I have never had a bad experience with any of the recipes in Bo Friberg’s book, The Professional Pastry Chef , and I have used his book quite a lot at the restaurant when I got started and I wanted to impress the bosses or the patrons. I like the fact that he gives the recipes scaled for large and small productions and that he always provides the history of the food in question.
Here is what he says about brioche:
"This light and French specialty, so rich in buter and eggs, is said to have gotten its name from the French word "brier", which means to pound. I assume this related to the dough’s lengthy kneading process, which long ago, before electric mixers, simply meant pounding the dough until it reaches the desired consistnecy.
The most typical shape for brioche is a round fluted base with slightly slopping sides and a round knot on top. (…) Brioche dough is very versatile and is used frequently for encasing other foods: it can be wrapped around a wheel of cheese, it is used for : Beef en croute", and in the Russian classsic: Kulebiaka (Coulibiac in French) where the dough is filled with layers of salmon, rice, eggs and herbs. Individual baked brioche are sometimes hollowed out and filled with savory stews or fruit and cream for dessert."
…and to think I decided for the plain old traditional way…makes me want to mix another batch for sunday’s dinner…Beef en croute anyone?
For 18 individual Brioches:
For the Sponge: mix together 1 oz. fresh compressed yeast (or 0.5 dry), 1/2 cup warm milk, 2 Tb. honey and 4 oz. bread flour. cover and let rise until doubled.
For the dough:
add to the sponge 2 tsp. of salt, 2oz. granulated sugar, 4 eggs. Mix in 1/2 pound cake flour and 4 to 8 oz. cake flour. Start by adding 4, and if the dough is too sticky continue to add up to 8. Incorporate 4 oz. very soft butter
The dough should not stick to the sides of the bowl and have a shiny appearance. Cover and refrigerate 5 to 6 hours, or until doubled. If you want to use it earlier, let rise at room temp. Punch the dough down and shape into individual molds. Bake at 375 degrees until hollow when tapped, about 20 minutes.