It was an ordinary day until my best friend from college called me up. It is such a pleasure to talk to your school or college mates after years. And what better than fixing up a meeting with them !
Yes, I was so excited that my best friend was coming down to meet me at my place. We were meeting almost after 7 years. She was coming to town for a wedding.
I started preparing for her arrival. The first thing that came to my mind was the dishes I’m going to serve her when she would be here. Being a baker by profession and by passion, how could I miss on to baking something very special for my special mate? Brioche! It just struck my mind like a pendulum strikes the clock. And I was sure of preparing that for her.
For those who are not familiar with what Brioche is?? It is a pastry or bread of French origin. Brioche is a very rich but amazingly light to have. It is perfect for breakfast or for hi-tea sessions (the one like mine…).
My friend absolutely loved it and requested me to bake another batch for her to carry with herself.
As I pen down this recipe today, the memories of that wonderful evening fill me down with joy, the joy that I cannot put into words.
For Brioche Dough
For pastry cream (to be used as a filling)
|Whole milk||1 cup plus 1 tbsp||250 gms|
|Butter||2 tbsp||25 gms|
|Granulated sugar||5 tbsp||64 gms|
|Vanilla bean||1/2 bean|
|Corn starch||1 tbsp||10 gms|
|All purpose flour /custard powder||1 tbsp||10 gms|
|Egg yolks||About 4 egg yolks||60 gms|
The Procedure for baking…
- Day before baking
- Before beginning the procedure, make certain that your liquid ingredients (milk, eggs, egg yolk and butter) are cold.
- In the bowl of a 5 quart stand mixer, mix the flour, granulated sugar , instant yeast, salt, milk, eggs, egg yolk and lemon zest at low speed until the clean up stage (the sides of the bowl comes clean).
- While the ingredients are mixing, make the butter pliable by hammering it with a rolling pin.
- Increase the mixing speed to medium and slowly start adding the butter to the dough in stages. Remember to wait between additions until the sticky, slapping noise in the mixer has subsided.
- Mix until all the butter has been incorporated into the dough and the dough is well developed with a nice gluten structure. Check the dough with a gluten window test you should be able to stretch a nice thin membrane without tearing.
- Remove the dough from the mixer and work it into a ball. Gently press it down to flatten and wrap it into a plastic wrap and put it in freezer for a minimum of 6 hours. The dough can remain frozen for up to 2 weeks. The night before baking, take the dough out of the freezer and transfer into the refrigerator.
- Baking Day
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to warm up at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
- Using a scale and bench scrapper, divide the dough into 50 gms roundels.
- Work the units into small balls.
- Spray two loaf pans with non stick spray and place ten units of dough into each loaf pan, 2 rows of 5 dough balls each.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough proof until the dough doubles in size for about 1 to 2 hours, depending upon the room temperature and the temperature of the dough when taken out of the refrigerator.
- Mix up the egg wash and preheat convection oven to 165 degrees Celsius.
- When the dough has doubled in size. Brush the tops of the loaves with the egg wash. You can sprinkle the buns with some pearl sugar/cinnamon sugar on top (This is optional, though).
- Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until the top of the bread has a nice rich brown color .
The Procedure for Pastry cream…
- In a saucepan, take the whole milk, 32 grams sugar and vanilla bean seeds and pod. Stir with a whisk and place over medium heat.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whisk the cornstarch and the flour together with the remaining 32 grams of sugar. Whisk in the egg yolks too.
- When the milk mixture comes to a boil, turn off the heat and remove the vanilla bean (set it on a sheet of paper towel to dry to use it at a later stage). Whisk half of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Strain the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk.
- Turn the heat back onto medium and whisk the mixture from the sides to bottom edges so that the mixture does not scorch. As soon as you feel that the mixture is becoming slightly thick at the bottom of the pan, remove it from the heat and whisk for about 30 seconds until the mixture is thick and thoroughly uniform. Put the saucepan to medium heat and bring to boil whisking constantly. Cook whisking for another 1 minute to cook out the starch flavor.
- Immediately remove the pastry cream from the heat and mix butter and whisk it continuously to soften and incorporate the butter.
- Transfer the pastry cream to a plastic lined sheet pan. Spread in a flat and even layer and place another sheet of plastic wrap on top of it to avoid skin formation. Place the sheet pan in freezer to cool the cream rapidly and stop the growth of bacteria. This should take around 15 minutes.
- During this whole process, pastry cream separated a little, so once it is cold, place in a medium mixing bowl and whisk until it has a uniform and creamy look. Scrape into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Pour the pastry cream into a piping bag with a big star nozzle. Cut the brioche horizontally from midway and start piping big mounds of stars in circular motion. Then place the other half on top of it. Brioche is best eaten at this time.
P.S. Do not refrigerate filled brioche for long hours.
And if you want an expert to bake it for you… order at Sugar Blush, Raipur.