Brioche and sugar buns
Thankfully I love both cooking and baking so when I need a break from one I have the other. This week I am participating in one of those online challenges that are popular among foodies on Instagram and the subject was enriched breads. Those challenges are not a competition but rather an opportunity to connect with like minded foodies from around the globe, see each other’s work, exchange ideas and learn.
When it comes to enriched dough the idea is to make a dough that is not just flour, yeast and water. It is enriched with butter, sugar, eggs, cream etc. To my mind, one of the most luxurious enriched doughs is the brioche and if I had to choose between croissant and brioche (don’t make me), I would probably choose brioche, even if just because it is not that readily available.
Brioche dough is rich but not difficult to make. To be honest, I put it all in the stand mixer and let it make itself, just adding enough flour to bind it without weighing it down. If I have time I let it rise overnight in the fridge but if not I just make the dough, let it rise and proceed the same day.
This time I made a few brioche buns in the proper fluted molds, and made some small bun with half the dough that I later brushed with melted butter and rolled in sugar. Delicious with a cup of tea.
To make proper brioche you need the special fluted molds and if you want to really be authentic you make “brioche a tete”, meaning brioche with head, by either pinching a round ball on top of the brioche or placing a ball of dough in an indent you create on top of the brioche before baking. I skip this step and leave them “headless”. “Off with their heads”, as the queen in Alice in Wonderland would say.
Brioche and sugar buns
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 package active dry yeast (or use your own sour dough starter or combination of the two)
3 1/3 cups flour
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup melted butter for the sugar buns
1/2 cup sugar in a bowl to dip the sugar nuns
- Place warm water, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer and let the yeast proof (bubble).
- When the yeast is ready whisk the eggs lightly and add to the yeast.
- turn on the mixer for a minute to blend the eggs and yeast.
- With the mixer running begin to add the flour adding just enough so the the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. You will need to stop the mixing a number of times and use a spatula to scrape it towards the center.
- When the flour is incorporated add the butter.
- Let the machine knead the dough for 6 minutes, stopping it a few more times until the dough gathers around the hook.
- The dough will be very soft but still hold together.
- When done, remove from the mixer to a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for a minute, gathering it into a ball.
- Place the dough in a buttered bowl, cover and let rise until doubles in size. If you have time, punch it down and leave it to rise again overnight in the fridge.
- When ready to proceeds divide the dough into about 6- 3 oz pieces and roll each into a ball rolling it under the palm of your hand to create some surface tension.
- Place the balls in buttered brioche molds, cover and let rise until double in size.
- Use the remaining dough to roll into 2 oz balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet to rise until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- When the dough is ready place in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes until puffed and golden. Remove from molds and let cool on a rack
- When the sugar buns are ready remove from oven and let cool just a little.
- Brush the tops with melted butter and dip in sugar, rolling it to coat the top and sides.
- That’s it, enjoy and keep in covered container if they last.