So last week, I rhapsodized about my newest-found obsession, brioche. (And not just that, but no-knead brioche!) I’ve been wondering why it took me so long to discover this gem of a bread. I don’t really know, but my guess is – maybe because most of the photos I’d seen before were of sliced brioche, or maybe because the ones I’d tried hadn’t been fresh, I thought of it as a very different texture than it really is. For some reason, I imagined it as unappealingly rigid, dry, maybe a little crumbly. (Which it can be, but only if it’s tired and stale. In which case it’s time to make French toast!)
So woefully misled. Thankfully, I now know the shiny, buttery truth — the truth that is soft, wispy cotton-candy tufts of melt-in-your-mouth bread, the kind of bread that makes you hook your index finger rudely into its belly and yank its cloud-like innards from inside its well-shined golden-brown walls. And add garlic butter, herbs, and melty cheese into that belly? Oh man. Just so good. Goodbye, bread etiquette, hello, hollow brioche shells.
Here’s part two of my Brioche Kick — instead of twisting it up with red bean, I made this one savory, with a dose of smoked gouda, some chopped chives, more butter and a touch of garlic. (If I were hip and with it, I would have hunted down some ramps for this baby, but alas.) Bowl #2 thought it was way better than the red bean, and I kind of had to agree. While that one was fun and a bit off the beaten path, this was just spectacular — full of flavor and colorfully rich, yet not overwhelming. The kind of bread that is its own meal. (And did I mention that this recipe is, again, no-knead?) Enjoy!
P.S. Some news! Somehow I’m up on Food & Wine’s Blogger Spotlight this week, talking about mini things and Korean food. (No mini Korean foods, though.) I’m still pinching myself and/or trying not to pee my pants (is this real life?) but you can feel free to ignore me and go read my bashful interview here. Eeee.
As before, this is based on Artisan Bread in 5's no-knead brioche recipe, found here. This makes twice as much brioche as my recipe for red bean brioche here, and may fit a 9x5 or 10x5 loaf pan, but will not fit into a medium 8x4 pan like the one shown. I baked mine as one individual brioche bun and a loaf.
- for the brioche dough:
- 1 tbsp chopped chives
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3/4 stick (about 6 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp lukewarm milk or water
- 3/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten, plus 1 more for egg wash
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 cups minus 2 tbsp (1 7/8 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
- for the filling:
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2-3 tbsp chives, finely chopped (more for increased flavor)
- 1 oz smoked gouda, shredded, or more to taste
- Melt the butter, chives, and garlic together in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Let the chives and garlic brown for a few minutes to let the flavor infuse. Set aside and let cool.
- Warm the milk to just lukewarm (comfortable to the touch but not hot). Stir in the yeast and let sit for a few minutes -- usually 5 minutes is all mine takes. Foam should form on top, which is how you know you’re good to go and the yeast is ready to go.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the yeast and milk mixture, eggs, and honey. Strain out the chives and garlic from the melted butter, add the butter, and whisk again. (Alternatively, for a stronger garlic-chive flavor, leave it in.)
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, using a spoon to stir, until all of the flour is incorporated.
- Cover with a damp towel (do not seal), and allow to sit at room temperature for about two hours for its first rise, then chill in refrigerator overnight or up to 5 days.
- When ready to bake, melt two tablespoons butter with another 2-3 tbsp chopped chives in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until it bubbles and is just slightly browned, then turn off the heat. Roll the dough out on a floured surface (the dough will be sticky, so make sure to flour first) to about an 8x11 inch rectangle, or about the size of a piece of paper. Brush the butter mixture over the bread, then sprinkle shredded gouda evenly across it, as much as you like.
- Next, you can braid the dough in a few ways. This makes too much for the loaf pan I have, so I folded the dough in half and cut it into eight long strands (quarters, then I halved each quarter lengthwise). I took two strands, pinched one end together, then lifted the right strand over the left to twist them together, and then coiled it into a circle. I repeated that with the other six strands, then placed three of the coils into my 8x4 pan, and the third I placed into a mini pie pan (but it would have been fine to bake free-form on a baking sheet). But you can see other tutorials here and here. If you don't have a loaf pan, you can bake these free-form in their coils on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Cover again with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until doubled. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Whisk together an egg and a splash of water or milk. Brush the egg wash over the loaf, then bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Individual brioche buns will bake in about 20-25 minutes. If the loaf begins to brown too quickly, cover with foil for the remainder of baking.
Note again that this makes twice as much brioche as my recipe for red bean brioche here. It may fit a 9x5 or 10x5 loaf pan, but will not fit into a medium 8x4 pan like the one shown. I baked mine as one individual brioche bun and a loaf.