The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Salute! Monsieur Eric Kayser - Sourdough Brioche with Raspberries

Shiao-Ping's picture

Salute! Monsieur Eric Kayser - Sourdough Brioche with Raspberries

I am a sucker for vivid colors.  Last year when I was in Japan on my self-guided pastry eating tour, I discovered a brioche bread with  bright red candy almonds at Susumu Koyama's gorgeous pastry shop in Santien, two hours southwest of Kyoto.  It's hard to believe EVERY morning people from all over the country queue up in front of Patissier es Koyama in this small city, waiting for it to open its door, much like that in front of Pierre Herme's patissier in Paris.  At the time I did not know these little red cruchy candies are "pink pralines" (or "pralines roses" in French originating from Lyon) which are made of almonds and sugar.   

Yesterday I was sitting on my balcony reading when I saw this picture in "Eric Kayser's New French Recipes":  

Brioche with Pink Pralines (page 117 of "Eric Kayser's New French Recipes")

It brings back memories. The color is so beautiful it makes me want to make it, but I have no pink pralines so I have to improvise.  Before I could think of what to do, I thought I'd just first refresh my starter.  Kayser's recipe uses commercial yeast but what's the point of following it - that may just be too easy.    I thought of making my own pink pralines but that would mean I'll have to use red food coloring, which I am reluctant to do.  In the end I settled with a punnet of fresh raspberries for the coloring effect.  

Towards yesterday evening when my starter almost tripped, I mixed the bioche dough.  I did not know how my starter would perform with all the butter and eggs in the dough but I just wanted to try.  I don't have a brioche tin so I used what I have.  Years of making souffle tells me that I need to line the sides of the tin with double parchment paper just in case it expands out of it.  I left it at room temperature for a couple of hours then put it into the fridge for retarding overnight.  This morning I took it out of the fridge and it had barely increased in volume.  I let it stand in my balcony to proof for 4 hours.  This is what it looked like when it doubled in volume, half way through proofing :  


            sourdough brioche dough 

 I turned on my oven to 200C.  Then, when it rose a further 50% in volume, I prepared my egg wash as below:  


                                                                               egg wash  

I brushed it on the top of the dough, placed it in the oven, and immediately lowered the temp to 170C.  There was a good oven spring; the dough expanded a further 50% within the first 4 - 5 mins of baking.  It baked for 35 mins in total and this is the result:  

Sourdough Brioche with Raspberries  


                                                        The crumb

I can't say I am happy with the outcome.  The flavor is good; the curmb is moist but it is not open enough.  The mouth feel is not light enough as a result.  Perhaps my choice of tin does not allow the dough to expand as easily as a proper brioche tin (which opens out very widely).   Well, I shall see to it next time.   

With a slice of this plus cream and homemade raspberry jam, I toast to Monsieur Eric Kayser with my Oolong tea on my sunny balcony!  


                           Winter morning on my balcony



TeaIV's picture

how neat! yet another creative creation.



good job.


SylviaH's picture

Beautiful and tasty looking.  I use cranberries a lot in cakes and and it's always a bonus with their color when it's sliced.


xaipete's picture

Yes, very nice looking and wonderful photos too.


ques2008's picture

nice view from your balcony as well.  the brioche/wonderful view combo is what makes life worth living.  great job!

Bixmeister's picture

 Shiao-Ping, beautiful looking Brioche!  Looks delicious to me.



Paddyscake's picture

I would be a very happy recipient of that lovely raspberry brioche...

Do you think the sourdough starter made a difference in the crumb? I find my sourdough loaves seem to be denser in chew/mouth feel, not as light as yeasted versions.


Shiao-Ping's picture

Thank you everyone for your kind remarks.

Hi Betty, I am beginning to think that sourdough starter is a waste on brioche.  Eric Kayser's brioche is done with fresh yeast.  There must be a good reason why masters do it with commercial yeast.  As brioche is so rish you want it to taste light and airy; sourdough starter just doesn't do a good job in that.  There is no doubt that the wild yeast in sourdough culture is not as powerful as various forms of commercial yeast. 

Thank you for all of your comments.

xaipete's picture

Fresh yeast might be the best choice for brioche. As I understand it, each type of yeast has its benefits. I've made brioche but I don't recall what type of yeast I used. It might have been fresh. Recently I made croissants with a sourdough starter, but it incorporated some instant yeast as well. I got a light crumb on the produce but didn't care for the flavor.

On fresh yeast, CI says:

The original commercial yeast, known as fresh, compressed, or cake yeast is about 70 percent water by weight and is composed of 100 percent living cells. It is soft and crumbly and requires no proofing—fresh yeast will dissolve if it is simply rubbed into sugar or dropped into warm liquid. Owing to qualities associated with its strain, fresh yeast will produce the most carbon dioxide of all three types of yeasts during fermentation. Fresh yeast is considered fast, potent, and reliable, but it has a drawback: it is highly perishable and must be refrigerated and used before its expiry date.


Kuret's picture

the part about 100% living yeast cells is not quite true, from a living yeast cells persective instant yeast is the most favorable. The fact that fresh yeast is so perishable makes for the fact that when you use your yeast (probably several days since it left the factory) part of it has already died. However the fresh yeast is not dormant so doughs tend to come to life quicker and more reliably as insant takes a lot of time to reactivate in colder doughs. That is why I think that fresh yeast is recomended, also in some parts of europe like Sweden where I live, fresh yeast is the norm. We buy it in 50g (2oz) packs in every grocery, comes in blue and red varieties blue for lean bread and red for sweet dough.


Suas writes about this matter in Advanced bread and pastries but I can not give an exact quote as I do not have the book on hand right now. Fresh yeast has other effects too, the increased amount of dead yeast cells makes for a more extensible dough as dying yeast cells excrete a dough conditioning cemical.

xaipete's picture

I looked through Suas' book but couldn't find anything about the composition of fresh yeast. What I quoted was from Cook's Illustrated. They are a very reputable source of information so I will give them the benefit of the doubt on this one.