A Tried, Tested and True Brioche Recipe

brioche nanterre strawberry rhubarb jam

Or two actually, but let’s not rush there.

Updating images of old posts has been on my list forever. I’ve come to a place with my photography where it’s getting somewhat embarrassing to face my early works… I try to focus on the progress but still, I realize those images are not good. Not that I’m super satisfied with what I make now, clearly there is room for improvement but I’ll stop the moaning right there. Confidence comes with practice, there’s really no other way of going about it.

Changing visuals for this Easter challah made me recognise it’s not just the images – recipes evolve too. And while I totally vouch for that one, I’ve been using an updated version lately and it’s time to share!

Brioche is a French pastry, an enriched bread with high egg and butter content. It has a lovely, rich and tender crumb making it ideal for many, many things. I use this type of dough not only when making a braided challah for the holiday table, but for all the sweet rolls, buns, knots, braids and babkas on my repertoire as well.

The ingredients are pretty basic, the method is not complicated either but admittedly there is one tricky bit, and that’s proofing. That is where brioche-making can go south. You have to pay close attention to achieve the perfect rise, but – good news! – I’ve found a way around having to babysit your dough.

It’s the overnight method, putting the controlled environment of your fridge to good use. Ever since I’ve first made the dough this way, I never gone back to the same-day process again and I guess that says it all.

But why was I teasing two recipes? It’s simple. First, there’s the base recipe to bear every sweet filling you can think of. But when I don’t fill the dough, I want the absolute sweetest, most delicate texture I can create (hint: even more sugar and fat).

When you master this dough, the possibilities become endless. All you need to do is plan a night ahead.

Overnight Brioche Dough for Filling

  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Rich and tender French pastry, the basis for your sweet baking

Ingredients

500 g AP flour

1 packet active dry yeast

1 tsp salt

50 g sugar

1 egg + 1 yolk + 1 egg for eggwash (if recipe calls for it)

300 ml warm milk

50 g unsalted butter, softened

Directions

  1. Assemble dough the night before you want to bake. Sieve the flour, salt and yeast into the bowl of your mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.
  2. Add sugar to warm milk (make sure milk isn’t hot, it could kill the yeast), stir to dissolve.
  3. Make a well in the flour, add egg, yolk and milk mixture. Set machine to low.
  4. When dough comes together, increase speed to medium and gradually add butter, leaving time between each addition for butter and dough to fully combine.
  5. Continue mixing on medium until a shiny, elastic ball of dough is formed, not sticking to the bowl.
  6. Transfer dough to a lightly floured, clean bowl, cover with cling foil. Let ferment on the counter for 1 h (45 min if your kitchen is warm).
  7. Transfer to the fridge overnight. The next morning dough should be double its original size.
  8. Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F). Turn out chilled dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll, divide, fill, braid, etc. according to your recipe. Let rest 30 min. before transferring to oven.
  9. Bake until golden, 30-45 min. Enjoy!

Overnight Brioche Dough

  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Rich and tender French pastry, sweet enough without filling and perfect for braiding.

Ingredients

500 g AP flour

1 packet active dry yeast

1 tsp salt

15 g vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)

45 g sugar (60 g if using vanilla extract)

1 egg + 1 yolk + 1 egg for eggwash, beaten

200 ml milk

100 ml heavy cream

50 g unsalted butter, softened

Directions

  1. Assemble dough the night before you want to bake. Sieve the flour, salt and yeast into the bowl of your mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.
  2. Mix milk with cream, add sugar and vanilla sugar. If you can’t get vanilla sugar, use 60 g sugar and add 1 tsp vanilla extract. Slightly warm mixture in microwave, making sure milk is not hot (it could kill the yeast). Stir until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Make a well in the flour, add egg, yolk and milk mixture. Set machine on low.
  4. When dough comes together, increase speed to medium and gradually add butter, leaving time between each addition for butter and dough to fully combine. Continue mixing on medium until a shiny, elastic ball of dough is formed, not sticking to the bowl.
  5. Transfer dough to a lightly floured, clean bowl, cover with cling foil. Let ferment on the counter for 1 h (45 min if your kitchen is warm).
  6. Transfer to the fridge overnight. The next morning dough should be double its original size.
  7. Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F). Turn out chilled dough onto a lightly floured surface and braid. Line a baking tray with parchment paper, carefully transfer dough to tray. Wash with egg.
  8. Let rise 30 min, wash with egg again.
  9. Transfer to oven, bake until golden (30-45 min). Enjoy!

Love,

Fruzsi

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Yeast Dough & The Book That Made Me Do It

yeast dough title image

Earlier this year in the post on baking challah I’ve told you about my weird fear of yeast dough. That was the very first recipe I tried and to my geniune surprise, I was successful right away. Looking back at it now, I just can’t comprehend what I was so anxious about.

If you follow my Facebook page you have seen how since then I started conquering the once-dreaded yeast dough kingdom one pastry at a time, and I’m proud to say not one batch ended up in the bin so far. This makes it even harder for me to understand my former concerns.

Playing my own therapist, I’ve come to the realization that the core problem was both my grandmothers being famously good at baking. Just bear with me, I’ll explain!

I think it’s that they made it look so simple. Effortless. Like adding yeast to flour and a few other simple ingredients to make a living, breathing dough was something so basic no explanation whatsoever is needed.

Also when I was inquiring about a recipe, they usually said there is not really a recipe. My child, this is but the simplest thing. When asked how much of this or that, the answer either was some, you’ll feel it or a few spoonfuls (but with that specific spoon inherited from this great-grandmother or the other).

I don’t remember them measuring ingredients by the gram, and the dough wonderfully came together and has risen perfectly anyway, every single time. Decades of practice and experience was on their side, something I lacked. So I just gave up on yeast. Funny how I made soufflés, crème brûlées or pâte à choux over the years without ever doubting myself, but a dough that needs rising? Not me.

Besides something snapping around Easter, there was also an impulse purchase that gave me a push in the right direction by insisting yeast dough is not rocket science (news flash: it really isn’t), and that was the cookbook Limara Péksége (Limara’s Bakery) by Tóthné Libor Mária.

limara peksege cookbook cover

Public Service Announcement: Although it is not available in English, I believe non-Hungarian readers would also enjoy the review of this book.

Marcsi is a wife and mother of two who „… was an average housewife with an average kitchen” until her mother gave her a bread machine one Christmas. She says she’s obsessed with homemade breads and pastries ever since, and that was when she found her real passion.

Starting her blog in 2008, she simply wanted to create a platform for her recipes and was shocked to see it become so widely popular in such short time. And while Limara Péksége might not be the shiniest blog out there design and visuals-wise, each and every recipe is guaranteed to work.

With her immense knowledge acquired over the years, Limara is creating genuine content for us time after time. She gets loads of feedback in her comments, is invited to every major gastro-themed event in the country, does tons of interviews and workshops and is a judge for numerous baking contests.

The idea of a book was originally suggested by her readers. Her first volume, published in 2014, (2 more came out since) is a collection of her best, foolproof bread and pastry recipes she has perfected over time, a compilation of her favorites.

In the beautifully styled and photographed hardcover (credit to Réka Kövesdi), you’ll learn about ingredients, the 12-steps of bread baking, and get a guide of the essential equipment along the recipes. Marcsi also included her tips, plus detailed photos and graphics to help you with the trickier parts of the process.

limara peksege cookbook quickview

After you’ve learnt the basics, it’s time to start baking. You’ll find Marcsi’s mouthwatering, tried and true recipes for breads, challahs and doughnuts, crescents and buns, sweet and savory fortified doughs, puff pastry with yeast and last but not least, scones and pretzels.

I love how straightforward the book’s style is, encouraging you to forget your reservations and just do it. It’s all about showing you how simple baking really is, without unnecessarily overcomplicating anything. When I make something from Limara’s Bakery, I feel like Marcsi is reassuringly holding my hand along the steps.

You can get a sneak peek of the book on the publisher’s website here.

My copy has become the Nr. 1 on my shelf for home baking and is now full of post-its with my notes. Watching dough come to life is magic in itself, and when the smell from the oven makes the fam gather in the kitchen, well that is true bliss.

Looks like I needed to turn 30 to fall head over heals for yeast dough, but it was well worth the wait. No stopping me now.

Love,

Fruzsi

*Disclaimer: The aforementioned publication was featured on My Chest Of Wonders with the author’s permission. The review of the book represents my genuine and unbiased opinion, I do not earn a commission after purchases, nor am I being compensated in any other way.*

“Making dessert dough” photo featured in title image © freepik