Brioche mousseline

The fourth recipe in Philippe Conticini's La Pâtisserie des Rêves is Brioche mousseline.

I typically associate mousseline with brioche that is baked in a tall cylinder mold with a parchment collar so that it rises above the mold.  It’s then sliced and used for canapés, and the leftovers can be used to make Bostock, that delicious syrup-imbibed, almond cream covered, twice baked delight.

Brioche Nanterre is another version in which dough balls are lined up in a loaf pan, proofed and baked so the balls essentially fuse together, creating a "pull-apart" look.

Since Philippe's recipe instructs the Nanterre type of line up, I was intrigued by his use of the word mousseline. My research revealed that the word has several meanings, depending on its context. In the culinary world it’s a sauce, such as a hollandaise, to which butter is added, whereas in the pastry world it’s crème pâtissière to which butter is added.

In this brioche recipe it has to do with the flour to butter ratio.  A classic "medium" brioche has a 2:1 flour to butter ratio, whereas a brioche mousseline has closer to a 5:4 flour to butter ratio.  So that's what makes Philippe's recipe a mousseline.  In a word - butter!!  Some call this "Rich man's brioche" due to the high butter content.

Now on to the process!

When making brioche dough, use a heavy duty stand mixer.  I generally plan on anywhere from 20-30 minutes of mixing time, so it's helpful to have a number of minor tasks you can perform while waiting for the process to finish.  Just be sure you keep on eye on your mixer, because it can start "walking" around your counter during the butter addition.

This recipe is straight forward.  Have 190 g cool, unsalted butter diced and ready to go. Mix 250 g all purpose flour, 40 g sugar, 6 g salt and 4 g instant yeast in the bowl of your stand mixer.  Starting out with the paddle (NOT the dough hook), add 4 large cold eggs and mix on low speed until the dough comes together.  Then continue mixing on medium speed for up to 10-15 minutes until the dough becomes very elastic and starts to clean the sides of the bowl.

Above: diced butter ready to be added

Now switch to the dough hook and start adding the butter, 1/3 at a time until each addition is incorporated.  

Above: the dough can really creep up the hook!

Above: after the butter addition, ready for a rest

The dough should be shiny, elastic and smooth.  This is one of the things I love about brioche dough at the end of the mixing - so silky and wonderful!

Cover it with plastic film and let it rest 1.5 hours at room temp.

Above: dough after room temp rest

Then place the dough on a lightly floured surface, form a rough ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. I typically make brioche dough in the evening, let it rest in the fridge overnight then shape, proof and bake the next morning. Works for me!

Above: rough ball ready to be wrapped and chilled

After the chill time (in which the dough becomes quite firm), remove the dough from the fridge and get ready to shape!

It’s important to work with the dough cool so, if you have a big batch of dough, it’s helpful to work with half of it at a time and keep the other portion wrapped in the fridge until you’re ready. This recipe makes approximately 680 g (1.5 pounds) of dough which is good for one loaf pan.

I divided the dough evenly into four 170 g pieces.

Then shaped each piece into a boule.

Have a well buttered loaf pan ready and place the boules snugly into the pan.

Cover the pan with a lightly buttered piece of plastic wrap and let rise 2 hours at room temp.

Above: after the rise

Have your oven heated to 350ºF and bake about 35 minutes.  Remember!  I'll harp on this again and again - pay attention to what's happening in your oven!!

Nice and golden brown, just waiting to be tasted.

This is one delicious brioche!  I must admit that over the years as I've tried various brioche recipes, I've been put off by the ones that have a higher ratio of butter.  But this one has changed my mind.  It has a tight, yet light, delicate crumb, and a rich buttery flavor.  Who could ask for more?!