I first learned how to make brioche a year ago, at a brioche class. I ended up with my first internship as a result (I talked to the teacher after the class and started working for her later that month), and continued to learn about brioche and other pastries over the next two months. I still can't thank them enough. Today's recipe is from a book they gave me as a gift at the end of my internship, and so far it's been the best cookbook I've ever used.
Two Years Ago: Scratch from Scratch, and One Step at a Time
Taking my goals back a step feels good. I think I'll, ironically, get more done this year.
from Flour, by Joanne Chang
Make both the pastry cream and brioche dough well in advance, as the cream needs several hours to cool and the dough needs time to proof (ferment.) I made both of these the night before, then assembled and baked everything the next morning.
1/2 batch brioche (recipe below)
1 batch pastry cream (recipe below)
4 oz (114 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped, or chocolate chips
I only made a 1/2 batch of this, b/c the final recipe only needs half. But, brioche is always a good thing to have around, and if you're using a stand mixer, you'll need to make a full batch (to engage the dough hook), so make a full batch, and you can either make twice as many chocolate brioches, or do something else with the extra!
2 1/4 c (315 g) AP flour
2 1/4 c (340 g) bread flour* (I didn't have any, so I doubled the AP flour and had to beat everything longer, but it turned out fine in the end)
1 1/2 package (3 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast, or 1 oz (28 g) fresh cake yeast
1/3 c + 1 T (82 g) granulated sugar
1 T kosher salt
1 c + 6 T (2 3/4 sticks, 310 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, softened slightly
In a stand mixer with a dough hook (or handheld mixer), combine flours, yeast, sugar, and salt. Add water and 5 of the eggs and beat on low speed for a few minutes, until ingredients have all come together, stopping occasionally to scrape sides and bottom of the bowl. Once the dough has come together, keep beating for a few minutes. The dough will be stiff and dry.
On low speed, add butter in little pieces, one piece at a time, mixing after each addition until it disappears into the dough. You may have to use your hands occasionally. Mix for about 10 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrap down sides and bottom of bowl. The butter must be entirely mixed into the dough.
Once the butter is fully incorporated, turn up the speed and mix for about 15 minutes until the dough becomes sticky, soft, and shiny. This will take some time. Once it comes together, turn speed up more and beat for another minute, until dough starts thumping around in the bowl. You can test it by stretching the dough a little. It should feel clammy but not super sticky, and it'll stretch a bit and give a little.
If dough is too wet and sticky, add a little more flour and keep beating. If it breaks apart, keep beating until it becomes stretchier.
When done, place dough in a large bowl or plastic container, cover with plastic wrap (pressing wrap directly onto dough so it doesn't form a skin), and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
1 1/4 c (300 g) milk
1/2 c (100 g) sugar
1/4 c (30 g) cake flour (I had to use AP flour)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, scald the milk over medium-high heat (until bubbles start forming around the edges.)
While milk is heating, in a small bowl, stir together flour, sugar, and salt.
In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks until blended, then slowly whisk in flour mixture.
Remove scalded milk from heat and slowly whisk it into the egg mixture (making sure not to cook any of the egg.) When the milk is fully incorporated, return everything to the saucepan and place over medium heat, whisking constantly until thickened. Once it starts to thicken, it will cook quickly, so keep whisking until it's the consistency of pudding.
Remove from heat and let cool.
Cover with plastic wrap (so the wrap touches the cream to prevent a skin from forming), and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roll out the dough into a rectangle about 20 by 10 in, and 1/4 in thick. I did this between two sheets of saran wrap/cling wrap, but you can also use a floured work surface. Make sure to roll it out very thin, as they will puff up a lot.
Spread the pastry cream evenly over the entire surface of the dough.
Sprinkle chocolate evenly over bottom half (long side, so 20 x 5 in section), and fold the top half of the rectangle down to completely cover the bottom, then press down gently over the entire rectangle to flatten the rectangle a little.
Cut the dough into 10 pieces (about 2 in by 5 in each.) You can either bake them now or freeze them for later. If saving for later, wrap tightly and freeze for up to a week, thawing in the fridge overnight or at room temperature for a few hours.
If baking now, transfer the dough to the baking sheet, leaving only about 1 - 2 inches between each pastry. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let proof in a warm spot for about 2 hours, until puffy and soft.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350 F.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg and brush lightly over the tops of each pastry.
Bake for 30 - 45 min, until lightly golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 20 to 30 minutes. If they've baked into one other, break apart.
Pastries are best served warm or within 4 hours of baking. They can be stored at room temp for up to a day, then warmed for a few minutes in the oven before serving.
With a mouth full of chocolate,