You Can Cook This Insanely Complicated Brioche Recipe

Katherine Guzman | December 17, 2013 | Story Ingredient

Holidays and sugar go hand in hand, right? So to celebrate the release of Chad Robertson’s new Tartine Book No. 3, here's one of our favorite of his sugar bombs.

Don’t let the lengthy guide scare you. Baker extraordinaire Robertson is rooting for you.“We intentionally didn’t simplify [the recipes] much," he said. "We wanted to stay true to the technique of working with different grains. I think people are ready for new challenges.”

(The recipes in Tartine are complex and multi-step, for the recipe below, we’ve combined the recipes for Golden Brioche and the Maple Sugar-Glazed Brioche so that our readers can more easily follow. For a more detailed step by step instruction, check out the book).

Maple Sugar-Glazed Brioche
Yield: Two 9-by-5-in/23-by-13-cm loaves

Brushing the insides of the pans or molds with melted butter and then coating them with maple sugar before baking will glaze the brioche crust during baking, adding a slight sweetness and the aroma of maple syrup.

Unsalted butter, softened at room temperature 160 g
Medium-strong wheat flour 123 g
Whole-grain Kamut flour 88 g
Whole-grain semolina flour 88 g
All-purpose flour 53 g
Granulated sugar 35 g
Fine sea salt 10 g
Instant yeast 6 g
Eggs, at room temperature 125 g
Overnight Poolish 125 g (see below)
Whole milk or buttermilk 75 g
Egg yolks 35 g
Leaven 90 g

Butter for greasing pans
85 g/1/2 cup maple sugar

Egg Wash
20 g/1 egg yolk
30 g/2 T heavy cream

40 g/2 T grade B maple syrup

Overnight Poolish
125 g warm water (78°F/26°C)
1⁄8 t active dry yeast
125 g all-purpose or other specified flour

For the overnight poolish: In a medium bowl, combine the water and yeast, then gradually add the flour, mixing with a wooden spoon until a smooth batter forms. Let the mixture stand (covered) overnight in the refrigerator.

For the Brioche: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the Kamut, semolina, and wheat flours with the sugar, salt, and yeast and mix to combine on low speed. Increase the speed to medium and add the eggs, poolish, milk, egg yolks, and leaven, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Turn the mixer off and let the dough rest in the bowl for 15 to 20 minutes.

After the dough has rested, mix it on medium-high speed until it releases from the sides of the bowl, 6 to 8 minutes. This indicates that the dough is sufficiently developed to begin incorporating the butter. Make sure the butter is soft and pliable but still cool and not melted.

Cut the butter into 1/2-in/12-mm pieces. With the mixer on medium speed, add the pieces of butter, one at a time, to the middle of the bowl where the dough hook meets the dough. Continue until the butter is incorporated. The dough will be silky smooth and homogenous, with no visible bits of butter.

Transfer the dough to a bowl and set in a cool place (70°F/20°C) for 2 hours for the bulk fermentation. During the first hour, give the dough two fold and turns. Dip one hand in water, grab the underside of the dough, stretch it out, and fold it back over itself. Rotate the container one-quarter turn and repeat. During the second hour, give it one turn. This is a very forgiving dough. If you want to shape the dough the next day, place the dough in a freezer-proof container after the 2-hour bulk fermentation and freeze for 3 to 5 hours, then transfer to the refrigerator and store overnight. If you are shaping the dough and baking the brioche the same day, make sure that the bulk fermentation occurs in a cool place, or the butter will melt out of the dough and the dough will feel greasy.

Just before shaping the dough, grease two 9-by-5-in/23-by-13-cm loaf pans with butter, then generously dust with maple sugar, dividing evenly. Use a dough spatula to pull the dough from the bowl onto an unfloured work surface. Portion the dough into four pieces and roll each piece into a ball.

Transfer two balls into each of the prepared pans and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature (75°F/24°C) for 1½ to 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 450°F/230°C.

For the egg wash: In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and heavy cream.

Brush the egg wash on the surface of both loaves and bake until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. With a pastry brush, brush the tops of each with maple syrup, then unmold onto a wire rack and let cool completely. Store, for up to 2 days, wrapped in plastic.

Reprinted with permission from Tartine Book No.3 by Chad Robertson, copyright (c) 2013. Published by Chronicle Books.

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