The softest and lightest brioche can be made using the breadmaker's secret ingredient tangzhong. This simple water roux adds days onto your bread's life and makes it pillowy soft. And it gives your rich and buttery brioche a heavenly texture!
This tangzhong brioche is incredible. It is so light it could double as a pillow. I don't even know if the photos convey how light and buttery this bread is. And all tangzhong is is a simple water and flour mixture heated up slightly. It takes less than 3 minutes to do but is the secret of so many great breads.
It has been years since I made brioche mainly because it's easy to buy brioche nowadays be it in loaves or buns so I don't tend to go to the trouble and expense. But on one rainy weekend I was tempted to do some experimental baking to see if tangzhong would work well in a brioche.
We didn't want to set foot outside the house as the rain hadn't stopped all day and I wanted to go out but the rain had other ideas and although annoyed, I settled in to make this brioche.
I don't know about you Dear Reader, but do you ever get pre or secondary annoyance? Like when you know something is coming up you don't want to do or like you get annoyed in advance (aka pre annoyed). Or when a friend tells you about a situation involving someone else that is particularly trying, you get secondary annoyance?
Nina and Ivy were telling me about people in their lives who were basically taking advantage of their good natures. I can attest that both these women are amazing and very accommodating and calm. And sometimes people take advantage of them because of that.
And when they were both at my place and telling me about their situations I started to get annoyed on their behalf (secondary annoyance). We all got worked up over each other's situations. There we were, all three of us, annoyed on behalf of our friends! If only we had a slice of buttered brioche to comfort us!
So tell me Dear Reader, do you ever get pre annoyed or secondary annoyance? Do you make brioche often? And have you ever tried bread making with tangzhong?
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 45 minutes plus minimum 4 hour rising time
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Makes 2 brioche
- 500g/1.1lbs flour
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon instant dried yeast
- 50g/1.7ozs. caster or superfine sugar
- 5 eggs, room temperature
- 250g/8.8ozs. butter, softened, cubed
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 egg beaten, for egg wash
Step 1 - First make the tangzhong. Remove 1/6 cup of the flour from the total quantity and whisk with the water until smooth. Heat on medium heat until it reaches 65C/149F and then whisk in the eggs and allow the temperature to reach 45C/113F.
Step 2 - In the bowl of an electric mixer (this kneads for around 30 minutes with the machine so I don't recommend doing it by hand unless you are a serious masochist) mix the remaining flour, yeast and sugar. Fit a dough hook.
To this-see where it has pulled away from the bowl?
Add the tangzhong mixture and mix with a spatula to combine. Then knead the mixture on very low speed for around 20 minutes or so until it starts to pull away from the edges and sides. Mine took around 22 minutes.
Step 3 - Add the salt and then add the butter 2-3 cubes at a time. You can increase the speed a little - don't worry it won't look like it will come together at all especially at first but it will. Keep adding more butter once the existing cubes are incorporated. Increase speed a little until it pulls away from the sides. This may take anything from 4-7 minutes. You should be able to get the window pane effect where you gently pull the dough apart and you can see through it without it breaking.
Window pane effect where you can gently pull the dough apart without it breaking
Step 4 - Shape into a ball without any cracks on the top and place in the bowl and cover in a warm area to rise for 1 hour. Then transfer the whole bowl and cover to the fridge for it to rest for at least 2 hours or overnight.
After 1 hour rise at room temperature
After time in fridge
Rolled into a rectangle
Folded into three
Step 5 - Grease two loaf tins. Take the dough out of the fridge and divide in two. Roll one lot of dough out into a rectangle on a well floured surface and then fold over into three like a business letter. Repeat twice. Then cut into six or eight pieces and roll into balls. Place the balls snugly into a loaf tin and allow to double in size which can take 1-2 hours. Brush with egg wash and repeat with other lot of dough.
Cut into six pieces
Step 6 - Bake in a 200C/400F oven for 25-30 minutes or so until golden brown.