Brioche (from Joanne Chang)
Yields 3¼ lbs. dough – you will only need half of the dough for this recipe; the other half can be frozen for 1 week. (Mine never made it to the freezer; it makes incredible bread baked as a 9x5” loaf. Details for this can be found in Joanne’s book, flour, too.)
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
2¼ cups bread flour
3¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
½ cup water (Goldilocks approach here; not too hot, not too cold)
5 large eggs
1 cup plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into ½” pieces
In the bowl of a heavy stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (preferable) or a paddle attachment, place both flours, yeast, sugar, salt and ½ cup water. Beat on low speed for 3-4 minutes until the ingredients have combined. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl. Beat on low speed for an additional 3-4 minutes; the mixture will be dry.
With the mixer on low, add the butter, one piece at a time, making sure each piece of butter is incorporated before adding the next. After all of the butter has been added, continue mixing on low for 10 minutes. The butter needs to be completely incorporated. Increase the speed to medium, beating the mixture for another 10-15 minutes, until the dough becomes soft, sticky and a bit shiny. The dough will become silky and smooth, and it will ‘slap’ against the sides of the bowl. When the dough is ready, it will be stretchy and you will be able to gather it together, picking it up in one piece.
Transfer the dough to a large bowl that has been lightly buttered. Cover the dough with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly on the surface of the dough. Place the dough in the refrigerator and let it proof for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
After the dough has proofed, divide it in half. (Freeze half of the dough in an airtight container for another time.) On a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper, shape the brioche dough into a rectangle about 8” long by 4” wide and 1” thick. Cut the rectangle into eight pieces; each piece of dough should weigh about 3½ oz. Shape each piece into a circle measuring about 5” in diameter. The inner part of the circle of dough should be thin and the edge should create a rim. (Think deep-dish style pizza.) Place four of the circles on one baking sheet and four on the second baking sheet, allowing them about 2” apart for elbow room. Place in the refrigerator while you prepare the fillings.
Mascarpone and Honey cream
¾ cup mascarpone
2 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon orange zest
In a small bowl, place mascarpone, honey and zest. Fold together using a rubber spatula.Cover
and refrigerate until ready to use.
Note: When I added an uncooked filling to the brioche dough, the rhubarb needed additional time to soften, which resulted in over-baking the brioche. A quick spin of the filling on the stovetop helps to soften the fruit allowing less oven time. Just make sure to completely cool the filling before you fill the brioche.
12 oz. trimmed, (leaves removed) rinsed and dried rhubarb, cut into ¼” pieces
16 oz. fresh blueberries, rinsed, stems removed, dried on paper towels
1 teaspoon orange zest
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
½ cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1-2 tablespoons good quality maple syrup (taste the berries and the cooked filling; if the berries are tart you may wish to use the additional tablespoon of maple syrup)
an egg wash made of 1 egg beaten together with 1 tablespoon milk or heavy cream
sanding sugar for sprinkling
In a medium heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the rhubarb, blueberries, orange zest, orange juice, sugar, cornstarch and maple syrup. Cook over medium heat for 6-8 minutes, until the fruit begins to soften and the mixture starts to thicken. Remove from the heat, scrape the filling into a heat proof bowl and set over a bowl filled with ice and a bit of water. Gently stir the filling with a rubber spatula until it is cool to the touch. Remove from over the ice and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Retrieve the baking sheets with the brioche rounds from the refrigerator. Using an offset spatula, divide the mascarpone cream evenly between the 8 rounds of brioche (about 1½ tablespoons in the center of each circle). Spoon 3 oz. of cooled Bluebarb filling over the mascarpone cream and use an offset spatula to spread it evenly without disturbing the layer of mascarpone. Brush the edges of the brioche rounds with egg wash. Sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake on the middle and bottom racks of the oven for 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets between the racks and turning them from back to front, halfway through. Bake for an additional 7-8 minutes, until the brioche is golden brown.