It’s just as well that week 2 of the Great British Bake Off was bread as I’ve been slightly obsessed with yeast driven baked goods of late. In particular, brioche, king of the dirty breads!
Brioche is an enriched dough, which means that it includes butters, eggs and sugar in the mix. Definitely not a bread for those on a diet!
My first foray into brioche was earlier in August for our Dinner at the Manor – Manor vs Food supperclub event – I made mini brioche burger buns for our slider canape (manapé?) and was immediately hooked! This isn’t an ultra traditional way for making brioche, it’s more of an all in one method but I think it works a treat.
I’ve made a few more batches since then and really wanted to try making a sweet loaf from the base brioche recipe, so here it is, my chocolate, and pistachio wreath loaf… and what a loaf she is!
Soft, buttery bread stuffed with chocolate chips. The softness of the bread is then nicely contrasted by the crunch of the pistachio and the wonderful dark crust of the egg washed brioche. This makes a wonderful breakfast bread and goes down almost too well with a nice coffee! Pain au chocolat Sticky Pinny style!
I won’t lie and say that brioche is an easy loaf, it’s sticky and messy. It also takes time and benefits from an overnight chill in the fridge so set aside enough to make it! My work was immediately made easier with the help of Ina my beloved KitchenAid but you can do this by hand – be prepared to get messy and get a good workout on the old arms!
Being the generous person that I am the benefactors of the large loaf were my co-workers, ( I made two individual buns for myself and the husband) I don’t like to bring things too often as I don’t want to be accused of being a feeder, plus it means they don’t get sick of my creations! I think they enjoyed it, most of it was gone before 9am! And yes, if you are wondering, I was up at 5am to shape, prove and bake these babies.
The dough lends itself to different flavours, so don’t feel like you have to use chocolate or pistachio. Cinnamon and raisin would be a good combo, but good old plain buns would be great for burgers, or bacon sandwiches!
Please do give this a try, I think I’ve cracked it with a really nice spin on brioche.
Chocolate and Pistachio Brioche
Makes 1 massive loaf, 2 standard 500g loaves or about 10 individual rolls
For the Brioche
500g strong white flour
250g softened butter
4 large eggs
50g caster sugar
1 tsp salt
2 x 7g sachets of fast action yeast
4 tsp milk
For the Filling
200g chocolate (I used dark) chopped into 1/2 cm pieces or chocolate chips
75g pistachios chopped
1 egg, beaten
Firstly you need to make the brioche – you need to mix all the brioche ingredients together until combined into a shaggy mess. I used my mixer and dough hook for this on a low speed and this took about 5-10 minutes. By hand this could take up to 15 and it will get messy!
Scrape the mixer down, it should start to resemble a shaggy dough and continue to knead until the gluten stretches out and you have a nice smooth ball of dough. this may take about 15 mins, up to 30 mins if doing this by hand.
At this point add the chocolate chips / chopped chocolate and knead through quickly and evenly through the dough. If you want to make a plain brioche then skip this part and the next few stages until you get to the shaping part!
Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave for about an hour. after an hour, pop the covered bowl in the fridge for at least 2 hours, you need the butter to chill right down so its easy to shape. I tend to leave this overnight. You can also leave the dough at this stage for a few days and use it as necessary, or freeze and defrost.
Once chilled, you’re really to roll! Choose any which way you want – I chose a wreath, but you can roll into a round loaf, use a tin, make small knots etc. Just freestyle and it’ll be fine! Place the rolled brioche on a lined / greased baking tray and loosely cover with cling film. The brioche will now need to prove until about 1.5 times the size.
Preheat the oven to 220c
Glaze the brioche with the beaten egg and really sprinkle with the pistachios. Place in the oven for 10 minutes and then turn it down to 180c. Cooking times will vary according to the shapes you’ve made. individual rolls can take about 15-20 minutes in total, a 500g loaf will take about 30-35 and a massive loaf like my wreath will take about 45 minutes. You’ll know when the brioche is golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped.
Leave to cool on a rack for as long as you can stand it and then gorge!
I’d love to know what your sweet bread flavour combinations are?