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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May ABC Challenge: No Knead Brioche

I've never had brioche -- at least not that I'm aware -- so I really didn't know what I was going for.  Which can be challenging, but at the same time good because I don't know whether I failed or not.  I suspect I did fail, technically, as someone said brioche should be light and airy, and this loaf definitely isn't.  But it tastes really good, so as far as I'm concerned it was a success.

I cut the recipe in half, but otherwise made it as directed.  I did not weigh my egg, though, and it looked a little on the small side.  Nonetheless, my "dough" was EXTREMELY wet, more like batter, so I added another two tablespoons of flour.  (That would be the equivalent of an additional 1/4 cup in the whole recipe.)  The end result was workable, but just barely, and only straight out of the refrigerator.  It didn't shape up smoothly as hers does in the video -- more like sticky lumps.  The second "rise", which wasn't so much a rise as a melt, with the dough just oozing together, the individual balls were barely discernible.  (This dough never rose until it was baked, but others made a similar comment.)

During baking, only the center rose.  I was having a little trouble with my oven temperature, which might have been the problem.  It produced some lovely mini volcano shapes, though, when toasted.

For a small loaf, here's what I used:

125g all purpose flour
50g unsalted Kerrygold (European style) butter, melted
35 g water at room temperature
1 egg (medium, about 110 g)
25g (1¼ tablespoons) runny honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

In a bowl, combine egg, honey, water, salt, and melted butter and whisk, somewhat vigorously, for about 30 seconds. Add the instant yeast to the flour and sift it into the mixture. Again, with enthusiasm, whisk for 30 seconds until your dough looks smooth and homogeneous. Cover your bowl and let the dough rest for two hours at room temperature. Place the dough on a floured work surface and do one or two stretch and folds. If your dough is very "elastic" and cooperative, do a few; if it starts to resist you can stop. (Mine was not resisting at all, so I did about 4 or 5.) Return the dough to the bowl, cover it with clingfilm and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours. (Mine rested 48 hours.)

To shape, divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll them into balls. Place the balls two by two in a baking tin, well buttered or lined with baking paper. Cover and leave to proof for 2 to 3 hours, depending on the temperature of the dough and of the room. (Perhaps I should have just let mine sit until it was fully risen, but the dough was so heavy I don't know that it ever would have. It didn't seem to be moving at all.)

Preheat your oven to 375ºF. (If desired, brush the brioche with egg wash before baking, and/or brush it with melted butter directly after baking.) Bake at 375ºF for about 10 minutes, then turn down the oven to 320ºF and bake for another 15 minutes. If the top browns too quickly or gets too dark, cover it with aluminum foil to protect it. Remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes in the pan; cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing.

Conclusion:  This was delicious, very buttery, but I'm sure I did it wrong.  The video shows soft, plump balls of dough after the second rise, just like regular bread.  Mine didn't rise at all until I baked it, and then only in the center.  The final texture was closer to pound cake, or even shortbread.   Or maybe I made a giant Madeleine.  But I'm not complaining.

Recipe:   Brioche:  The no knead version via Weekend Bakery.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Karen. It was really good! But I don't think it met the requirements of brioche, if there is such a thing. I asked in the group what was brioche, and someone said it was a rich, airy, light bread. I got a rich, dense bread. Fine by me, but it means I still don't know what a brioche should taste like. :D