Monday, July 23, 2007

Kinda-a Surprise


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.

Brioche Surprise

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.

Brioche Surprise
makes 8

Brioche... Surprise Inside Brioche Surprise

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
2 eggs
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.


Truffle said...

Your brioche looks absolutely delightful. What a triumph with yeast!

keiko said...

Hi JenJen - I would love this kind of surprise anytime :) The brioche looks absolutely lovely! Looking forward to trying it (I might end up putting too much chocolate in!), thank you for sharing.

Cheryl said...

I only wished I was as yeastly challenged as you are. fantastic job.

Peabody said...

Yum, just like chocolate crossiants...a nice surprise in the middle.

VeggieGirl said...

what a lovely brioche - the chocolate is indeed a nice surprise!

ovenhaven said...

I'd never have guessed in a million years you're yeastily-challenged! As for me, I still am very much afraid of yeast, and I've yet to bake any of the yeast recipes I've bookmarked thus far. And guess what, I'm definitely bookmarking this too ~hehe.

Blue Zebra said...

Oh wow! LDE (looked, drooled, envied)! Your brioche is gorgeous and makes me want to reach out and grab it. Love the baking pan. Did you find them online?

Look forward to reading more about your baking adventures, JenJen, you have mad skills! :)

lynn said...

Beautiful brioche! The tender, flaky texture is wonderful. What size tins or papers did you use? Muffin size or bigger?

*kel said...

hey good finding you! I've never attempted to bake breads. Brioche, tough one.. you did good! I just have been picking mine up from the store. They're great with raw cheeses for a change from farm breads.

Eva said...

That's a fear well-conquered! May there always be a bowl-full of dough rising in your kitchen!

Mimi said...

When I made this at a God forbidden hour this morning, I nearly cursed you. My initial activation of yeast didn't work! I figured you had put a hex on the recipe or something. ;)

With some small changes, the dough is perfect. It must not be very humid where you live. 1 3/4 cup flour turned into close to 2 1/3 for me. I wonder if it's a environmental thing...

Thanks for the recipe. My mom will be very happy this moring!

jenjen said...

Trufle- Thanks so much. I think I need to have that quote in print and framed. Again thanks for the nice compliment.

Keiko- Thank You! I would never say no to an chocolate studded brioche. Especially if it was you that made it.

Cheryl- Aww, that is very sweet of you.

Peabody- Yes, and lot easier to make than chocolate crossiants.

Veggie Girl- Chocolate is always a great surprise.

Ovenhaven- Well, as someone who has been afraid of yeast for a very long time I suggest you just get out there and start baking. You will have some failures, but it's not until you get those failures out of the way that you can really start to bake some good stuff. So don't get discouraged.

Blue Zebra- Thanks for commenting!!
I got the moulds at a specialist cooking supply store here in Sydney. I imagine you will be able to find something similar where you live.

Lynn- I am not exactly sure about the size, I would say they are equivalent to large muffins. I'm sure you would be able to bake them in muffin trays as that you will get that traditional brioche shape. Hope that helps you.

*kel- Once you realise how easy brioches are to make, like how I just did then yo will be baking them in no time.

Eva- Thank you and Amen to that!

jenjen said...

Mimi- I'm glad the recipe worked out in the end. The thing with bread is that the temperature and humidity does play a lot into it's making. A bread you make in winter could turn out different in summer.
It's winter right now in Sydney, so there is hardly any humidity in the air and is obviously quite cold.

Oh for the love of food! said...

Hi Jenjen, Your brioche looks amazing. I love the chocolate suprise idea, it's an extra special touch!

Ganesha said...

what lovely brioche ! First visit on your blog ! Lucky day !
Thanks for the recipe :) !

wendy said...

Those are beautiful. You should sell them.Maybe you're the next Entemann's.

Windy said...

I have thought of making pizza base myself, but the idea of yeast put me off all the time. BTW, your brioche looks really great!

Jerry said...

Similarly I have a love hate relationship with yeast. I have a tendency to kill it. Brioche is a goal of mine. It would be great with the french toast I made a couple of weeks ago.

Amy Glamgirl said...

Brioche reminds me of a new school year. For as long as I can remember, my mom has made brioche on the first day of school as a special treat. Now that I am headed off to Boston in a few weeks to start my third year at Boston U, your recipe has inspired me to continue the tradition myself. Maybe the chocolate surprise will make up for the fact that this time it's not my mom's home cookin' warming me up on the way to my first class. Thanks for the taste-bud-nostalgic stroll...your brioche looks buttery, flaky and perfectly golden!

Anna said...

hey jenjen, where did you get those pretty boxes to display the brioche?

and were the baking mould separate individual moulds? i see you mention they were muffin-sized-ish?