I’m going to start this post with a photo of the brioche I made, because it always picks the first photo for the thumbnail, and I don’t want to give people the mistaken impression that I made the one that we had in Paris.
So spoilers, here it is:
This is it, the video that launched my desire to learn French: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5d9eUgVhRn8. I was looking for a video on how to make brioche, as I figured I should do something with all that leftover butter after making croissants. I really didn’t want to go to a lot of effort making those individual brioche rolls like this:
Especially after the marathon effort of making two batches of croissants. So I tried to find a loaf-style recipe. At the time I opened the video, the extent of my French vocabulary consisted of: merci (thank you), bonsoir (good afternoon, I learned that from Olek), and boisson (drink). Needless to say, I used the YouTube subtitle auto-translate option, which had such gems as:
But I think the happiness of the man was just so engaging, and I ended up watching the video all the way through, even though I didn’t really understand what he was saying half the time (though I could guess a decent amount from the context). Crazily, I then decided to use his recipe anyway, which you can find here: http://www.enviedebienmanger.fr/fiche-recette/recette-brioche-pur-beurre
I can attempt to translate it, but I’m mostly guessing from the video, and I think maybe you’d be better off with Google translate. T_T
Note: This recipe makes 2 loaves!
250 butter (the good stuff, 82+% fat), plus you’ll also need some butter to grease your loaf pan
500g bread flour
1 egg yolk
18g fresh yeast (which is about 6g of dry yeast)
12g + 1 pinch of salt (he made some crack about being from Brittany when he added the salt, but I don’t know what that means)
Mix the yeast in with the egg yolk and 100g of the flour with a chopstick. If you are using dry yeast, you’ll need to let it sit in some warm water first to activate it. Pour the rest of the flour in, and let it rise at room temp until the yeast bursts through the flour (about 15-30 mins).
Transfer to your dough mixer, add the 4 eggs, sugar and salt. Start at a slow speed, then increase to the next speed. Slowly add the butter. The dough should be elastic and come away from the edge.
Cover with a damp cloth, and allow to rise for 2 hours.
Take the dough out of the bowl and stretch it out, so it’s like a long rectangle. Fold it over in thirds like a business letter. Rotate 90 degrees and do another business letter fold.
Place it in a bowl / tray and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least 8 hours.
Take out the dough, and cut in half. Put the other half back in the fridge to be used for your second loaf.
Roll the dough out into a rectangle, and do the business letter fold again. Then rotate 90 degrees and repeat. Try it a third time, if the dough isn’t too tough. If the dough is tough, stop here.
Roll it out into a rectangle, then roll it up and cut into pieces. Grease your loaf pan, and put the pieces in the pan in two rows.
You can see how lazy I was feeling, as I didn’t even bother to do the folds and rolling, and just broke my dough into 8 pieces and rolled them up.
Leave to proof in a warm place until they’ve risen to the top of the loaf pan (can take 2-4 hours).
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
For the egg wash, mix an egg yolk with 1.5ml of water, and a bit of salt. Coat your dough (try to cover as much as possible, as you want that lovely brown colour).
Bake for 40 minutes.
Cool on a rack before eating.
As you can see, mine was a disaster. I didn’t know that the dough was meant to be sticky, so I kept adding flour to make it less sticky. The end result was that my dough was super heavy. If you look at the crumb in the picture of mine, you’ll see that there are huge crumbs, like you’d find in muffins. Not at all what you want to see in bread, especially a light bread like a brioche!
Total disaster. :(
Lesson learned: listen to the happy French dude.
Speaking of, I was getting a bit bored of Duolingo, so I had a look at some of the other language learning apps in the Google Play store, and came across Memrise – www.memrise.com. There is a free and a paid version, and I’ve been pretty happy with the free one so far. The idea is that you have these “mems” that are images you use to help you remember new words. I just like that it actually teaches you things, unlike Duolingo where a lot of the time, you have to try and figure out the rules for yourself. A few of the comments say it should be used alongside Duolingo, and I tried it for a while, but it ended up being too time consuming to keep both up.
I’ve been using Memrise for a couple of months, and I felt like I understood a lot more of the video this time around.