Making marshmallow recently resulted in a bowl full of egg yolks sitting in my fridge with no game plan. I could have tried making homemade mayonnaise or hollandaise sauce but instead I decided on having a stab at making brioche. I love the richness of these cute little buns but not a whole lot of bakeries in Perth make them. I suppose we Aussies find them a little dry or plain compared to other delicious offerings in the pastry cabinet.
To be fair, brioche should be enjoyed more as a bread roll than a sweet pastry, accompanied with some butter (can you have enough?) and jam. It goes without saying for most things that are baked in the oven but brioche in particular should be eaten as soon as they are ready. Many a brioche bought by me have been left in their paper bag overnight, only to be tossed in the bin since there’s not much that can rescue an old brioche. The paper bag seems to draw out all the butter too! Horrible!
Admittedly I think I prefer a pain au lait over a brioche. The former is supposedly a poor man’s version of the latter since it requires less butter overall. Nonetheless, with three egg yolks needing a raison d’etre, I went on and made my first brioche. I made some plain and some with sweetened azuki in the centre. The process was easy thanks to my beloved Kitchenaid stand mixer with dough hook.
Even if I do say so myself, the brioche smelt amazing as they came out of the oven. I really got an appreciation of how good it is to make your own bread. Coming home to the smell of my little rolls proofing was a pleasure in itself too. The plain brioche were OK but they may as well have been rocks the next day. The azuki centred brioche were very nice though and I even ate one the next day.
I’m happy to have made brioche but I think I’ll try pain au lait next time. With raisins!
Brioche recipe by Stephanie Alexander as posted on Cuisine.com.au
- 250g plain flour pinch of salt
- 1 tsp instant dried yeast
- ½ cup milk
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 75g softened butter
To prepare: Mix flour, salt and yeast. Warm milk and sugar slightly, stirring, until sugar has dissolved, then allow to cool a little. Mix flour, salt and yeast in bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Combine egg yolks and warm milk mixture. Make a well in flour, then pour in liquid and mix to a dough. Work until dough forms a smooth ball, about 10 minutes. Continue beating while adding butter in two lots. The dough should be shiny and smooth and will come away cleanly from sides of bowl.
Cover bowl with a clean cloth and leave dough to double in size in a draught-free place for about two hours. Knock back dough, tip onto workbench and briefly knead by hand. Shape into desired shape or a loafor divide into individual buns. Allow to rise again, covered, for one hour.
Bake at 180C for 30 minutes (15 minutes for individual brioches) or until well risen and golden.
Cool before using.