Based on Shannon Auton’s Blueberry Brioche from Saveur Magazine
The past few weeks, I have been watching Chopped Alton Brown’s Maniacal Baskets and Good Eats with Alton Brown and was inspired to try making some bread. On one episode of Good Eats – Fry Bread, Fry, Alton made two types of flat bread – Scallion Pancakes and Langos. I made the scallion pancakes, and they turned out pretty good, so I thought I would try the Hungarian Potato Langos. I was scared, because I haven’t had very good luck working with yeast. Half the time it never rises, but Alton made it look so easy. In the end I did get a great rise, but my dough was so sticky I had to add so much more flour, that the final product was very tough.
I had decided to give up my attempts at bread and find a cookie recipe that I hadn’t made before. As I was paging through my binder, I came across the recipe for Blueberry Brioche I had cut out of Saveur Magazine. I almost moved on, because I didn’t have any blueberries, but then I thought it would be good as a sweet bread with chocolate chips. I checked my cupboard and found I did have enough flour to make the recipe and decided to take the plunge.
Another ingredient I didn’t have was golden syrup. I have to admit, I didn’t know what golden syrup was, except for the fact that I always heard about it on The Great British Baking Show. Golden syrup is made from sugar beets or sugar cane. One of the many substitutions you can use if you don’t have golden syrup is honey. Unfortunately, my honey had crystalized, so my only option was maple syrup, which I thought would go well with the brown sugar and chocolate.
I started to bloom my yeast, but then realized I hadn’t softened my butter yet or brought my eggs to room temperature, so I had to start again an hour later. Working with yeast is tricky. If the water is too hot, you will kill off the yeast, but if the water isn’t hot enough it will just sit there. So if you are going to work with yeast, you need to have a good digital thermometer. The liquid needs to be between 105 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit to bloom the yeast properly. The original recipe indicated that the yeast should be bloomed in water, so I made sure the temperature was within range and when I added the milk that it wasn’t above 90 degrees, since the water would have cooled as the yeast was “activating.”
The original recipe called for the dough to be created by hand, but since I am a bread novice I decided to use my stand mixer so I could be sure that it was kneaded enough. I started on low speed until the flour was incorporated then moved up the speed to slow mixing (number 2 on my mixer), and kneaded the dough for 3 minutes, until the dough looked smooth. I checked the dough and it felt smooth, so I then turned it out onto a lightly floured surface and kneaded it by hand for another minute.
One problem I have always had is that most of my mixing bowls are metal, so plastic wrap doesn’t stick to it, so I never get a good seal to cover my dough. I do have a large measuring bowl with a plastic lid, but years ago my dog got a hold of the lid and chewed a few holes in it. My suggestion is to invest in a proofing tub from Amazon, because it also has a ruler on the side, so you can tell when the dough has doubled in size. Now according to the recipe, the dough should double in about an hour. I waited the hour, and nothing. I waited another hour and the dough still hadn’t risen. I did have my air conditioning on, so I thought maybe my apartment was too cold, so I took the quilted cover for my stand mixer and put it over the proofing container. Another hour passed and still no rise. By this time, it was 11 pm and I was about to give up again. I was so frustrated, because I had wasted 6 cups of flour! But then I thought, what do I have to loose, I will go to bed and see what has happened in the morning. To my utter surprise, the dough had doubled.
I rolled out the dough to approximately a 10 x 16 inch rectangle and spread the toppings. Now if any of you have ever seen Holiday Baking Championship, you will have seen them make a Yule Log, or you may have seen the competitors make a Jelly Roll or even Cinnamon Rolls. It’s the same concept for Brioche. You roll the long side of the dough tightly tucking in the contents as you do.
You will find that when you cut the dough, that the end pieces may be a bit smaller and the dough will stretch resulting in some of the individual pieces being a little wider than the others. When you grease the muffin tins, you want to spray the entire tin, including the spaces between the cups, since the dough will spread over the top as it rises and bakes. You also want to use every other cup, to allow the spreading of the dough. Gently push the dough down into each cup. If you want the brioche to have a glossy look after baking, you can brush with an egg wash made of the egg whites and water
Bake the dough at 350 degrees. Unlike cake, the toothpick test won’t work on bread. I know they say that the bread should sound hollow if tapped, but I’m not sure if what I think sounds hollow is what anyone else would think is hollow. I did find one website indicated that the internal temperature should be 190 degrees, so I started testing it around 30 minutes. The brioche should be golden brown when done. As you can see on the picture above, as the dough rises and bakes, the brown sugar will melt and caramelize. Because of this, you want to make sure that you take the brioche out of the pan while they are still warm; otherwise, as they cool, they will stick to the pan. I used my offset spatula to gently nudge each brioche our of the tin. They came out fairly easily and none of the dough stuck to the pan. I also used the spatula to scoop out all that luscious crunchy caramel to snack on as the brioche cooled.
This sweet bread can be eaten for breakfast or if you sprinkle a little Confectioner’s sugar on them, as a dessert. I hope you enjoy these as much as I have. It is definitely a recipe I will make again.
Chocolate Chip and Brown Sugar Brioche
- Servings: approx. 1 dozen
- Difficulty: medium
Credit: Saveur Magazine – Shannon Auton
- 7 grams active yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water (105-110 degrees)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1-1/2 cups light brown sugar
- 1 cup warm milk (90 degrees)
- 10 tablespoons softened butter
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 2 egg yolks, room temperature
- 2 egg whites (for egg wash – optional)
- 6 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- vegetable oil spray
- 1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, refrigerated or frozen
- Confectioner’s sugar (optional)
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, dissolve yeast and granulated sugar in 1/4 cup warm water. Let sit for 10 minutes to bloom the yeast.
- Measure the flour and salt into another bowl.
- To the yeast, add 3/4 cup of the light brown sugar, warm milk, softened butter, maple syrup, eggs and egg yolks and stir until mixed.
- Attach your bread hook and add flour mixture to the yeast.
- Once the dough comes together, knead the dough about 3-4 minutes until smooth.
- Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead about another minute by hand.
- Spray your proofing bowl or container lightly with the vegetable spray, so the dough won’t stick as it rises.
- Let dough rise until it doubles, approximately an hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently for about 30 seconds.
- Roll dough into a 10 x 16 inch rectangle and sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup brown sugar and chilled chocolate chips.
- Tightly roll the longer side of the dough, like a jelly roll, tucking in the filling as you go.
- Cut dough into 12 equal portions, approximately 1-1/3 inches each.
- Spray two – 12 muffin tins with vegetable spray. Place slices flat side up in alternating spaces, gently pushing them down into the tin.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 15 minutes.
- Uncover and bake for 30-35 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 190 degrees and golden brown.
- Transfer brioche to cooling rack. Before serving, sprinkle lightly with Confectioner’s sugar if desired.
- Replace semi-sweet chocolate chips with toffee chips, butterscotch chips or frozen berries.
- Replace water with warmed Cointreau.
- Replace half of the chocolate chips with walnut or pecan chips.