Brioche is probably the most well-known non-laminated viennoiserie and is a staple in French cuisine.
It’s basically an enriched bread dough with a high butter and egg content which makes the brioche very tender and rich.
We’ve all grown up hearing Marie-Antoinette’s famous line “Let them eat cake” but the actual correct translation was “Let them eat brioche” which is a bit less pompous (but still pretty clueless).
It’s extremely versatile and is just as commonly seen on a breakfast table as it is stuffed and served as a canapé or alongside a main course in place of a dinner roll.
Brioche à tête is the most traditional shape, where the brioche is formed and baked in individual fluted moulds. However, if like me you don’t have the appropriate baking kit, you can make a loaf by lining up balls of brioche in a loaf tin (more on the later).
I used Michel Roux’s recipe (http://www.redonline.co.uk/food/recipes/michel-roux-s-brioche-dough) and will admit upfront as I always do that I had a few issues.
While the finished product looked and tasted great, something definitely went wrong along the way.
My first mix was great – the dough was bouncy and came together well. However, once I added the butter it all seemed to go downhill.
Now I don’t know if temperature played a role somewhere because the dough never quite came back together again. I thought placing it back in the fridge would mess too much with the proofing/retarding process so let it sit in a warm environment as per the recipe.
I did some research and saw that some people melt their butter before adding to the dough so again I’m not sure what went wrong with mine. Does anyone have any ideas?
Either way, as I said it looked and tasted great, but was a challenge to form properly. I found this great video that showed how to shape brioche for a loaf (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suKgK1jCWCE) but my dough looked a lot wetter and there’s no way I could have created the little heads for the brioche à tête with this mix.
I’ll try it again in cooler weather and keep my fingers crossed.
Once I had my brioche baked and cooled, I wanted to make pain perdu. Again I looked to my hero Michel Roux for a recipe and found this one which was delicious!! I adapted it a bit because I didn’t have any crème fraiche.
250ml cold milk
50ml crème fraiche
30g caster sugar
1 whole egg, plus 1 egg yolks
50g extra sugar for sprinkling or 50ml maple syrup
Blueberries (my addition)
Mix together the milk, crème fraiche, sugar, egg, egg yolk and salt in a bowl.
Cut the brioche into slides, then steep in the milk mixture for 2 minutes. Turn them over and leave for another 2 minutes.
In a large frying pan, melt half of the butter and when it begins to foam, add the bread slices and the rest of the butter.
Fry until golden on each side, then serve with extra sugar and berries.