Saturday, February 5, 2011


Our stay in France introduced us to a vast variety of breads that I had never known before. As I said in my post on scones, we had a Boulangerie/patisserie (Bread and pastry shop) a block away from our apartment.  Every evening you could find bread and pastries fresh out of the oven. We were constant customers there for the tender loaves of Brioche served with honey. Brioche is highly enriched French bread. The first time I had it, I was confused. I took a lot of the baker’s time arguing as to whether its bread or cake. It is a rich buttery, sweet flavored bread with a flaky texture. Even a person who doesn’t like butter could easily fall in love with this delish.

Brioche is undoubtedly bread, as it is leavened with yeast and kneaded. It is the ultimate magic that you could achieve with yeast. The dough contains flour, eggs, butter, milk, yeast, salt, and sometimes some sugar. The richness comes from the loads of butter that goes into the dough. Depending on the amount of butter added, it can be a Rich Man’s Brioche, Middle Class Brioche or Poor Man’s Brioche. It can be sweet or savory, with or without fillings. You can make any shape you want. The normal method is to make the dough, let it rise at room temperature and then continue rising in the refrigerator for a longer period. Refrigerating prevents the dough from developing the fermented flavor and since has lots of butter, it is best to handle the dough while it is cool, to prevent melting. The final proofing is done in the container in which it’s baked. The light, flaky crust with a high gloss to it comes from brushing the dough with egg before baking.

I am sure you would be a little reluctant to try this out if you are conscious of the calorie intake. But believe me; indulging in such guilty pleasures once in a while is no big deal. But do not blame me if you become addicted!  

The recipe is adapted from one of my French cuisine cookbooks by chef express.

Active dry yeast-1 tbsp
Warm milk-1/4 cup
Sugar-½ tbsp
Salt-1/4 tsp
All purpose flour/maida-1 cup
Butter-1/2 cup
Egg white for brushing

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Let it stand for 10 mins until frothy. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar and salt. Make a well in center of the bowl and mix in the eggs and yeast mixture. Mix well until everything comes together, then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and supple around 10 mins. 

Divide butter into 3 parts. Add one part to the dough and knead until it is well incorporated. Rest it for a while (5 mins) and add the next part. Repeat until all butter has been thoroughly mixed into the dough. Place it in a bowl, cover with a damp cloth and allow it to rise for 1 hr or until it doubles in size. 

Deflate the dough, cover and refrigerate for 3 hrs. It can be left overnight in the refrigerator. The longer you leave it, the more workable it becomes.Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, form into a loaf (I have made a slight braid out of it) and place into a lightly greased a loaf pan. Cover with a damp cloth and let it double (about 1 hr). 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and bake for about 30-45 minutes, or until golden brown. Let the loaves cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Then move it onto wire racks until completely cool. 

For the quantity of ingredients mentioned, I made a braided loaf in 5.75 by 3 inch pan and 8 muffin sized rolls. The recipe is for poor man's brioche. Double the butter and you will have middle class. For rich man's version multiply the amount of butter by four times. The usual flour to butter ratio is can go up to 5:4. So as you increase the butter, proportionally increase the flour content.

The first brioche I made
1. Yeast is the crucial ingredient here. Use regular active dry yeast, not rapid-rise or

2. Dissolve the yeast in liquids that are just warm, not too hot nor too cold.
3. The butter should be of the same consistency as the dough when adding. So remember to keep it at room temperature way ahead of time.
4. The exquisite texture comes from kneading, so no shortcuts there.
5. Last but not least, lots of patience…..plan ahead…..never try brioche in a hurry.


Suja Sugathan said...

Brioche looks wonderful,light golden brown on top and soft texture within..kneading innu shortcuts undarirunegil :(
but this looks a must try,bookmarked.

Yummy Team said...

Never heard of brioche before..It looks perfect and tasty..Try cheyyannam ennundarunnu pakshe enikkum kneading annu prob..Njan undakkiya bread nte okke dough food processorila undakkittulle..Bread sticks mathram shariyayilla bakki ellam nannayi vannirunnu..

Urmila said...

thanks sujaand yummy team....

food processor undnegil....use cheyyaam will come out good...and will be easier too......entte aduthilla...atha njan athine patti mention cheyyathirunne...

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