You know how I have that strained relationship with yeast? Well, I think that relationship might be on the mend. We have never worked well together before but now things are looking up for us and we might actually make a great team. How do I know this? Well, by the way that these brioches have turned out (a big cheesy big cheesy grin erupts on my face).
These are my first ever attempt at brioche. I always thought that they were quite complex to make, but then I thought about it and wondered why I ever hesitated in making them in the first place. Okay, so croissants are complex and puff pastry doesn't even seem to be in my capacity right now, but in comparison brioche is a cinch. And I'm not getting ahead of myself, nor am I overestimating my ability and I am by no means a yeast-baking expert. This post is merely an expression of exclaimed joy and astonishment over how successful this current yeast venture has been. Especially when most times the opposite has been the case.
Most of those embarrassing mishaps with yeast were fortunately, undocumented as they were made circa 2005, which means they were pre-blogging days and thank goodness for that. It's just lucky for my ego that my yeast ventures during my blogging days have been somewhat successful and to an extent edible. And I don't know why I keep recalling my past failures when it seems that my baking with yeast has actually been improving at each attempt.
For someone who has been "yeastily challenged" it's a promising thing. Especially when my place of foodie-veneration is the bakery, it was such a shameful thing that I couldn't work with yeast. But now that things are changing and the outcome of this latest gamble has been kind of a surprise and I am actually plucking up the courage to bake more with it.
The chocolate inside is obviously a slight departure from the established norm of how brioches are normally made. Although it was when I was out shopping and I saw those little confectioneries that Ferrero still make that gave rise to the idea of putting the chocolates inside. It was the Kinder Surprise eggs that sparked my thoughts, and thanks to those little sweets, these brioches were made even more tastier. I only put a small 5.5g portion of chocolate in there so as not to overtake the brioche itself, as I still wanted the bread to be the star attraction, although it's nice to bite into a piece of bread and find a little hidden surprise inside.
Just as when you were a kid , you would crack open that egg to find that little toy, and you would with sheer delight and enthusiasm assemble that thing and create something out of a few pieces of moulded plastic. I remember by best creation ever assembled from a Kinder Surprise was a helicopter. It even had actual rotating blades, and as a kid that was rather impressive. I guess now as a adult, finding chocolate in your bread is just as exciting as a helicopter in an egg. I guess, things don't really change when you get older, you're just a bigger kid.
This recipe was an amalgamation of a number of different recipes and methods, so I don't exactly know if this was a fluke or it this adaptation actually does work. If you give it a try, let me know if it is a success for you too. Here is the recipe.
1 package active dry yeast (7g)
1/3 cup warm milk
2 tbsp raw sugar
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
80g unsalted butter, softened and cut into small cubes
a pinch salt
8 pieces of dark chocolate about 5-10g each
1 egg for glaze
1 tsp milk
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in the warm milk. Allow yeast to activate for a minute or two. When bubbles begin to appear on the surface then it is ready.
Meanwhile, in a bowl of a food processor or mixer (with dough hook attached) combine flour and salt.
With the motor running slowly add the yeast mixture.
Then add the butter one at a time waiting for each piece to be blended into the dough.
Then add the eggs one at a time and mix until the dough starts to come away from the sides of the bowl.
Place the dough into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm area to prove for 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
When the dough has doubled in size, knead the dough for a few minutes and divide into eight portions.
Take a piece of chocolate and wrap each one in the middle of a portion of dough.
Place the portions into greased tins or paper moulds and cover and allow to prove for another hour.
Preheat oven to 190°C.
Whisk the egg and milk together to make the glaze.
Brush the tops of the brioche with some glaze and then bake for 10-15 minutes or until the tops are browned.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes then unmould.