Yes I hear you, "another brioche post", and I want to tell you that when you can’t reach overhead for a few days and that soup is not really appealing after surgery, brioche is like food send from angels way up above. I had surgery yesterday and my lovely mother-in-law brought me a big pot of soup…and what did I do? I ate brioche instead…for dinner! No veggies, no protein, just pure unadulterated butter and flour.
What makes me happy about this brioche is the little pink praline inside and the little story that goes along with it. I have had a huge crush on Guillemette from Chocolat et Caetera for over a year now. I can’t tell you how many times I leave the house and her latest post is still on my computer screen, how many times I look at her desserts and admire the pure taste and flavors she combines. She is smart, fun and beautiful. She is my girl crush, quoi! A few months ago we started talking about the things we missed about France for me and the US for her (food of course) and somewhere in the mounds of cheese and slushies she mentioned "Heath Toffee Bits" and I remembered the pink pralines from Lyon that I loved so much in brioche. Don’t be mistaken by the word praline: the almond is coated with a semi hard caramel that is tinted in pink and then flavored with different essences. This praline may appear crackling at first but soon the outside gives way to a soft interior. Along with the pralines, Guillemette spoiled me with hazelnut paste, raspberry chocolate jam, tons of incredible artisan chocolate and cookies. Thank you!
Back to the brioche shall we? I received Artisan Bread In Five Minutes A Day when , my other girl crush, Jaden, held a drawing for a few copies of this book based on the ubber popular and beloved concept of the No-Knead bread. After kneading Julia’s French bread by hand from line 1 to line….(well, til the end), I needed the welcome change of a no-knead dough, but brioche? I was skeptical to say the least. My favorite brioche is not the all buttery kinf but rather the one that we call "brioche filee", one that gives out nice strands of dough as you pull it apart. I feared that no matter how good the no-knead one would be, it would just disappoint me. I looked at the brioche recipe in the book but I did not have enough eggs and remember I hate to be disappointed by bread! I settled on the recipe for Challah which texture is very close to the "brioche filee" texture I like so much.
I made small ones, with and without "tete", that little bump on top, and filled each with a praline. I made a double batch so I could indulge on a moment’s notice and boy was I happy to butter one up tonight. See doctor! No reaching overhead! Just from the tray, passed the butter and onward to my mouth. Oh my…perfect! Not too sweet, not oozing in butter, each filled with a little pink surprise inside! Excuse me if I end this post right there with the recipe, but my painkillers are calling my name and I fear I might not make much sense in a few minutes. I will leave you with the recipe for the Challah adapted slightly from Jaden’s minus the praline, and feel free to bake the challah as intended or fill brioche molds and make small ones. Both doughs are cousins after all.
1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tbl instant yeast
1 kosher salt (or 1 1/2 tsp table salt)
4 lg eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and room temp.
7 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
In a large bowl of your stand mixer with paddle attachment mix together the eggs, water, honey, melted butter, yeast and salt. Add in the flour and mix until all the flour is incorporated Cover (not airtight) and stick it in the refrigerator overnight, or up to 4 days. The longer you let the dough in the refrigerator, the better tasting it will be.
You can let it rise for 2 hours on the counter, cover and refrigerate overnight. Pinch of a grapefruit size ball (one pound) and use as you prefer. The dough will keep well for about a week. Freeze if necessary and allow to thaw overnight in the fridge.