The other week I had the most fun I’ve had in ages learning how to make brioche with the lovely bakers from Brioche Pasquier much to the delight of my children who feast on brioche quite frequently for breakfast.
Brioche Pasquier was started in 1936 in a small village in the west of France, they use an authentic process which takes about 5-6 hours from start to finish and also use a live yeast cultured in sour dough called ‘levain’ to give their brioche a unique flavour. There are no preservatives in Brioche Pasquier products so they have a 28 day shelf life. My children are already fans of their plain ‘au lait’ brioche, chocolate chip brioche and their pain au chocolat as well as the ‘Pitch’ chocolate filled ones. I didn’t know there were also lemon curd filled ones, the children have liked them although the chocolate ones are still their favourites. The Pitch products come individually wrapped which are handy for packed lunches or for taking out as snacks.
Anyway, it was so brilliant getting professional advice from experts when doing something you really love and I had a fabulous day. However, when left to my own devices it seems a little harder. I enjoyed making brioche so much that I have made them twice now at home and although not technically difficult the rising of the dough takes me so much longer than it did when I had help. They do rise eventually but you have to be so so patient. Be prepared to start this recipe in the morning and have brioche by teatime. I haven’t yet tried proving the brioche overnight ready to bake in the morning so they are lovely and warm for breakfast. They would be perfect on Christmas morning, failing that you could always go and buy some ready made ones.
This is the recipe that I was given to follow by the bakers from Brioche Pasquier. Be warned, you need a good mixer with a dough hook.
- 500g strong white flour
- 90g water
- 3 eggs
- 125g unsalted butter
- 120g caster sugar
- 40g yeast
- 10g table salt
- 1 egg and milk for egg and milk wash
- 8g orange blossom water
- Chocolate chips ( I used 170g each time )
- Put the flour into the mixer bowl.
- Add the salt and half the sugar to one side of the bowl, the yeast to the other. Don’t let them touch each other
- Add the water, eggs and butter
- Using a dough hook mix for 2 minutes on a slow speed.
- Mix for 5 minutes on a medium speed
- Add the remaining sugar and mix again on a medium/high speed for 4 minutes. At this stage you need to look at the dough and check it is very shiny, soft and very elastic. If it isn’t then mix until it is. I think this can depend on the room temperature and also the power of your mixer. Both times I have made brioche at home I have had to add on a good few minutes, the second time not quite so much, maybe two or three.
- Divide the dough into 50g pieces. (When using chocolate chips I weighed them to about 60g give or take)
- Shape the pieces into balls and place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
- Make sure there is plenty of space between each ball.
- Brush lightly with water
- Leave in a warm place for about an hour and a half. (This has taken me up to five hours even in a warm kitchen)
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC/gas mark 6
- Brush the brioche with the egg and milk wash, you can sprinkle some pearl sugar on if you fancy it
- Bake the brioche for 10 minutes
- Leave to cool, if you can, before devouring!
For your information, the very top photos are my first attempt at making brioche under the supervision of the experts, the middle basket of brioche are made with the chopped chocolate, I quite like the dark colour of those ones, and the last photos are my first attempt at home.
Disclosure: I was given a huge hamper of Brioche Pasquier to try at home and had an informative and educational day with their lovely bakers, so thank you to all who made it possible.