Today I did it. I kind of had to because I said I would – and at least a few people actually read that. Soooo, Brioche – what was I so afraid of? Well for one thing, Julia Child’s method is practically a two day event. I was on the one hand intrigued and anxious to give it a try, but on the other hand a little intimidated. Then I came across a cookbook by Nick Malgieri “The Modern Baker”, and his method is just a one-time rise and bake. So that’s what I did.
I will give you my recipe as I did not follow his exactly. The end result was exactly what a brioche should be: a marriage of pastry with bread. The crust was flaky and buttery with a soft, tender interior. It is only slightly sweet, after all, this is a bread not a cake. The chocolate swirl was delicate and not fudgy. I did not want a dessert effect, so I used coco powder rather than melted chocolate and I achieved exactly what I wanted.
Marbled Brioche Loaf
½ cup milk
One envelope of Fast Rising Instant Yeast ( I used Bakipan )
2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 stick cold butter (8 Tbsp.)
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp. salt
2 large eggs
2 large eggs
1 Tablespoon Bourbon
½ tsp. baking soda
2 Tbsp. Unsweetened Cocoa ( I use Ghirardelli)
Pinch Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1. To start the brioche dough, heat the milk in the microwave for 30 seconds and test for a 110 F degree ( just warm – not hot ) temp. Pour the milk into a small bowl and stir in the yeast with a plastic spoon – I just use a measuring spoon. When the yeast is wet and just floating on the top add 1 cup of the flour and mix with a plastic spoon or rubber spatula, scraping the sides and mixing thoroughly. Cover bowl with plastic and set aside for 20 minutes. The dough will start bloating a bit and that’s a good thing. It is your clue the yeast is activated.
2. Combine the cold butter (cut into small bits), sugar, salt, eggs, and bourbon in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the butter is evenly mixed with the other ingredients.
3. Now you can add the starter dough to the wet ingredients. Just distribute the dough by plops over the wet ingredients still in the food processor. Pulse 5-7 times to mix thoroughly. Now add the remaining flour and pulse again until the flour is completely incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes.
4. After the 10 minute nap, start the food processor again and run it for about 10 seconds. The dough should be smooth and elastic. Scrape ½ the dough out of the food processor bowl and place it in an oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic.
5. Now for the chocolate addition: in a small bowl combine the baking soda, cinnamon, and cocoa powder with a wisk. Sprinkle the vanilla over the dough still in the food processor. Sprinkle the dry chocolate ingredients over the vanilla/dough. Now pulse off and on until the dough is nicely brown and smooth. Remove the dough from the food processor and place in an oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic. Let the bowls sit for about 30 minutes.
6. Flour your work surface with flour and remove the plain dough and pat into a rectangle.
7. Flour another spot on your work surface with flour and remove the chocolate dough and pat into a rectangle.
8. Top your plain dough with the chocolate dough. The two rectangles are now one on top of the other. Cut sections out of the two layered rectangle and pile them up. Press your pile together firmly and form a loaf. Place the loaf in your pan and cover with wax paper. Allow to rise up to 1 inch over the top of the loaf pan. Now you can place your loaf pan into a pre-heated 350 degree oven. Bake for about 35 minutes. The loaf should be well risen and a deep golden brown.
9. Cool the loaf in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes, then unmold it. Allow to cool for about 30 minutes before you cut. Do cut yourself a slice while it is still warm. It is a taste of heaven.
I hope you try making this marbled brioche – or even a traditional brioche, less the chocolate. Oh, by the way, set aside a big piece to make French toast the next day. You have not had French toast until you have had a brioche French toast!
BTW: "The Modern Baker" is a great cookbook for this decade. The writer employs the use of Food Processors and other tools and techniques that make it so much easier to tackle bread making.
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