The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Help needed: brioche

Chiesa_Dan's picture

Help needed: brioche


i made an attempt at brioche yesterday, and the result is not quite what i would like.

The recipie is Ciril Hitz's, not very different than others i have (like Hamelman's).

I used a w330 flour, 13% protein content; all ingredients cold on a cold winter day; mixed for about 30min. overall with a final dough temperature close to 30º celsius.

Dough was very soft, but also very smooth and silky; i could stretch it very thin.

I put the dough in the freezer for 5 hours, then in the fridge overnight. Took it out in the morning, let it warm for almost 1 hour (again, cold kitchen), rolled it out and shaped like a croissant and some brioche a tete. Proofed, egg washed and baked.

What i do not like, is that the finished crumb is not at all elastic, or springy. It's just more like a muffin or cake consistency...

I'm a little puzzled, since the flour used was fairly strong and mixed for a long time.

I'd appreciate every comment on how to get that light but springy crumb :-)


dwfender's picture

At what point in the mixing did you incorporate the butter and did the recipe have you do it melted or just at room temperature? 


Chiesa_Dan's picture

I mixed the dough without butter for about 4 min. and then incorporated the butter in 4 stages, cold but pounded with a rolling pin to make it pliable. I made sure it was absorbed well between stages and at the end i continued mixing until i could stretch the dough thin.

proth5's picture

the dough should be mixed to full or nearly full development before adding the butter.  Adding the butter too soon will result in the cake like texture that you described. (Although they don't taste half bad, do they?)

4 min (and I don't know what mixer you used) would probably be too little even if you were using a spiral - even if you did some of it at second speed - to get the gluten developed sufficiently prior to adding the butter.

Hope this helps.

Chiesa_Dan's picture

this makes sense, although the dough prior to adding the butter was kind of stiff; what would be the right consistency of the dough at this point? After adding the butter it was manageable but definitely soft; runny but not stichy. Had i made it softer at the beginning it might have been really soft at the end.

I'm using a Kenwood mixer, similar to a KA; working a lot the stiff dough at the beginning would probably heat things up even more.

If mixed properly, would it benefit from some stretching and tight rounding while preshaping or would it be ready to shape?

And yes, taste was great and they did non feel greasy or heavy at all! Only not 'springy' or 'stretchy'...

proth5's picture

where we enter some "suggestions only" territory.

Almost any mixer will heat up the dough.  I refrigerate all of my ingredients (I'll even crack eggs and put them back in the refrigerator) for about 12 hours prior to mixing.  That means they are well and truly cold.  If I were daring, I might put the flour in the freezer (but my freezer seems to always be too full for that.)

It has been suggested to me (and I do this) to use a 50/50 mix of "all purpose" and "bread" flour.

I've never made brioche in anything less than a small Hobart - so I have no advice on what could happen with a home mixer.  Frankly, I am afraid to make brioche in my KA.  I have a small spiral at home that does a great job without heating the dough too much - but even there the dough warms up a great deal by the end of the mix.

I shape dough right out of the refrigerator for brioche a tete.  I give it some force when rounding, but don't stretch it in any way.  The texture has been defined during the mix.

Because the dough is so cold after shaping proofing can take quite a while.

I worked with a baker who had us do two mixes - one where the dough was underdeveloped prior to adding butter - where we made a cake called "Sally Lunn" and one where we developed the dough fully before adding the butter (brioche).  Really brought the point home to me about what makes the difference.  Both were delicious, though.

So if the next batch is still cake like just call it Sally Lunn...

Happy Baking!

Chiesa_Dan's picture

next time i'll try to develop the dough more before adding the butter, hoping to get a more stretchy brioche.

With the leftover i have in the freezer, though, tomorrow i'll bake a cake - will probably be a good one :-)

clazar123's picture

I know I have posted this suggestion several times but my "go to" brioche is Floyd's "Lazy Man's Brioche". It is a VERY easy recipe! It is literally a dump-and-mix but it turns out every single time and I have made it literally dozens and dozens of time. I make it in my KA as that is all I have and it turns out feathery, buttery and delicious. I have adapted the recipe for using natural levain and a chocolate and pumpkin variety.It may be the ingredient amounts are perfect for my 5 qt KA bowl but I do use well-chilled butter and mix it until a good windowpane.I prefer using a good AP flour though bread flour is called for in the original recipe.Well developed AP is more tender, IMHO.

 Use the SEARCH box for Lazy Man's Brioche-marvelous bread!


Have delicious fun!

Olive Ashworth's picture
Olive Ashworth

I'm going to try this recipe with the mini chocolate chips. I will even use my bread machine to knead it. 

Chiesa_Dan's picture

So today i made a cake with the leftover dough; turned out very nice. I might have baked it 5 more min., but only the very center is a hair too soft.

I made a disk for the bottom of the mold, placed a layer of apple slices and some sugar, then another disk, more apples and a little more sugar. Left to rise 2 hours, baked and brushed the top with kumquat jam, thinned with a little water.

I really should get more into yeasted pastry :-)

Here is a picture:

130210_1050468.jpg by d_chiesa, on Flickr

BamaBubba's picture

This looks absolutely divine!!!!!!!

clazar123's picture

I wish I could taste it-it looks very scrumptious!

Alan123's picture

Your dough is far too hot. It shouldn't pass 25°C. It's best if your dough is at 23°C at the end of kneading.