Episode 46: Brilliant Brioche and Terrific Tangzhong

In this episode I talked about my baking resolutions for 2022 and how I’m planning my baking year! I then talked about these two recipes….

Tangzhong: Believe the hype

So, um, it’s 2022 and I’m only just saying this. BUT… King Arthur Flour’s pillow soft cinnamon rolls, which were their recipe of the year for 2021, are excellent. Tangzhong is a brilliant method and I now use it regularly. https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/recipes/soft-cinnamon-rolls-recipe I look foward to trying their recipe of 2022, bagels, this time I’ll try to report back before the year ends!

Brioche: A weekend recipe. Effort, but fun

Brioche in all its fluffy, buttery glory

I found this recipe in Niki Segnit’s brilliant book Lateral Cooking.

  • 500g strong white flour
  • 50ml milk (or water), slightly warm to the touch but not hot (I must admit I don’t use a thermometer when I make bread, but I am informed that this is around 37C or 98F.)
  • 250g butter, softened
  • 7g salt
  • 30-60g sugar
  • 12g instant/ easybake yeast (you could instead use 15g dried yeast, if you wake it up in the tepid milk)
  • 5 eggs (mine were c. 60g each) at room temperature, beaten, plus 1 egg yolk for egg-washing

Mix. Mix together the flour, salt and sugar. Add the yeast and mix in. Add the milk and eggs and mix to form a dough. (I like to use my Danish dough whisk but you could use a kneading attachment or even a fork.) At this point I leave for somewhere between 10 minutes and half an hour to give the gluten a head-start before I knead, but you can start kneading straight away.

Knead. Knead until it is smooth and elastic. Niki says that doing this process by hand is ‘both an experience and an ordeal’. Given I’m lucky enough to have a stand mixer, I went with that. To your kneaded dough, start adding the butter, bit by bit, stopping sometimes to scrape the sides and bottom. Once you have fully and evenly incorporated the butter, cover the bowl and leave to rise for 1-2 hours (or maybe a bit more) in a warm place until significantly puffy or doubled in size. (Or, as I did, you can instead give it a slow rise in the fridge overnight – mine took around 12 hours.) Niki says you need to be patient with brioche dough, due to its fat content the rises take longer than a conventional loaf.

Shape and rise again. I went for 9 buns that weighed roughly 120g of dough each, but you could instead make other shapes, or 2 loaves. Then leave to rise overnight, for 12-16 hours, or possibly even longer, followed by a warm rise of a few hours. Or, you can do as I did, and just leave it in the fridge for ages – mine took 24 hours. You’re looking for a fingertip to make an impression for a few seconds instead of springing back immediately.

Egg-wash and bake. For a brown top you need egg yolk, for a shiny top ideally thin it out with a little egg white, but failing that water or milk does just fine. I also sprinkled the top with demerara sugar. I put my buns in a 23cm/9in square tin, which was really rather small, and they didn’t stay as one bun but merged into one slightly delightful lumpy mass. It took rather longer than the recipe stated, too: Niki told me 190C / 375F for 20-25 minutes. Her oven may well be more efficient than mine, but mine took 35 minutes. You’re looking for it to sound hollow when tapped, and to reach an internal temperature of 190F / 87C.

Sweet Doughs: More Directions

In the episode I talk about the many variations, specialities and combinations you could try out with sweet bread.

Published by Kate

Home baker and now podcaster!

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