Brioche Two Ways!

Brioche has always been a bad word at my house. I love a brioche french toast as much as the next lady, but making it at home was more labor than love. So, when a coworker asked me to try out the Conchas recipe in Tartine using their brioche as a base, I reluctantly agreed. What an adventure this one turned out to be! 

First things first - the end results were delicious. The journey to that end result was two days of mixing and resting and refrigerating and rising. I'm pretty sure I made the Conchas too big and I may have accidentally applied the egg wash at the wrong time, but I and ended up with 13 Conchas and a loaf of bread that will absolutely be used for french toast this weekend! 

Yields 3 1/2 lbs of dough

Brioche Ingredients: 

Poolish

  • 1/4 teaspoon Instant Yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm Water (75 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 1 cup + 2 TBSP Bread Flour

Dough

  • 1 TBSP Instant Yeast
  • 1/3 cup + 2 TBSP chilled Whole Milk
  • 4 chilled large Eggs
  • 5 chilled Egg Yolks
  • 2 1/3 cups + 1 TBSP Bread Flour
  • 1 1/3 cups + 1 TBSP All Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups + 1 TBSP Unsalted Butter at room temperature 

Poolish Recipe: 

In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the water and stir with a spoon. Place the measured flour into the bowl of a standing mixer. Add the yeast and water mix to the flour. Use a rubber spatula to blend the ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to ferment at room temperature for 2 hours. You'll know the polish is ready when it's doubled in size and there are bubbles on the surface. 

Dough Recipe: 

While the poolish is fermenting cut the butter into 1/2 inch chunks and measure out the rest of the ingredients. 

Put the mixing bowl with the poolish on the standing mixer and attach the dough hook. In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the cold milk and mix with a spoon. Pour the cold milk-yeast combo, eggs and yolks into the poolish bowl. Mix on the lowest speed for a minute. Turn the mixer off and all the flours, sugar and salt. Mix on low until the dough forms - roughly 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium - low and mix for 6 minutes. Continually add the butter, one piece at a time. Once all the butter has been added, mix for another 4 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl. Increase the mixer speed to medium for 8 minutes. Once all the butter has disappeared, increase the mixer speed to medium - high for a minute. 

Transfer the dough to a large bowl and cover with a cloth or plastic wrap. Let proof for for an hour. 

When the dough has doubled in size, turn out on a lightly floured surface. Fold the dough in half and then in half again. Place the dough on a lightly oiled baking sheet and pat into a 1 1/4 inch thick round. Dust the top with flour and tightly wrap with plastic wrap. Put the sheet in the freezer for at least an hour to slow the fermentation. If you plan on baking the next day, transfer the dough to the refrigerator overnight. If you plan on baking the same day, leave the dough in the freezer for at least 2 hours and then transfer to the refrigerator for another 3 to 5 hours before shaping. You can freeze the dough for a few days by transferring the dough to an airtight container. Thaw it overnight in a refrigerator before using. 

Conchas

Yields 12 (in my case 13!) Conchas

Ingredients: 

  • 1.3 lbs of Brioche dough 

Topping Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup Unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup + 4 teaspoons Sugar
  • 1 cup + 1 TBSP All Purpose Flour
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Baking Powder

Egg Wash: 

  • 1 Large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 TBSP Milk

Recipe: 

Make the brioche dough through the resting and chilling steps. 

Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces, Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 

Lightly flour a work surface, sprinkle the dough with flour and use the palm of your hands to roll the dough pieces into small balls. Place the dough balls 3 inches apart on the parchment paper lined baking sheets. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and set the pans in a draft free space to let the pastries rise for about an hour. 

Check after 45 minutes. the dough balls should have grown in size and have a spring when you gently touch them. 

In the meantime, make the topping. Combine all the toppings ingredients in a stand up mixer bowl using the paddle attachment. Mix on medium - low until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Wrap in plastic wrap until ready to use. 

Cut the topping into 12 equal parts. Roll out each portion into 3 in rounds. Be sure to roll between two pieces of parchment paper! Cut seashell ridges into the topping using a sharp knife. (I cut slits into the topping rounds and transferred the toppings in one piece. You can see what they looked like resting below. Tartine recommends cutting small strips and adhering each topping strip to the brioche.) 

To make the egg wash, combine the egg and milk in a small bowl. Brush the brioche buns with the egg wash. 

Gently adhere the seashell ridge toppings onto the buns. Let the conchas rest for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. You'll know they're ready when the dough slowly springs back from a gentle poke. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 15 - 18 minutes. The conchas should be golden brown. 

 

Once I had assembled all my conchas, there were 5 remaining brioche dough balls. I let those rise for another hour and a half in a standard bread pan and baked the loaf at 350 degrees for roughly an hour. Delicious!

Brioche and Conchas recipes adapted from Tartine by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson

December 04, 2020 — Evelyn Smith

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