Monday, December 12, 2011

I baked: French Brioche

Earlier this year, I made French brioche for the first time. Unfortunately, this recipe has been stuck in my drafts for ages -- not because it's not good (quite the contrary actually) but I just didn't get around to resizing the photos and hence forgotten. Anyway, I thought this would be a really great thing to make for Christmas Day breakfast / brunch -- imagine this, brioche freshly baked from the oven topped with a beautiful poached egg or scrambled eggs. Perfect!

Brioche is a classic French bread that is very rich and buttery with a dense texture (like Madeira cake). It is very good but not for someone who is on a diet since a lot of butter is used to make this bread.

Since we didn't have a brioche mould, we used a 23 x 13cm loaf tin as a substitute, which worked just fine. We also tried making some mini brioche shaped (you can watch how to make this on youtube) bread which looked a little like mini "turds".. lol. Anyway because they were so small, they were slightly overcooked. To make it easy for yourself, just use a loaf tin. You will need to start preparing on Christmas Eve if you want to serve this for Christmas Day since it needs a significant amount of time to rise.

Poached egg with freshly ground salt and pepper and sundried tomatoes with brioche

French Brioche
Makes 1 loaf

350g unbleached white bread flour (plain flour will work too)
1/2 tsp salt
15g fresh yeast
60ml (4 tbsp) lukewarm milk
3 eggs
175g butter, softened at room temperature
25g caster sugar

For the glaze
1 egg yolk
15ml (1 tbsp) milk

1. Sift the flour and salt together into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Put the yeast in measuring jug and stir in the milk.

2. Add the yeast mixture to the centre of the flour with the eggs and mix together to form a soft dough.

3. Using your hand, beat the dough for 4-5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Cream the butter and sugar together. Gradually add the butter mixture to the dough, ensuring it is incorporated before adding more. Beat until smooth, shiny and elastic.

4. Cover the bowl with lightly oiled clear film and leave the dough to rise, in a warm place, for 1-2 hours or until doubled in bulk.

5. Lightly knock back the dough, then re-cover and place in the fridge for 8-10 hours or overnight.

6. Lightly grease a 2 3/4 pint (1.6 litre) brioche mould. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface. Cut off almost a quarter and set aside. Shape the rest into a ball and place in the prepared mould. Shape the reserved dough into an elongated egg shape. Using two or three fingers, make a hole in the centre of the large ball of dough. Gently press the narrow end of the egg-shaped dough into the hole. (Alternatively, if you're using a loaf tin, just place the dough into the tin)

Mini brioche -- what do they look like? You be the judge.

7. Mix the egg yolk and milk together for the glaze, and brush a little over the brioche. Cover with lightly oiled cling film and leave to rise, in a warm place, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the dough nearly reaches the top of the mould.

8. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 230°C. Brush the brioche with the remaining glaze and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 190°C and bake for a further 20-25 minutes, or until golden. Turn out on to a wire rack to cool.

When it first comes out from the oven, it may look a little shiny and "hard". But after it has cooled, you can cut the loaf and should find that the texture is dense and buttery (almost like a Madeira cake). 

9. To poach an egg, fill a frying pan with 4cm barely simmering water. Break each egg into a cup and lower into the water. Cook for approximately 2 minutes (you will know when the egg white has set). Use a slotted spoon to remove. Serve immediately. (This is poaching eggs the Delia Smith way which works very well for me)

Brioche on its own tastes fab! Or for something extra decadent, slather on some more homemade butter. Eat first, worry about weight gain after the festivities :P

This would definitely make a great breakfast / brunch for Christmas day.

Scrambled eggs on brioche works too

Or just top it with some sundried tomatoes

Runny yolk on brioche, delightful. 

For full set of photos, click here to view


  1. So talented! Looks like a delicious meal.. Loved the pic with the poached egg.. drools! :)

  2. u need to make french toast with this! heart clogging but so worth it.

  3. gosh, this seems like a lot of hard work. thanks for the reminder about how the food that some of us take for granted can actually take a lot of time & patience to prepare! :D

  4. You must have baking fingers. Hehe. I don't so I might let my rice cooker do the job


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