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Fruit & Cream Brioche Recipe & Video

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Brioche is an enriched yeast bread, which means it is made with lots of butter and eggs. This gives it a buttery flavor with a wonderfully light and tender crumb. You can use Brioche dough to make so many different breads, both sweet and savory. Today we are going to make Fruit and Cream Brioche Buns. This is done by topping rounds of proofed brioche with a dollop of pastry cream and some fresh fruit, in this case berries. Before baking I like to brush the Brioche with an egg wash as this gives the Brioche a nice shine plus it helps with browning. And lets not forget a sprinkling of pearl sugar that not only looks good, but adds crunchy bits of sweetness.  


A few notes on technique and ingredients. This dough is kneaded for a long time (20 to 25 minutes) which produces a strong dough that cleans your mixing bowl and is silky smooth (but not sticky). If you're new to bread making, I would watch the video as I show you an easy way (the 'window' test) to determine if your dough has been kneaded to the correct consistency. After the first fermentation (proofing), I like to refrigerate the dough overnight. This improves the flavor of the Brioche and also makes the dough much easier to work with.

As far as ingredients go, for the yeast, I like to use SAF Gold instant yeast which is used in breads that are high in fat and/or sugar. This type of yeast gives a good rise and it doesn't need to be activated in a liquid before making the dough. However, you can use active dry yeast instead of instant yeast. But you need to increase the amount of yeast by about 20%. For the salt, I like to use kosher salt. For the butter, I like to use unsalted butter.

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Brioche: Place the flour, yeast, and salt in the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until combined. Add the eggs and milk and beat until combined. Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook, and knead the dough on 1st speed for four minutes. Increase your mixer speed to 2nd speed, and continue to knead the dough for another three minutes. Next, with the mixer on 2nd speed, gradually add the sugar over five minutes.

Next, place the cold butter between two sheets of parchment or wax paper. With a rolling pin, pound the butter until it's pliable but still cold. Cut the butter into pieces and add it to the dough. Knead the dough, on 2nd speed, for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the dough cleans the bowl and is smooth (not sticky) and elastic. To check to see if the dough is fully kneaded, use the 'windowpane' test. (See video for demonstration.) To do this, start with a small fistful of dough. Gently stretch it. For a fully kneaded dough you should be able to stretch the dough quite thin, without it tearing, so that you can almost see through it. 

Place your dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit at room temperature 73 - 76 degree F) (23 - 24 degree C) for one hour. Then you need to stretch the dough to equalize its temperature and it also helps to strengthen the dough. (See video for demonstration.) To stretch the dough, gently take one edge of the dough and stretch it and then fold it onto the top of the dough. Turn your bowl 180 degrees and stretch the dough in the same way. Then turn your bowl a quarter turn (90 degrees) and stretch the dough in the same way. Then turn your bowl 180 degrees and repeat the process. After that flip your dough so the bottom is now the top. Cover with plastic wrap and place the covered dough in the refrigerator to chill overnight. (This makes the dough much easier to shape and also improves the flavor of the Brioche.)

Next morning, line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Then remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide into 12 equal-sized pieces (about 82 grams each). Then, working with one piece of dough at a time, flatten into a round. (You may want to lightly flour your hands.) Take the edges of the dough and fold them into the center and gently seal. Then flip your dough over so the smooth side is facing up. With the palm of your hand rotate the ball of dough on your counter to create surface tension and to seal the edges of the dough completely. (See video for demonstration.)

Place 6 rounds of the dough onto each baking sheet, spacing them several inches apart. Cover loosely with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with a non stick spray or lightly oiled (this will prevent the buns from sticking to the plastic wrap) and let proof at room temperature (about 73 - 76 degree F) (23 - 24 degree C) until nice and puffy and almost doubled in size (because the dough is very cold, this could take 1 1/2 to 2 hours).

Pastry Cream: In a medium-sized heatproof bowl, mix half the sugar (about 30 grams) and egg yolks together. Whisk in the cornstarch until you get a smooth paste.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan bring the milk and the rest of the sugar just to boiling (until milk just starts to foam up). Remove from heat and slowly add to egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling. (If you get a few pieces of egg (curdling) in the mixture, pour through a strainer.) Pour the egg mixture into a saucepan and cook, over medium low heat, until boiling, whisking constantly. When it boils, whisk mixture constantly for about two minutes or until it becomes thick. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Pour into a clean bowl and immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust (skin) from forming. Cool to room temperature. If not using right away, the pastry cream can be refrigerated for up to three days. Whisk or stir before using to get rid of any lumps that may have formed.

Next, preheat your oven to 350 degree F (180 degree C) with the oven racks in the top and bottom thirds of your oven.

When ready to bake, remove the plastic wrap and, with a pastry brush, lightly brush the tops and sides of the Brioche with the beaten egg. (This will help with browning and gives the Brioche a nice shine.) Gently press down the centers of the Brioche to make an indentation. (See video for demonstration.) Fill with about one tablespoon of pastry cream. Top with berries or thin slices of peaches, nectarines, etc. Gently press the fruit into the pastry cream. Sprinkle the sides of the Brioche with pearl sugar. Place the two baking sheets of Brioche in the preheated oven and bake about 16-20 minutes or until golden brown. Rotate your baking sheet top to bottom and front to back about halfway through baking. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Can be covered and stored for two to three days or they can be frozen for about one month.

Makes 12 Fruit & Cream Brioche.

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Brioche Recipe:

3 1/4 cups (425 grams) unbleached all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons (5 grams) SAF Gold Instant Yeast Available on Amazon

2 teaspoons (8 grams) kosher salt

5 large cold eggs (240 grams)

3 tablespoons (40 grams) cold milk (whole or reduced fat)

1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated white sugar

1 cup (225 grams) cold unsalted butter

Pastry Cream:

1 1/4 cups (300 ml) milk (whole or 2%)

1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated white sugar, divided

4 large (60 grams) egg yolks, at room temperature

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (20 grams) cornstarch

1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

Berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and/or strawberries) (can also use slices of peaches or nectarines)

Egg Wash:

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Pearl Sugar

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