Recipe – Really Soft and Fragrant Brioche
I gave myself a challenge before 2014 ends – that is to make a successful loaf of bread. I am really bad with making bread, because I never have the patience to wait for it to rise to its desired volume. The chance came when we were going to a Christmas dinner at Keropokman’s house. Karen cooked a lovely pot of beef stew and I thought pairing brioche with beef stew will be perfect. So I gave it a go.
I love eating brioche. I have had really tasty ones in some cafes. So I hope to create similar texture and softness. 72 hours before the Christmas dinner was crazy for me. I tried FOUR different recipes from the internet (with some tweaking). Some of them claims to be soft and moist brioche but it’s total bullshit. When it came out from my oven, it’s okay (note: not great). And after an hour or so, it’s hard. Okay, maybe being an inexperienced bread maker plays a part too.
So after 3 devastating bread making failure, I think I kinda got it right for the last one. Adapting the recipe from here, plus some tips I had from the previous trials, I got a really soft and fragrant brioche. The next day when I saw it, I was smiling to myself. Yeah, please ignore the small size bread tray. I will be more prepared for a bigger one next time. I got so excited that I forgot to add a layer of eggwash. But nevermind, the most important thing is, I GOT IT! Not really a great job done but at least, I think I got it right. And my friends love the brioche (I hope).
- 300g bread flour
- 100g butter, softened
- 2 eggs, plus 1 beaten egg for glazing
- sugar syrup (45g sugar, 2tbsp water, 2tsp white vinegar)
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp milk
- 2 tsp dry yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- Hydrate the dry yeast into 2 tbsp water for 5 minutes or until it bubbles.
- In a small saucepan, add water, sugar and white vinegar. Bring to the boil. Allow to cool down for a few minutes.
- In a large bowl, blend the flour, eggs, milk, yeast and salt. Knead quickly until just quite well combined.
- Pour the sugar syrup over the dough and Use your hands to mix it into a sticky dough. Don’t worry if the mixture feels a little wet at this stage, it will come together when kneading. Tip the dough out onto a floured work surface.
- Add the softened butter and knead the dough for 10 mins by stretching it on the work surface – it will still be very sticky at this stage but don’t be tempted to add too much flour.
- The dough is ready when it feels soft and bouncy. Place in an bowl, cover with cling film and set aside to rise for 2 hrs or until doubled in size. Give 2 or 3 folds to the dough every half an hour if possible.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, knock the air out and knead again for 2 mins. The dough should be much less sticky now, but add a little flour if it needs it. Cover the bowl with cling film and place it right away in the fridge (for approx a day).
- Take out the dough from the fridge, place it on a lightly floured surface and cut it in 3 pieces. Shape them into strands and form a plait (try to be quick because the dough get sticky quite fast).
- Place the plaited loaf on an greased oven tray covered with cloth. Allow the dough to rise for 2 hours or until it doubles in volume.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (or 190 degree celsius). Uncover the tray, brush the buns with egg. Pour a cup of water into a baking tray at the bottom of the oven to create steam. Adding steam to the oven keeps the buns moist while cooking, giving a softer crumb. If you prefer a crustier bun, simply leave out the cup of water.
- Bake until dark golden-brown on top and golden on the sides, about 20 minutes. Let the brioches cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before unmolding. Serve while they’re still warm to the touch.
- The brioche can be made up to a day ahead. Once cooled, store in an airtight container until needed.