Tuesday, 2 February 2010


There are so many reasons NOT to make a brioche.
1 It takes an entire morning
2 You can buy them from the shop
There's only one reason TO make a brioche and that is, to make a brioche.
I initially wanted to make one because of a thing I ate at Dean Street Townhouse a few weeks ago. We kept going to DSTH, which is Nick 'Soho House' Jones' new place on, err, Dean Street, because Giles kept getting drunk, or overexcited and got home and couldn't remember enough to write a review. So I ate mostly the whole menu, including a really fabulous mushrooms on toast starter. And the toast was a slice of brioche. Scandalous!

There's also a bit in Bridget Jones' Diary (book not film) where Bridget Jones' mother says to a tax man who is patronising her about money: "Listen, can YOU make a brioche?" and that's always made me want to try it.

So I thought I would make one. Yes, it is time-consuming but it's not hard at all, as long as you follow the recipe I've posted below. It'll take up a whole morning but in the end there's a BRIOCHE that YOU MADE sitting in your kitchen!!
It is possibly not the best recipe in the world - it's just off the BBC website, but it worked well for me and it made a fabulous mushrooms-on-toast lunch:

So if you wake up one Saturday or Sunday morning thinking "I want to make a brioche" then I say go for it. Not hard: very tasty.

For the Yeast Batter
2 tsp dried yeast or 15g/½oz fresh yeast
3 tbsp milk, hand-hot
1 tsp sugar
25g/1oz strong white flour

Other Ingredients
200g/8oz strong white flour
large pinch of salt
1 tbsp caster sugar
50g/2oz butter
2 eggs, beaten

1. Stir yeast into the milk. If using dried yeast leave it to stand for 5 minutes.
2. Mix in the flour and sugar and leave in a warm place until frothy - about 20 minutes.
3. Sift together the flour, salt and sugar.
4. Rub in the butter.
5. Beat the eggs into the frothy yeast batter.
6. Stir in the flour mixture and work to a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and no longer sticky.
7. Cover the dough and leave to rise until doubled in size - about 1-1½ hours.
8. Knock back the risen dough.
9. Grease twelve brioche tins 7cm/3in in diameter or twelve deep bun tins.
10. Divide the dough into twelve equal pieces. With each piece cut off a quarter and form the largest part into a ball and place in tin. Firmly press a hole in the centre of the ball and place remaining small piece of dough as a knob in this. Glaze with beaten egg.
11. Cover and leave to prove until light and puffy - about 30-40 minutes.
12. Bake in a very hot oven 230C/450F/Gas 8 until golden brown - about 18-20 minutes.

Some notes: Above is the recipe as it appeared on the BBC website. I made my brioche in a small loaf tin, 7in x 3in in order to slice and toast it. If you have a fan-assisted oven, make sure you set it to a slightly lower temp than 230C or you'll burn the shit out of it - I've got a fan oven and cooked mine at about 210C.

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