Brioche

In the past I have had difficulty knowing just how much butter to add to sourdough brioche. I recently got the chance to experiment with a couple of flour to butter ratios at a sourdough class I teach at The Agrarian Kitchen.

 

This recipe has a total of about 625g flour (500 fresh flour + 125 flour from the starter).Two of the students tried 350g butter, and two other used 300g of butter. Both ratios worked well, with 350g having a richer crumb, but 300g was also acceptable and not too bready to loose that classic brioche texture.

 

Note that the photos below are from exactly the same recipe here, exept all quantities were multiplied 10 x. The recipe scaled very well!

 

The Dough

Ingredient Weight US Volume Bakers Percentage
Flour (strong light sifted or white) 500 g 17.64 oz 3.92 cups 100.00%
Sugar 30 g 1.06 oz 2.4 tbspns 6.00%
Salt 10 g 0.35 oz 0.64 tbspns 2.00%
Eggs (3 eggs) 200 g 7.05 oz 0.88 cups 40.00%
Starter (100% hydration) 250 g 8.82 oz 1.96 cups 50.00%
Butter 300 g 10.58 oz 1.32 cups 60.00%
Milk 200 g 7.05 oz 0.88 cups 40.00%
Total Weight: 1490 grams / 52.56 ounces
Total Flour Weight: 500 grams / 17.64 ounces

Bakers percentages are relative to flour weight (flour equals 100%) and every other ingredient is a percentage of this. Flour from the Starter is not counted. Note: This recipe was uploaded in grams and has been automatically converted to other measures, let us know of any corrections.

Method

Cut the butter into 1cm cubes and allow to soften at room temperature for several hours

Mix to combine all ingredients except for the butter, to form a stiff batter (adjust milk quantity if required)

Rest for 10 minutes before continuing to mix for 10 - 15 minutes

The batter should start to resemble a soft dough, but will not have the same degree of elasticity

Massage in the softened butter until no lumps remain

(now is the time to also incorporate dried fruit if you wish)

Place your dough into a covered container

Rise in a cool place, 8C to 15C, for about 15 hours

OR Rise at room temperature until 150% of original size, then refrigerate until the dough hardens all the way through

Remove dough from cool place

Scale and shape into balls to fill small forms (muffin tins are fine) to 75% of the size of the form

AND / OR shape into loaves for larger tins, or specialty forms such as Kugelhopf moulds

Rise at room temperature until 150% to 175% of original size

Blend a full egg and brush gently onto risen shapes

Bake in a moderate oven (215C) for 20 minutes for small brioche, to 45 minutes for larger loaf size brioche

 

6 comments

 Must be that the time of year. I have been playing with Brioche too! 
I have tried a gluten free version. Similar quantities to yours Graham, except the butter, I used only about half the amount. I'll use more next time. I also slightly overcooked them: it wasn't obvious until they were cold, they were just too dry. Next time a little less liquid and less time in the oven, I reckon 12-15 miuntes for small brioche. (I used a large muffin pan - 6 x muffins). 

 

Next time I'll work at final kneading ans shaping so the crumb texture is more like the 'real' brioche.

 

While they were still warm, however, they were another reason to believe that it is possible to bake wonderful gluten free breads without gum and without any other exotic ingredients!

 Hi Graham,

Congratulations on your brioche experiments!

I have long been interested in making brioche but have been put off because all the recipes say you need a mixer to handle the batter like dough - and I don't have a mixer. Would it possible to use a hand held mixer or even stir it vigorously? Any suggestions - or will it just not be possible for me without expensive equipment?

Cheers

 Hi Peregrine,

 

I don't know how it works with regular flour, but I made the gluten free brioche by hand using a bowl and a spoon. The dough, yes, it was a dough was a little on the wet side at one stage, but resting and cooling soon took care of that.

 

Staffo

Thank you for your gluten free version Staffo. They look great. I have tried reducing butter in the past and would not be confident of retaining the brioche texture with much more than  5% less of the butter/flour ratio in this recipe. On a pure baker's percent basis, the amount of butter here is actually 48% (of total flour). (500g fresh flour + 125g flour in starter = 625g total flour,  300 butter / 625g flour x 100 = 48%).

Peregrine I made this recipe by hand the very first time, and the the result was not as good as the next time with a machine. But this is almost certainly because I stopped mixing by hand way too soon. I wasn't tired (well, just a bit), rather I mistakingly thought that the eggy mixture (before adding butter) would remain 'short' and did not have the capacity to become elastic, no matter how much I mixed it.

That presumption was confirmed as completely incorrect when I used a machine the next time around. The mixture, before adding butter, is enriched with eggs and sloppy but will eventually become an elastic dough if you just keep working it.

I would suggest taking breaks every 10 minutes. It would not surprise me if a paste like this requires 3 x 10 minute sessions (by hand), resting for 10 minutes or so between mixing. Claw your hands through the mixture to create friction...it takes a long time to resemble a (very soft) dough.

Try to get some gluten development before you add the butter.

 

 

 

Hi Graham,

 

Thank you for your recipe! 

 

I was wondering if you could uplaod a couple of pictures of the crumb. 

 

I made your brioche in a Kugelhopf style mould, it came out a little dense.  I shaped the dough in the Kugelhopf mould and left in the fridge over night, I am not sure if the metal mould would inhibit the yeast. 

 

I left it out on my counter for three hours after refrigerating it last night, then put it straight into the oven. 

 

It did not seem to rise on the counter during the three hours.  Next time I will put the dough a cane battenon for overnight refrigeration.      

 

Also I used freshly milled whole meal flour, maybe that contributed to the dense outcome.

 

Fortunately it tasted delicious!

Stoneground

Hi Stoneground. I will take and upload some crumb pictures next brioche bake. 

We relied a lot on oven spring...which was very impressive..to lift our crumb.

Please tell me more about your process...did you mix and shape straight into the tin, or did you do a long proof of the entire dough (bulk proof) before shaping and proving in the Kugelhopf tin?

Also, refrigerating any sourdough (even well bulk proofed dough) immediately after shaping, extends astronomically the amount of time it needs to rise when removed from the fridge. This is particulary the case when the form is a tin, which initially retains the cold of the fridge, and out of the fridge can act as a heat sink to draw heat away from the dough.

Sourdough that is 2/3 or so fully proven in the final proof (in tins, bannetons, etc) can be refrigerated (around 4C) for hours or several days and when removed only requires an hour at room temperature to perform well in the oven. It is even possible to bake straight from the fridge and get good results with this style of dough.

On the other hand a sourdough that has no or minimal final proofing before refrigeration, needs to recover from the cold when removed from the fridge before it can get serious about beginning the final rise. Depending on ambient temperatures, it can take 3 or 4 hours for the dough to show movement, and then another 8 or 12 or 16 hours to look like it might be ready to bake.

I suspect that 3 hours out of the fridge may not have been long enough if your unproven (?) dough came straight out of the fridge, particularly in a tin....as you observed and commented on.

There is also the issue of how efficient your domestic (?) refrigerator is....(less efficient = more rise in the fridge).

Sorry to rant...agree with all your observations...100% wholemeal contributing towards a dense crumb...and a cane banneton potentially producing faster rise than a tin. Graham