A Simple brioche – One French brioche among others
Une brioche toute simple, mais si moelleuse – Une brioche parmi tant d’autres
This brioche is simple, quite unpretentious and low-key, light, fluffy but nonetheless very tasty, just like we enjoy to have on some mornings with butter, jam and strong coffee. There are many versions and kinds of brioches, you just have to play around with quantities of eggs, flour, sugar butter and yeast, but the technique is always the same: a “pâte levée“, a “rised dough” . Pâte levée technique consists of preparing the dough the night before with a yeast, then refrigerate it overnight. The cold will enable the dough to ferment slowly in a cold environment, therfore acidity developed by the cells of the yeast will give more flavor to the ingredients and a better aspect to the dough due to the reinforcement of the tenacity of gluten.
Anyone who has been to France knows what brioche is, it’s probably as famous as Eiffel Tower, baguette and croissant. After brioche tressée that tastes more like Pain au lait (milk bread?) that I have been making for a while and the extra rich Farro brioche with goose egg, I went back to a more simple and traditional version of brioche. Retour à la simplicité.
Basically its origin goes back to Middle Ages in Normandy where similar “rised dough” have been retraced. Brioche is not considered a bread in France but a viennoiserie, which is slightly different. Techniques of making viennoiseries are similar to those of making bread but since they have more fat and sugar content, they’re considered more like pastries.
On Friday evenings when I realize I have nothing left for the Saturday morning breakfast, I start making one of those brioches, yes it needs to be prepared the night before and needs to rise in the refrigerator overnight for a light and fluffy dough. I am afraid you cannot cut any corners if you don’t have a bread-machine and will have to wait for the day after to enjoy it.
Breakfast is sacred in my little world and getting up in the morning with nothing to eat is not an option! Even though I have been living in the US for many years, I am not used to the brunch concept, I guess it’s hard to change habits. Brunch is a little confusing, it makes sense if you get up at 11 am but not if you’re up at 7 am like me and have breakfast as early as 7:30 am, call me boring but I like to stick to my traditional coffee, bread, jam and butter in the mornings. Et non, on ne se débarasse pas de ses habitudes comme ca! (no, you don’t get rid of your habits so easily!).
I have been playing around with ingredients quantities, putting less sugar than required because I love jam on my brioche slice so it’s sweet enough for me but you can certainly add more sugar in the dough if your tooth is sweeter.
Ingredients for 6 people
- 10.58 oz (300 g) flour
- 1.5 cup lukewarm milk
- 1.41 oz (40 g) sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3.17 oz (90 g) butter
- 1 dose dry yeast or fresh yeast
- 2 pinches salt
Place flour in a mixing bowl, add dry yeast (if using fresh yeast, needs to be dissolved in milk), sugar. Mix well all ingredients.
Add one egg, milk and salt and gradually mix all ingredients. When the dough has thickened, add the extra egg. Knead the dough to incorporate the egg. It might be sticky at the beginning, but keep kneading.
Add butter at the end and mix until the dough becomes elastic but not too sticky. Let it rise for 3 hours. Then, knead a little to remove the “air”.
Place in the refrigerator overnight with a plastic warp, and preventing air from getting into the container.
In the morning, remove dough from the refrigerator, knead slightly and cut in 4 equal parts and form little balls. Place each ball in a greased rectangular baking pan loaf.
Let it rise for an additional hour and cook in a pre-heated oven at 365-370F for about 40 minutes.
Let it cool and enjoy plain or with your favorite jam. I don’t usually add extra butter, since the dough has already some, but you can!
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