Sunday, October 16, 2011

Brioche - For World Bread Day

Today is World Bread Day! For those of us who are new to this, October 16th was declared as the World Bread Day by the International Union of Bakers and Bakers-Confectioners (IUB) a few years ago. Zorra at  Kochtopf  hosts this day as an event on food blogs, this being the 6th edition. She invites bloggers to participate in this event, by baking a bread and posting it on their blogs on 16th October. This day also is World Food day and in Zorra's words, 'Is a day that should heighten our awareness of the world food problem and strengthen solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty. Of course we can not solve this problem by baking a bread, but perhaps some of us will share their baked bread with someone who is not as lucky as we are.''  As a new bread baker, I am very happy and proud to be participating in this event. Here comes my attempt at baking brioche for World Bread Day!

Brioche is a very rich French bread which is baked with eggs and butter. It has a very tender crumb and a flaky crust and is often characterized by its deep golden crust which is the result of the amount of sugar in the dough, an egg wash adding to the deep color. Brioche has quite a high fat ratio of flour to fat as much as 3:1. The classic form of brioche called the Brioche à tête or parisienne  is a big round ball of dough formed and placed in a fluted flared tin ( think a tart mold) with a smaller ball of dough placed on top of it. This is also baked in individual smaller molds and also baked as a loaf - a Brioche Nanterre.  Source Wikipedia. Other forms of brioche are buns and braids.

Before I tell you any more, I have tried baking brioche earlier and it did not make it to the blog as it developed a huge split (which did not look rustic or any such appealing thing) as it baked, and I probably generously contributed other variables to the not-successful bread. Nevertheless it was an otherwise good loaf and I made a Nutella Brioche Pudding out of it. A very very frequent visitor to the talented Champa's Versatile Kitchen this bread has been on my to-try wish list among a lot lot more breads on her blog. 

 If you have not yet checked her space, you absolutely must! Her repertoire of breads and other bakes among other things will surely inspire you to bake! This brioche is a recipe she has adapted from 'Bread Machine Baking' by Lora Brody and Millie Apter and Champa has made it a reduced fat, egg less version. I have made it with eggs and added a splash of vanilla, while the rest of the recipe remains the same.

I have played safe this time around and stuck to Champa's original recipe except for the eggs in place of the silken tofu puree she has used. The brioche rose beautifully as it baked, had a golden dark crust, sliced so well, was soft and tasty to eat as is fresh out of the oven. I have shaped the brioche as she has done, with 6  buns placed side by side in my 9*5 loaf tin. 

I must confess the bread did not look glamorous as the balls of dough did not grow into each other smoothly and were looking kind of pulled apart. I was again in a dilemma, but could not resist posting this as it turned out so good, everything in place except for absence of the smooth coming together of the buns to form a loaf. Hopefully this should classify as a fairly decent attempt. You tell me!

         You can find Champa's recipe here
  • All Purpose Flour - 328 grams plus 1 or 2 tablespoons if /as needed (please refer note)
  • Vital Wheat Gluten - 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons , 25 grams approximately
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Sugar - 6 tablespoons
  • Instant yeast - 2 1/2 teaspoons
  • Butter - 4 tablespoons or 1/2 a stick melted and cooled (this is less than what's in the original recipe from the book)
  • Warm water - 6 tablespoons
  • 2 extra-large eggs, refer note (or Silken tofu blended and measured - 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon )
  • Vanilla - 1 teaspoon
  • 1 whisked egg for brushing on top ( you will not need all of it)
  • Some butter for brushing the loaf after baking
Method: Mix together the flour, gluten and salt very well. Keep aside. Whisk the eggs lightly (just enough, no need to whip up a volume), add the vanilla . Set aside. Mix in yeast with warm water and sugar.  Add melted butter and egg mixture. Slowly add flour and make the dough. The dough must be soft and silky, but not sticky. Take care not to add too much flour here as the bread will be dry. It really helps to use a bread machine or a stand mixer here. 

 I have gradually added 2 tablespoons of flour here to get the dough to this consistency. Knead the dough for 10 minutes and place in a well oiled bowl, turn the dough once and cover it with a clean towel. Let it rise till double in volume. This took 45 minutes. This time may vary.  Deflate the dough. Make 8 balls out of the dough and place them side by side in very well greased 9'' X 5'' loaf pan. Cover with a greased aluminum foil and let it rest in a warm place for an hour or till doubled. This again took about 50 minutes.

Towards the end of the rise time, preheat the oven to 190 degrees C / 375 F. Just before placing the pan in the oven, brush the top with the the whisked egg. A silicon brush works really well here.  Place it in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Stick around and watch how beautifully it rises! It was already a very good golden brown after 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and tent with aluminum foil to prevent too much browning. The aluminum foil I had placed kept continuously slipping off the loaf as it touched the walls of the microwave and I had to open the door and set it right a couple of times. 

 Reduce the temperature to 180 degrees C / 350 F and bake for another 15 - 20 minutes. I baked for 15 minutes, the temperature on the instant read thermometer read 202 F. In case you don't have an instant read thermometer it should sound hollow when tapped and should have a beautiful golden brown crust. Remove from the oven and brush the top with butter. Remove to wire rack after 5 minutes and let it cool completely before slicing. I had a tough time getting the loaf out from the tin. The egg-wash had dripped down to the bottom and also helped glue the loaf to the sides of the well greased non-stick pan as well.


Flour : Champa uses 2 2/3 cup of bread flour. One cup of bread flour is one cup APF plus 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten.
I have used  328 grams grams of APF plus 25 grams of vital wheat gluten to make the bread flour. One cup of APF measured by scoop flour into the cup and level method weighs 130 grams. I have weighed 2 2/3 cups taken out 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons flour and replaced it with 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of gluten. Whew!

Eggs: The recipe specifies 2 extra large eggs, one large egg weighs 48 grams without shell. I have approximately taken 120 grams of egg (without shell) as 2 extra large eggs. Maybe this was a bit more, so I had to add 2 tbsp flour extra. I think 2 eggs should work. Do tell me what worked for you!  Champa has used 1/2 cup plus one tablespoon pureed silken tofu in place of the eggs. She has used a mixture of 1 tsp milk and 1 tsp olive oil  in place of the egg wash for brushing before baking.

The bread was soft and just about sweet. I had thought that it would be sweet with 6 tablespoons sugar, but it wasn't. I guess its because it makes such a huge loaf! I sliced, took the pictures (in very low day light, thanks to the cloudy weather here in Bangalore), stood near the kitchen counter and ate 2 slices with some orange marmalade. Yumm!( I normally don't like eating bread without toasting). My son thinks its a better idea for me to bake brioche instead of regular bread everyday! Champa says brioche makes great croutons, I must try that next time I bake this.

This is another keeper of a recipe from you Champa, thanks so much!

Needless to say, the brioche goes to Zorra's 6th edition of World Bread Day . Thank you Zorra, you make me feel proud of being a home bread-baker!

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Divya Kudua said...

Kudos to you for taking up bread baking so seriously.Earlier,I used to do the yeast-blame-game but now I guess I should just put the blame on myself for not venturing into bread baking.Probably it is only a starting trouble,I would so like to bake beautiful breads like you do..someday I will!!

Tina said...

Perfectly baked..Looks soo soft and delicious..

Sayantani Mahapatra Mudi said...

oh wow!Brioche at home!!!will definitely try this...

Madhuli said...

The Brioche looks fabulous.The crust looks perfect and the bread itself looks very soft.Am envious to see the vital gluten in the list of ingredients:) Tried to contact IBCA but didn't get any response,guess a visit to Bangalore is on the cards :)

Divya Shankar said...

Lovely effort and happy food day !! Read your post on yeast and its basics - was very helpful.
I will have to venture into basic bread baking only after becoming an expert in cakes :) For now, I am performing some serious experiments with cakes.
Baked a vanilla and chocolate marble cake over the weekend, it came out Ok, in that it became little less sweet. Could not grab pictures of the end product, always miss out on this aspect.

Sum said...

It looks awesome, Suma!

Saee Koranne-Khandekar said...

What a lovely crumb! That crust is perfect, too!

Archana said...

Great work Suma, was waiting to see what you'd come up with for World Bread day after reading your last post...This looks really good and love the colour of the crust...Do you use and oven, OTG or convection microwave for this ? Would any of these really make a difference in the way the bread bakes ?

himabindu1103 said...

dear suma,
i have been following your blog from past 2 months,you are doing a great job, helping home bakers like myself.i use LG microwave oven which gives dissapointing results some times,plz let me know which micro/OTG you use.

thank you
hima bindu

Suma Rowjee said...

@Divya - Am sure its just starting trouble, you will soon be baking breads!
@Tina, Sayantani,Saee, Sumana - Thanks gurls!
@Madhuli - Did u email IBCA?
@Divya - Thanks! Now you have another excuse to bake that marble cake again ;-)

Suma Rowjee said...

@Arch & Himabindu - Thanks so much!

I use a LG convection microwave as well, same pinch :)I have baked this in the microwave. I find that the browning is even faster and better in an OTG. But with breads which have more sugar plus egg wash, you MUST get a good color, no matter what you bake in.

Priya Suresh said...

Lovely crust, love brioche with nutella even for everyday's breakfast,looks prefect Suma..

zorra said...

Perfect Brioche. You are really a new bread baker? My first loaves were a disaster. ;-)

Thank you for participating in World Bread Day 2011.

zareena.b said...

Perfectly baked dear. You rock Suma. They look very inviting, shiny and perfect.

bestgiftstokolkata said...

Your brioche look looks so light and fluffy. And the color is absolutely bakery like. I will try this recipe soon and let you know how it turns out.