hand but it's not a difficult process.
It works like a charm, it's quick, and the results are delicious. These are all things that appeal to me. Mostly the delicious part.
I also usually only use All-Purpose flour when machine mixing. The addition of bread flour works if you're mixing by hand to help build a stronger gluten structure.
What You'll Need (for levain build):
100 grams Mature Sourdough Starter
50 grams King Arthur Organic Whole Wheat Flour
150 grams King Arthur Organic Bread Flour
200 grams Warm Water
What You'll Need (Final Mix)
250 grams King Arthur Organic All-Purpose Flour
250 grams King Arthur Organic Bread Flour
250 grams Levain
115 grams Cold Water
175 grams Unsalted Butter
175 grams Eggs
175 grams Sugar
6 grams salt
6 grams Honey
6 grams Lemon Zest
1 gram Vanilla Extract
You will also need 1 big mixing bowl!
Here's What You Need To Do:
Cube your butter into chunks and make sure it is soft to the touch before you proceed.
Combine all of your ingredients into a big bowl. I like to crack my eggs in a separate bowl, and then add the water to them before adding to the rest of the ingredients.
Use your hands to squeeze everything together. It's going to be messy and sticky, so make sure your bowl is big enough to where you aren't making a mess.
If you absolutely feel you need to add more flour, now is the time to do it. I would add small amounts at a time, but don't go overboard. Your hand kneading or machine mixing process, with time, will give you the necessary gluten development! Trust the process.
If you are machine mixing, start at the lowest speed and mix for 2 minutes. Crank the machine up to medium speed and mix for 2-3 minutes or until you see the dough start to come together. Let the dough rest for 1 minute, and then switch it to the highest speed setting and let it mix until the dough slaps on the side of the bowl and has a smooth surface. This can take 10-15 minutes. Make sure you don't burn out your little mixer!
If you are hand mixing, first add only half of the butter and squeeze until all ingredients are incorporated. Once you have a consistent texture, you can begin to stretch and slap the dough on the table, while slowly incorporating the rest of the butter. It will come apart very easily, but the longer you knead/stretch/slap the dough, the more it will come together. You can give it a few periods of rest (5 or so minutes) to let it come together.
Remember: with a machine mix, it takes 15 or so minutes for the dough to come together. If you opt to hand mix brioche, be prepared to knead and develop your dough for at least 30 minutes. Flour your work surface as well, to ensure that your dough doesn't stick too much.
Once your dough is fairly smooth on the surface and has come together, place it in a clean and oiled bowl for bulk fermentation. If you hand-mixed, you can give it a couple of stretches and folds every 30 minutes to continue to help the gluten formation process.
Allow your dough to go through the initial rise in a warm place for 6 hours. My house temperature is usually between 72-75f.
After you notice your dough is smooth and springy to the touch, put it into the fridge overnight to continue developing flavor and a strong structure. I usually will refrigerate it for about 10 hours at 40f.
Once you complete the cold stage of your fermentation, remove the dough. Now it's time to get creative! You can divide and shape into whatever shape you want. For buns, I usually divide into 130-gram piece and round them into little balls. You can put them side by side on a baking tray in a 4 x 6 pattern. It's ok for them to proof into each other because they will bake nicely and pull apart. For pull-apart bread in a loaf tin, use 6 110 gram pieces and squeeze together into the pan in two rows of 3. For a braided loaf, divide into your desired size strips and roll them out so that you can braid your loaf.If you want to top your brioche with savory or sweet things, now would be the time to do it. I've used cinnamon sugar, tomatoes, ham and cheese, and pretty much anything I could think of. Be creative here, but remember that plain old brioche is probably the best.
Brush your dough with an egg wash and proof for about 4 hours, or until the dough grows noticeably in size and becomes springy to the touch. You'll also start to get a great aroma from the dough.
Preheat your oven to 375f, and egg wash your brioche one final time.
Bake your brioche for 20-25 minutes. Depending on your oven and color preference you may need to go a bit longer. If you're using convection, 15-20 minutes will usually do.
Enjoy your warm sourdough brioche! If you plan to fill your brioche rolls after baking, allow them to cool completely before piping in your filling or cream.