Brioche is my kind of Viennoiserie.

“Traditional viennoiserie are made from white wheat flour and use packaged yeast cultures. These active cultures cause the quick rise of the dough, creating the perfect flakiness when it is baked. Starter yeast cultures are not as developed, and thus can’t produce the right consistency for viennoiserie in the right amount of time. Thus, packaged yeast cultures must be used.

This dough is known as a pate viennoise, and it first rose to prominence in French pastry circles thanks to a small bakery in Paris known as Boulangerie Viennoise. This bakery was opened by an Austrian military official by the name of August Zang between 1837 and 1839. It wasn’t long until the style of pastry that Zang introduced would become a culinary phenomenon throughout the city. As such, while the pastries may have been invented in Vienna, they were perfected in Paris.” Escoffier.

I love a croissant, but Brioche has my heart. This berry editorial was for Nadia magazine Dec/Jan19. Recipe by Tracey Sunderland.

Ingredients / Ready in 1+1/2 hrs, plus 3-4 hrs proving time / makes 2 loaves

  • 1/4 cup full-fat milk, warmed to room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp active dried yeast
  • 6 free range eggs
  • 2 free range egg yolks
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 cups high-grade flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 250 g butter, at room temperature
  • 250 g fresh blueberries
Egg wash
  • 1 egg yolk mixed with a dash of salt and 1 Tbsp cream

Method

  • 1
    Prepare a large stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Add milk to the mixer bowl. Stir in 2 Tbsp of the sugar, sprinkle over the yeast, then leave for a few minutes until the yeast is frothy and activated. Break eggs and yolks into a separate bowl and whisk lightly with a fork. Add to mixer bowl.
  • 2
    Add remaining sugar, flours and salt and mix on low speed. Scrape down sides to combine all ingredients. It will be very sticky but don’t add more flour.
  • 3
    Increase speed to medium and knead the dough for 5-6 minutes. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. (The dough will become stronger after kneading, which is essential for bread dough.) While mixer is kneading, cut the butter into small cubes and add a couple of cubes at a time, waiting for the butter to become incorporated before adding more.
  • 4
    Once butter is blended in, knead for a further 5-6 minutes.
  • 5
    Stop motor, add blueberries to the dough and stir lightly with a wooden spoon to evenly distribute.
  • 6
    Grease the sides of the bowl with butter, loosely cover bowl with a clean tea towel and leave dough to double in size (2-3 hours on a mild day).
  • 7
    Grease and line 2 loaf tins (22cm x 12cm) with baking paper, then snip the corners and press the paper flat against the tin. Lightly flour a large board.
  • 8
    When the dough has doubled, tip it onto the floured board – it will be very wet and sticky. Divide in half, transfer to the loaf tins (we used a large fish slice and spatula here) and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 180°C and place an oven rack on the second setting above the base of the oven.
  • 9
    Brush loaves with egg wash and bake together for 40 minutes. At this stage, check the top of each loaf; if they are looking dark, cover with a piece of waxed paper. Cook for a further 10-15 minutes or until a small, sharp knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tins for 5 minutes before removing.

NOTES

To prepare brioche a day ahead so you can bake it in the morning, follow the recipe to the end of step 6. Once the dough has risen, press it down, cover it with an oiled piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Remove a couple of hours before you plan to bake it, then continue the recipe from the start of step 7.