My dad once had a dream of owning a bakery shop. He was a die-hard bakery and pastry lover. He was a traditional man who loved to eat traditional Chinese food. Rice accompanied by soup was a must for him. But, when it came to snacking or afternoon tea, bakery and pastry were on top of his food list. His dreams of owning a bakery shop never came true. He left us for a better place far too early. I like to entertain my thought of him having a blast of a time eating all the breads and cakes up there while watching me making my own brioche at home. I think I would do him proud with this round of brioche making at home.
For the past 6 years, I’ve been making breads and buns by hands. While the results were okay, I thought making breads and cakes are just not my forte. Now, I’m not trying to say that I’m a good baker now because I make this brioche at home. I do come to realize that I need the right tool to do the job. One thing I know for sure is I’m not doing a good job at kneading the dough. Period. I remember how my grandma used to slam this dough bang..bang..bang… while she was making steamed buns at home. It’s not something that she made often (Now I know why). Lots of elbow greases needed! Mine ain’t good enough! The stand mixer is really a game changer for me.
Some people ask me what is the secret to soft and buttery brioche ? Really…it’s the kneading (and the butter) and the slow rise! I adapted this brioche recipe from Edd Kimber’s Patisserie Made Easy book, and he did mention that making brioche by hands was possible, but it’s a much harder job. Hell…yes! MUCH MUCH harder. The dough stuck to my hands unmercifully!! It’s ridiculous and I kept adding flour (It’s a NO NO to keep adding flour) hoping that my hands would be freed by this dough web. Eventually they will, but maybe like 20 minutes of hand kneading later ? And the thing is, my kneading is not good enough to produce that stretch that everyone desires in brioche. So, if I may offer one piece of advice, please knead the dough with a machine. You will be very happy with the end result.
How to make an awesome brioche at home (2 small loaves or 12 rolls)
- 2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour 300 grams
- 2 1/8 cups white bread flour 300 grams
- 2 1/2 Tbsp superfine sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup + 4 tsp lukewarm whole milk 140 ml
- 4 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 6 extra-large eggs
- 8 oz unsalted butter at room temperature 2 1/4 sticks/250 grams, diced
Place the flour, sugar ,and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with the dough hook attachment and mix together to combine
Pour the milk and yeast in a cup and mix together until the yeast has dissolved. Pour this mixture into the flour mixture. Cracked in five eggs and turn the mixer to low-medium speed and let it run until a rough dough is form. Let it knead for another 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. With the mixer still running, adding few pieces of butter at a time. Once all the butter is in, let it knead again for another 15 minutes until the dough comes together but not entirely leaves the sides of the bowl. If using bread machine, let it finishes with the kneading cycle. It will still be sticky to touch, but should be manageable. Please do not attempt to add more flour. Dust your hands with some flour so you can pick up the dough easier without sticking too much. Place the dough in a large, lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Transfer the bowl to the refrigerator and leave to rise slowly for at least 10 hours
The next day, remove the dough from the refrigerator and press gently to knock it back. Divide the dough into four equal pieces and form these into rounds, then put two balls into each loaf pan. Cover the pans with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place to rise until doubled in size. This may take 2 to 3 hours depending on how warm it is
If you want to make individual rolls, divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and form into rounds. You can place them on a parchment-lined baking sheets, or fluted brioche molds, or muffin cups (what I did)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly floured your finger and then press on the dough. If it springs back almost immediately, the dough needs more time to rise. If it springs back slowly, it is ready for the oven
Lightly beat one egg with 1 tsp of water and then brush this on top of the dough. Pop them into the oven 3rd rack from the top and bake the loaves for about 35 minutes or until golden brown. The rolls may take shorter time to bake, about 25 minutes
Let them cool down in the pans for 15 minutes and then carefully turn the brioche out onto a wire rack to cool completely. They are best eaten within two days of baking. If you freeze them, they are good for up to one month. Stale brioche is great for French Toast 😉
I made 2 small loaves and 12 buns with these recipe. As, I’m typing this recipe, the loaves were gone. I froze some of the buns for later. They are best eaten in 2 days but if you freeze them, they are good up to one month.
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Now I will definitely make brioche again 😉