I am somewhat shocked, yet quite pleased to announce that I have somehow acquired magical abilities. I don’t know how or when it happened, I have always been a bit of a muggle (non-magical folk for you who are not familiar with Harry Potter – where have you been?!). However, it has become apparent to me that I do have a bit of the old sorceress inside me. But let me explain, just the other day I decided to attempt to make brioche at home. I LOVE brioche, but had always purchased it from bakeries, never dreaming I could conjure up such buttery, flaky bliss on my own, yet willing to try. So following a Dorie Greenspan (definite culinary enchantress) recipe, I got straight to work.
I was suspicious that something fantastical was happening in my oven the day after I started the brioche making process. (There is an overnight proofing required.) The aroma wafting throughout the house of the that brioche baking was nothing short of intoxicating. Then came the moment when I dared to open my oven door for a peek. My Bubble Top Brioches had risen like champs and were a gorgeous, enticing golden brown. It was then that I knew that I had come fully into my powers. Indeed, I could have stopped right there. Those rich, buttery little brioches would have been delicious all on their own and nothing short of enchanting when slathered with even more butter and jam. But no, something told me that I needed to coat the tops of these delights in a crunchy cinnamon sugar. What can I say…simply magical!
All that Harry Potter-ish talk aside, it really was not difficult to make brioche at home. There is quite a lot of proofing time, so you should plan to start the process the day before you wish to entrance folks with your baking wizardry. (I just can’t let it go…) However as we know, good things come to those who wait and let me tell you, fresh brioche, right out of the oven, is worth every second spent and then some. I chose to make individual serving bubble tops brioches from my dough, however you could divide the dough in half and bake it in two 7 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ pans for 30 minutes. Although the crunchy, sweet cinnamon sugar dusting on my breakfast brioches is completely charming, you could simply brush your brioche with the traditional egg wash. It is very versatile bread and can be used as a vehicle for many toppings such as smoked salmon etc. And once it is stale (as if it will be around long enough to go stale…) it makes a glorious French Toast. My Cinnamon Sugar Dusted Bubble Top Brioches were mesmerizing and have certainly cast a spell over my husband. Bewtich your family today!
Cinnamon Sugar Dusted Bubble Top Brioche
recipe slightly adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table
yield: 12 brioches
- 1/4 Cup warm-to-the-touch whole milk
- 1/4 Cup warm-to-the-touch water
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 3/4 Cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
- 12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the topping:
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Pour the warm milk and water into the bowl of a stand mixer, add a pinch of the sugar, and sprinkle over the yeast. In another bowl, mix the flour and salt together.
When all the yeast has absorbed some liquid, stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until you have a creamy mixture. Fit the mixer with the dough hook, add all of the flour mixture at once, and turn the mixer on and off in a few short pulses to dampen the flour. Set the mixer to medium-low speed and mix for a minute or two, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed, until you have a shaggy, fairly dry mass. At this point, what you’ve got won’t look like a dough at all – in fact, it will be pretty ugly, but that doesn’t matter.
Scrape down the bowl, turn the mixer to low and add the beaten eggs one third at a time, beating until each addition is incorporated before adding the next. Beat in the remaining sugar increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough starts to come together.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the butter in 2 tablespoon chunks. Beat for about 30 seconds, or until each piece of butter is on its way to being almost incorporated, before adding the next little chunk of butter. When all the butter is in, you’ll have a dough that is very soft, really almost like a batter. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and climbs up the hook, about 10 minutes, or a little longer.
Transfer the dough to a lightly buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave it at room temperature until it’s nearly doubled in size; it will take at least 1 hour, but maybe longer, depending on the warmth of your room.
Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator until it stops rising as energetically, about 2 hours: “slap” it down every 30 minutes.
Press the plastic against the surface of the dough and leave it in the refrigerator to chill overnight.
The next morning, butter a 12-cup muffin tin.
Divide the chilled dough into 12 portions. Cut each portion into 3 even pieces, and roll the pieces into balls. The dough is soft and sticky, so here’s the easiest way to shape them: Put a little flour on the counter and put some flour on your palms. Put a piece of dough on the counter, cup a hand over it, and droll the dough around under you cupped palm until you’ve got a nice ball. Using 3 pieces for each brioche, put the balls, prettiest sides up, in the muffin cups.
Place a piece of wax paper on top of the brioches and put the pan in a warm place. Let the brioches rise until they almost fill the cups, 1- 2 hours, depending on the warmth of the room.
Just before the dough is fully risen, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 ° F.
When the brioches have risen, remove the paper and put the muffin tin on a baking sheet. Bake the brioches for 20 -23 minutes, or until they are well risen and deeply golden. If you think they are browning too quickly, you can cover them with a foil tent. Transfer the muffin tin to a cooling rack and let the brioches rest for 5 – 10 minutes before lifting them out of the molds and onto the cooling rack.
While brioches are cooling, in a small, shallow bowl mix the 2/3 cup sugar and 1 Tablespoon cinnamon together. In another small, shallow bowl melt 3 Tablespoons butter. Holding the bottom of a brioche dip the top first in the melted butter, making sure to coat it entirely. Then dip the buttered top into the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Shake the excess cinnamon sugar from the brioche and place it back on the cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining brioches.