Sunday, January 1, 2012
Brioche à Tête
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This is Julia Child's famous brioche. There are folks in the food world who believe it to be best of kind. I'm not qualified to make that kind of judgment, but I can tell you it is awfully good. I can also tell you that it is not easy to make and each time I pull it from my oven I vow never again. Then I have a bite and, in the immortal words of Yogi Bera, "it's déjà vu all over again". What sets this apart from most of its counterparts is the length of time the dough is beaten. It is batted about with a dough hook for a full fifteen minutes, and while there are brioche made with greater quantities of eggs and butter, few ever attain the ethereal quality of this one. This brioche is about texture, and, for better or worse, time, cause that's what you need to make it. Fortunately, there is still a short video of Julia and Nancy making the dough for this brioche. I say fortunately because they walk you through the more difficult steps of this recipe. You'll find the video, which is enormously helpful, HERE. If you like to bake and you are up to a challenge, give this recipe a try. You won't be sorry. Here's how Julia's briche is made.
Brioche à Tête...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Julia Child and Nancy Silverton
1/3 cup warm whole milk (100- 110 degrees F)
2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 large egg
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 large eggs , lightly beaten, room temp
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (approx)
6 ounces unsalted butter , room temperature
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water, for egg wash
1) To make the sponge: Put milk, yeast, egg and 1 cup of flour in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer. Mix ingredients together with a rubber spatula, mixing just until everything is blended. Sprinkle remaining cup of flour over sponge, completely covering it. Set sponge aside to rest uncovered for 30-40 minutes. After this resting time, flour coating will crack. That's as it should be.
2) To make dough: Add sugar, salt, eggs, and 1 cup of flour to sponge. Set bowl in mixer, attach dough hook, and mix on low speed for a minute or two, just until ingredients look as if they are about to come together. With mixer still running, sprinkle in 1/2 cup more flour. When flour is incorporated, increase mixer speed to medium and beat for about 15 minutes, stopping to scrape down hook and bowl as needed. During this mixing period, dough should come together, wrap itself around hook and slap sides of bowl. In order to incorporate butter into dough, it must be worked with a scraper or rolling pin until its consistency is like that of dough (You can bash butter into submission with a rolling pin or give it kinder and gentler handling by using a dough scraper to smear it bit by bit across a smooth work surface). When it is ready, butter will be smooth, soft, and still cool - not warm, oily or greasy. With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time. Do not be alarmed at appearance of dough. It will start to fall apart and that is normal. Continue adding butter. When all of it has been added, raise mixer speed to medium-high for a minute, then reduce speed to medium and beat dough for about 5 minutes, or until you once again hear the dough slapping against the sides of the bowl. Clean sides of bowl frequently as you work; if it looks as though dough is not coming together after 2-3 minutes, add up to 1 tablespoon more flour. When you're finished, dough should feel somewhat cool. It will be soft and still sticky and may cling slightly to sides and bottom of bowl.
3) To finish dough: For first rise, transfer dough to a very large buttered bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let it rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 2- 2 1/2 hours. For second rise and chill, deflate dough by placing your fingers under it, lifting a section of dough, and then letting it fall back into bowl. Work your way around circumference of dough, lifting and releasing. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough overnight, or for at least 4-6 hours, during which time it will continue to rise and may double in size again. AFTER THIS LONG CHILL,DOUGH IS READY TO USE IN ANY BRIOCHE RECIPE.
4) To shape: Butter 3 large fluted brioche pans, using a pastry brush to make certain
you get into flutes; set aside. Divide dough into thirds. Keep remaining dough covered and refrigerated while you work with one piece at a time. Put one piece of
dough on a lightly floured work surface and, using your dough scraper, cut off a hunk of dough that is scant one third of piece. Work larger piece of dough gently and quickly into a smooth ball. between your hands and against the work surface to form a smooth ball. Place ball into buttered mold. Roll smaller piece of dough into a pear shape. Use fingers to make a depression in center of dough and fit narrow top of pear-shaped piece into depression. Pinch and press dough together as needed to make certain that seam between large and small pieces of dough is sealed. Repeat with the remaining dough.
5) Final Rise: Cover pans with a piece of buttered plastic wrap and allow dough
to rise at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
6) Baking Têtes: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly brush brioche with egg wash, taking care not to let the glaze dribble into the mold (it will impair
the dough’s rise in oven). Working quickly, use ends of a pair of sharp scissors to snip 2 or 3 slits in each larger ball of dough. Bake the brioche for about 30 minutes, or until they are deeply golden. Cool to room temperature on a rack. Yield: 3 Tetes.
Cook's Notes: If you are not going to use or bake the dough after it's second rise, deflate it, wrap it airtight, and store it in freezer. The dough can remain frozen for up to a month. Thaw the dough, still wrapped, in the refrigerator overnight and use it directly from the refrigerator.
This post is being linked to:
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