Brioche feuilletée

I've been wanting to make this delectable version of brioche for some time now, and so it was that a recent online reference to Guy Savoy's new venture in Paris, Gout de Brioche, finally got me going. The shop offers individual as well as "grand" brioche feuilletée in a variety of flavors both savory and sweet. 

This particular dough is another in the family of laminated dough - puff pastry, croissant and Danish being the standards.  Here we have an egg enriched brioche dough which is put through similar laminating steps to create buttery, flaky layers of goodness.

It seems that every time I make brioche I look back at various recipes and compare ingredient amounts and ratios.  This time I reviewed the recipe from the Le Nôtre class that I attended in Paris during our recent September trip. Using it, as well as an online recipe attributed to Philippe Conticini of Pâtisserie des Rêves fame, I came up with my own version to launch my attempt at brioche feuilletée.

Brioche dough can be lean to rich and may contain amounts of butter that are anywhere from 20-80% of the quantity of flour in the recipe.  With the laminated approach one reduces the amount of butter in the basic dough but then uses a larger amount of butter for the butter block that becomes incorporated into the dough.

Here's the dough: 500 g flour (450 g all purpose and 50 g bread); 10 g salt; 50 g sugar; 8 g instant yeast; 90 ml whole milk; 250 g egg (about 5 large); 50 g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes.  

Place the flour, salt, sugar, yeast and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and mix on low for a couple of minutes.  Add the eggs 1-2 at a time until each addition is incorporated.

Increase speed to medium and mix for 12-15 minutes until the dough is coming away from the sides of the bowl.  

Add the butter piece by piece until incorporated. The dough should be shiny, smooth and silky.

Turn the dough out into a lightly greased bowl, cover and let it rise for an hour.

Deflate the dough gently then cover snugly and put into the fridge for 4-5 hours or overnight.

Form a butter block with 340 g unsalted butter and hold it in the fridge overnight as well.

The following morning take the butter out to take the firm chill off and allow it to become more malleable for the beurrage et tourage.

At this point the process is the same as for croissant - envelope the butter and then put it through three single, or business letter, folds with 30 minute rests in between. Here's the first fold.

After the three folds give it a good hour rest in the fridge before rolling it out for its final use.

Take a look at my finished dough below - it felt great even though the butter isn't uniformly distributed in the dough. I pushed on nonetheless!  

Roll the dough out into an approximately 16"x13' rectangle.  At this point you can do any filling your little heart desires.  I opted for a simple mix of crushed raw sugar cubes with lemon zest which I sprinkled over the dough, leaving the upper edge clear.

Brush the upper edge with a little water, milk or egg wash to help seal the seam once you've rolled it up.

Now slice into twelve 1 1/4" slices.

You can tuck these, cut side up, into buttered standard muffin tins, but I decided to use lightly buttered panettone papers.

Let these rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours, depending on your ambient temperature.  They should look poufy with increased prominence of the laminations.

Heat the oven to 400ºF.  

Brush the tops with a bit of egg wash or milk and sprinkle with pearl sugar.

Bake for 10 minutes then decrease the temp to 350 for another 10-15 minutes until nicely browned.

Once cooled a bit I pulled them out of the baking papers and brushed the surface with lemon syrup.  I find that brioche often look a bit dry coming out of the oven and the syrup gives them a nice sheen.

They look a bit like a conch shell!  Or some kind of snail.  Some of them tried to rise up and escape from their houses, looking like a slinky going down the stairs.

Once a bit cooled it was definitely time for a taste test. In the photo below the smaller pieces in the background are a couple of end scraps that I baked separately, and the sliced brioche in the front is one that slink-ied out of its paper.

The thing that always strikes me about a good brioche is how LIGHT it is!  The eggs and the butter don't seem to weigh it down at all.  Although remember that an important part is making sure you give these babies a decent rise - if they don't rise long enough they'll end up heavy and dense.

The flavor and texture were just right and the lemon syrup gave these a nice little zing.  But next time I'd punch the lemon zest up even more.

I can't wait to try some other versions!  Yessiree!!

It's all about the journey.

Moulins à vent

This next recipe in La Pâtisserie des Rêves by Philippe Conticini brings home ever more clearly the importance of proper recipe testing and editing.

Remember, I'm using this book as a springboard for discussions regarding recipe interpretation, techniques and dos and don'ts.  It is NOT my intention to follow the recipe to a T!  Au contraire!  I use what I've learned over the years to adjust the recipe and its steps in a manner that makes sense to me.

Here's the page from the book: 

Here is the plan I developed based on my experience with similar doughs:

Rather than using a poolisch I made the dough as I would a détrempe for croissants, basically combining the ingredients for la poolisch and la pâte and reducing the total amount of yeast to 8 gm of instant.  I also had to add more water than the recipe indicated in order to moisten the obviously dry dough mixture.

I gave it a good overnight rest in the refrigerator (where it develops some of its structure and flavor.)

The butter block is ready:

The dough is rolled out into a diamond and the butter placed in the center.  I found this dough to be a bit stiff and dry, even with the additional water I added during mixing.  Ultimately it did hold together OK, but see how the edges are somewhat cracked?.

The butter is enveloped by the dough:

Then rolled out into a rectangle:

And the first three-fold and turn is done:

I found this dough to be similar to that in les croissants recipe - stiff, not easy to roll and the butter tending to break through. 

This dough gets two more turns and a final rest in the fridge before rolling it out for cutting and shaping.

Now, here's a major flaw with this recipe.  It states the yield is 15 moulins and instructs that each piece be cut into a 15x15cm square.  In order to roll this quantity of dough out to create that many pieces of that size, you would have to roll it far larger and thinner than the 1/2 cm the recipe instructs.  Plus 15x15 cm is HUGE for an individual pastry!

I opted for 10x10cm squares (just like when making Kouign-amann), a much more reasonable size for this quantity of dough, as well as for the finished pastries.  Here are a couple of paper templates to show you the difference in sizes.

The dough is rolled out, cut into 10x10cm squares, slits cut to the corners, leaving the center intact.

Every other corner is folded into the center to create the lovely moulin pattern.  It takes me back to my quilting days!

I used egg wash on the dough tips to stick them down.  As you'll see, it wasn't that successful!

Now for a 2-2.5 hour rise at room temp.  Notice how the tips have pulled away from the center, especially in the second picture - quite a mess!

Before I garnished these with a mixture of crème d'amande and apricot jam I had to gently push the tips back into the center - not an easy task with already risen dough.

Add a sprinkle of almonds et voila!

Next time I would roll my dough a bit thinner before cutting the squares since I ended up with 10 pieces  instead of 15.   I should have let it rest and relax a bit more before rolling it to my originally planned 30x50 cm rectangle.  Patience, patience Susan!

The baking time of 20-25 minutes was pretty consistent with the recipe.  Always watch how the browning is progressing and adjust your oven temp up if too pale and down if browning too fast.

And here they are!

I had hoped my windmill shape would have remained more distinct, but instead the tips kind of melded together during baking.  Perhaps rolling the dough thinner would help that.

The flavor was good, although Steve and I thought they needed a little something, so we added a schmear of apricot jam to liven things up.

All in all this was another good learning experience.  I am less and less enthralled with the book La Pâtisserie des Rêves due to the inconsistencies and poor editing I have encountered (leading me to believe that these recipes were authored by different people.)

For example, these moulins are made with laminated dough, the techniques for which should be consistent from recipe to recipe.  Yet, the instruction for the beurrage (the enveloping of the butter in the dough) for this recipe is completely different than in les croissants, which uses the same technique.  The author even forgets to tell you to fold the dough over the butter before you start rolling it out!

I'll put Philippe Conticini's book aside for awhile, although it continues to hold some allure with more enticing sections like goûters d'enfance, les classiques, et les tartes de saison, just to name a few!

In the meantime this coming week I'll be in Norwich, Vermont taking a 4 day artisan bread class at King Arthur Flour.  What a great getaway and perfect blogging opportunity!