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Brioche help and other random questions, appreciate any kind of help!

lennardy's picture
lennardy

Brioche help and other random questions, appreciate any kind of help!

Okay, sort intro: I only started baking bread about 3 weeks ago, I've been trying to find a good brioche burger bun, so far I've done the bun Heston uses in his perfect burger. I went into this blind, no knowledge about the science behind the yeast, flour etc... I put in too much yeast into this and it tasted pretty bad, texture was good though, but too many ingredients for my liking. I then tried a brioche bun recipe incorporating the tangzhong method. I cant find that recipe right now, but it was moderately successful, I felt that it wasn't buttery enough. I had another attempt to modify a brioche recipe but it turned out to be a disaster, not much learnt other than I shouldn't modify things too much if I dont have a clear understanding of things.

This is my latest attempt, I used Thomas Keller's brioche recipe: It tastes a little more like a buttery pound cake than bread, I believe this is due to the amount of cake flour in the recipe(2.5 cups cake flour and 2 cups AP), my sister says it's because the bread was overproofed

I have a couple of questions:

1) Is the bread supposed to be this texture? Is it this texture due to the cake flour or over rising the dough?

2) Did the bread crack because I didn't score the top?

3) Whats a good brioche recipe I should attempt if burger buns are my end game?

4) For the first rise, I usually rise it in an air conditioned room(23C) for about an hour, punch/fold&press down, rise a second time in the fridge overnight, shape the dough, either into rolls or in a loaf pan, then cover and rise for 6 to 8 more hours in the fridge. My question here is, can you basically rise(2nd and 3rd rise) dough in the fridge for extended periods of time(8-12h)? Will this cause the dough to be over proofed?

5) Can the fat% of a recipe, or the fat to flour ratio be varied? If I find a dough not buttery enough, can I simply add in more butter? How do I know that the dough will be able to hold in the fat?

6) Is this tangzhong method worth pursuing? I understand that it gives bread volume and longer shelf life, but I can't seem to find a reliable way to modify regular recipes to incorporate the Tangzhong method, since the method introduces quite a lot of liquid into the dough

7) Do all aerated(?) breads benefit from bread improver? Why don't I see more recipes using this since it seems like there are many benefits to  use this

8) Is there a way to tell if you have over kneaded the dough?

Appreciate any helps/replies

 

 

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

I can't think in cups and volume measurements, but one thing is certain: a brioche is not supposed to look like your cake. Cake flour is good for cakes and non-levained goods, for brioche you need AP flour, eventually enriched with bread flour. Generally you need more gluten as the percentage of fats and sugar grows. I don't have experience with american flours, so I can't recommend brands.

If you use soooo many egg whites the brioche will dry soon. I would replace all egg whites with the same weight of whole milk. I'd go with at least 50% butter with respect to flour if you want to taste the butter. Eggs mask all tastes, particularly butter and sugar.

The tangzhong will make the crumb much softer and make it remain soft for several days. I would absolutely use it. Generally it requires more liquids than the ones called for in the recipe.

There's absolutely no need for bread improvers if you use 6 egg yolks. You already have all you need.

Finally, extensive kneading (explained so many times by txfarmer) is the key to get a perfect brioche. A no-knead or short knead brioche is an oxymoron.

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

Taking your questions in turn:

1) Is the bread supposed to be this texture? I expect that Keller has designed this brioche to be pound-cake like in texture, for the simple reason that he uses it for bread pudding.  Many people prefer a lighter, higher-rising crumb, which is achieved with stronger flour, like an unbleached AP with 11% protein.

Is it this texture due to the cake flour or over rising the dough? It's probably from the low-protein cake flour, working in tandem with the high butter content. 

2) Did the bread crack because I didn't score the top?  Yup.

3) Whats a good brioche recipe I should attempt if burger buns are my end game?  My choice would be a black pepper brioche with some cooked sweet potato in it for softness and moistness (sweet potato flavor does not come through, it is just there for texture and color).  Others might make different choices, perhaps a sesame seed kaiser roll.  I like Rose Beranbaum's standard recipe, following the sweet potato variation.  It's possible that the sweet potato variation might be too soft and turn to mush when the burger's juices hit it, but if you grill it a little on the cut side you should be good. 

4) ...Will this cause the dough to be over proofed? Depends on the recipe, the strength of the dough and the amount of yeast.  Judge proofing by poking the dough when warmed to room temp.  It should have an indent that springs back very slowly.

5) If I find a dough not buttery enough, can I simply add in more butter? If you add more than 50% of the flour (by weight), it will take very advanced skills to make a success of it.

6) Is this tangzhong method worth pursuing? I prefer cooked sweet potato (I cook in the microwave, cool and mash before adding) to achieve the same moist-soft effect.

7) Do all aerated(?) breads benefit from bread improver?  I never touch the stuff. 

8) Is there a way to tell if you have over kneaded the dough?  As you knead the dough (and this should be done before you add the butter if your goal isn't a pound cake-like texture), it will gradually become smoother, less sticky, and firmer.  If you go too far, it will reverse direction and begin to break down, becoming stickier and softer.  Learn to check for a windowpane before adding the butter, and I agree that with brioche, if light and high-rising is your goal, more kneading is better.

clazar123's picture
clazar123

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/recipes/lazymansbrioche

I have made this dozens of times and in various flavors. Us the "Search" box and look for "Lazy Man's Brioche". I have even made it with half oil and half butter. It's been around long enough that there are other recipes based on it.

 

 

lennardy's picture
lennardy

Thanks everyone, this helped alot!

Follow up question: I understand that when substituting active yeast for instant, the ratio is 0.7 instant = 1.0 active, but for example in the lazy mans brioche recipe that calls for instant, can I use the same amount of active yeast as instant by weight (ie use 15g active yeast), if I'm going to be slow rising it in the fridge?

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

To convert instant to active dry using weight, multiply by 1.25

However, my kitchen scale isn't accurate enough for small amounts like the yeast and salt in this recipe, so I would use spoons for those if your scale has similar limits.

Increasing the yeast by 25% and converting to spoons would give a scant 2 Tbs (5 7/8 tsp).

Converting the salt to spoons would be 7/8 tsp, but I would probably round up to 1 tsp, as 1% salt is pretty low, even for Brioche.