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brioche issues -- what works and what doesn't

cognitivefun's picture

brioche issues -- what works and what doesn't

I have managed to learn to make some decent artisanal quality breads but my brioche still doesn't leave me completely happy :)

I make a "middle class brioche" in the food processor in batches, using about 5 cups of all purpose flour, 5 eggs, one cup of butter (2 sticks), 2 Tblspns granulated sugar, 2 tspns salt and 2 tspns instant yeast, and 1 cup of milk (sorry you weighers out there...I'm not there yet).

I always mix it in two batches but what happens is this: when I add the butter the dough falls to the bottom or sticks to the middle blade assembly which no longer cuts through it and the whole thing just spins around more or less, having reverted to a batter really. Even in two batches. I have a Braun and a Cuisinart and the Braun works pretty well on this but I've given up on the Cuisinart (the classic kind without the "Dough" button).

This time around, I mixed the flour/salt/sugar, then added the eggs, and processed and added the milk and processed and the dough assembled in a ball and I processed the ball for 30 seconds. This is all the kneading that needs to be done, were this just regular bread. Then I added the butter, sticking it at the bottom of the bowl, and processed. The dough left the ball stage at some point and became more like a batter and then I stopped.

Now, at this point, I refrigerated overnight and now am doing the bulk rise.

What happens is my briches have always come out a bit dense, tasty but not light, even when I use a preferment sponge.

The classic way is to build a sponge with the milk and yeast and flour, then finish in a mixer.

The mixer worked better but it introduces what I perceive as a "banana oil" flavor, which I think is a result of oxidation from the mixing so I don't like that at all. It's subtle but I don't like that taste in my bread and I never knead any of my breads anymore -- I autolyse, I fold, I use the food processor.

Maybe it's an issue of refrigerating without doing the bulk ferment? But I have bulk fermented first and it the rise seems to take many hours. Temperature is around 69F.

On another board someone made BBA's Portaguese (Hawaiian) bread (which I have made and love) and this is close to a "poor man's briche, and he had the same issue with the rise taking many hours. This happens to my highly fat-enriched doughs only. I am not using special yeast but why should I have to?

So just wanted to discuss brioche and see if others have had this experience, and see what works and what doesn't.

KazaKhan's picture

I'd suggest doubling the amount of yeast maybe more. High levels of fat, salt or sugar will retard the yeast.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

 Have you tried melting the butter, letting it cool, wisking in the milk and eggs and then adding the wet to the dry ingredients?  Just looking at the recipe, I would reserve a cup of the flour for kneading or risk ending up with too dry a dough.  I would also add one more spoon of yeast, grated lemon peel and some mace or nutmeg.  And I would reduce the butter in half.  :)  Mini Oven

cognitivefun's picture

I took the dough out of the fridge this morning and let it bulk ferment for about 12 hours!!

Then I proofed it for about 4 hours and now it is in the oven.

Yes, I guess I need more yeast. I have looked at formulas in BBA and in Best Bread Ever and I am roughly using their formula actually.

More yeast...yes. Perhaps a bit more.

And I think the way I am distributing the butter is problematic. It must be interfering with the rise somehow.

The dough isn't dry really. The eggs make it pretty moist and with the milk I think it's okay. Although you may have a point. Perhaps a bit more liquid would be helpful to the fermentation. So to summarize:

1. more yeast

2. more liquid

3. melt the butter first

zorra's picture

Recently I made some Mini-Brioches.


I had no problems. How do you add the butter. In one piece? If yes, it's better you make small pieces, and add them step by step.

1 x umrühren bitte  -

cognitivefun's picture

Yes I add the butter in one piece. So I'll cut it next time.

Also, Van Over says you should dissolve the yeast in a bit of water even though it's instant, because this makes the crumb "more fluffy" so I'll try this also next time.