While dashing through Whole Foods a couple of weeks ago, I spotted the latest “Bake From Scratch” magazine on the shelf. The enticing cover was none other than this Brioche au Chocolate Loaf!! I couldn’t resist, of course, it is the “French Issue”. I feel the need to make everything in the magazine…immediately! But…I have to confess feeling a bit intimidated by the beautiful pictures and seemingly complicated recipes. As I have mentioned in the past, I do not consider myself a great baker, but I do enjoy yummy baked goods! So, I have decided to overcome my fear of baking.
The ingredients to the lovely Brioche au Chocolate are the straight forward, simple necessities for all things yummy and baked – flour, milk, butter, eggs, sugar, yeast, salt, chocolate. How can you go wrong. Indeed this recipe is pretty easy, the hardest part is the waiting time for the various “risings” required.
After combining the ingredients and letting the dough rest in the refrigerator overnight (this is what it looks like), I was super excited to get to the baking – but wait, more rising required – in the meantime, the magazine offered a few tips that I found helpful:
- When making brioche, the quality of the butter matters. Splurge on the good stuff – high-fat, grass fed such as Kerrygold is a great choice.
- Mixing also matters – Properly mixing is what gives brioche its soft, feathery texture. Be sure that every pat of butter is fully incorporated before adding more.
- Being patient and letting the dough rise in a warm and draft free location is crucial – otherwise you may get flat and dense brioche (in other words, not really brioche).
- You can also skip the chocolate and use small fluted loaf pans called Brioche à Tête pans to make traditional single Brioche – plain or sprinkled with pearl sugar.
Now, back to the baking….chocolate gets kneaded into the dough…
My oven is a bit wonky at the moment so my loaf got a little more brown on the top than I was hoping for, but the egg wash is a great way to get that lovely glossy top! I think with practice I will get better at kneading and my loaf will be a little more airy and fluffy – but the end result this time was very tasty! This recipe is a keeper. Slice and enjoy with a cup of tea or your morning coffee.
I think this will be my next French inspired baking attempt – Cherry Clafoutis
Do you have a favorite French recipe? Any baking tips that I can share in the comments below – Happy Baking!
- ½ cup warm milk (80º-100º)
- 3 tablespoons (54 grams) sugar
- 1 tablespoon (12 grams) active dry yeast
- 3 cups (400 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
- 5 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
- 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup (140 grams) high-quality 64% dark chocolate, chopped
- Egg Wash - one egg
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine milk, sugar and yeast. Let stand for 10 minutes. Add 1½ cups (200 grams) of flour and eggs, and beat at medium-low speed until smooth, 2-3 minutes. Remove paddle, and cover; let stand for 35-40 minutes. At the end of this initial fermentation process, there should be small bubbles forming around the edges of the mixture.
- Replace paddle attachment with the dough hook. Add remaining 1½cups (200 grams) of flour and salt. Knead at medium speed until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is smooth and elastic, 8-10 minutes.
- With mixer running at medium speed, add butter, 1 tablespoons at a time, letting each piece incorporate before adding the next. Spray a large bowl with baking spray. Place dough in the bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let stand in warm, draft free place (75º), until doubled in size, 1 and 30 minutes to 2 hours and 30 minutes.
- On a lightly floured surface, turn out the dough and fold a few times to knock out a bit of air. Return dough to greased bowl; cover and refrigerate least 8 hours or overnight (up to 16 hours)
- Grease 9x5 inch loaf pan
- On a lightly floured surface, turn out the dough. Punch down dough and sprinkle chocolate onto dough. Knead chocolate into dough briefly, just until chocolate is incorporated. Shape dough into a loaf, and place seam side down into the prepared pan. Cover and let stand in a warm draft free place (75º) until dough is puffed up, 40-60 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400º
- Brush risen loaf with egg wash (to make egg wash-lightly beat one egg), and back for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350º, and continue baking until golden brown and a thermometer inserted in center registers 190º, 35-40 minutes.