Great British Bake Off: Streusel Brioche

Episode 6: European Cakes

Recipe (Signature Challenge): Streusel Brioche

I moved onto the “Pastries” episode of the challenge and the first challenge was a yeasted cake dough. Or a sweet bread dough. Most of the competitors made kugelhopfs, but I decided to make a brioche. I think the choices of the competitors and myself do show the cultural differences, or perhaps the influences and what’s available to us. When was the last time you saw a kugel in a bakery? Even in more artisan bakeries here, you don’t see tube-pan type of yeasted loaves. Maybe you might see a challah or a brioche, which is what I went for. I knew I didn’t want to do an ordinary brioche, I wanted to add different flavors and textures in it. There is no shortage of brioche recipes out there and I after combing through my collection I went with Jacquy Pfeiffer’s The Art of French Pastry. I bought this cookbook a while ago but never had an opportunity to use it…until now! After attending the French Pastry School and meeting Jacquy I was really excited to try out his recipe.

BA_JacquyMeeting Jacquy in 2012 at the French Pastry School

After attending the school, I knew I was getting into a very complicated recipe. I was not disappointed. It was a 5-page recipe. Granted, most of it is background explanation which was very helpful. It is definitely not a recipe for a baker in a rush or prefers to whip through method steps. This was the first recipe I have ever encountered that has asked me to take the temperature of the room (“how do you feel today, kitchen? Warm? Lukewarm?”). This was a part of figuring out the optimal temperature to activate the yeast – the temperature of the room, flour & milk have to amount to a certain number. So did I follow this step? Sort of. Even though what I thought I had calculated was warmer than asked, my yeast still didn’t take as well as I had hoped. I think I ran into the trouble of using the wrong kind of yeast – or I should have dissolved it first before adding it to the other ingredients. I think with a lot of these recipes, which can be more advanced, they just assume you DON’T use a dry active yeast (actually this recipe calls for ‘dry yeast’ but…).

What brioche is “known” for is being very rich – it has a lot of eggs and butter. So much so that when you’re mixing in the butter, you don’t think the dough is going to absorb it all. But it does! And it’s deeelicious.

Brioche Mixing

As you can see here, the dough is struggling to absorb the butter. Eventually it does happen and the dough is quite lovely. The dough was actually pretty large, so I only used half. The other I will save for a special rainy day. I decided to bake it in a pie plate and to add a different layer of flavour, I made an applesauce to spread on top (under the streusel).

Brioche with ApplesauceThe one thing I was a bit concerned about was the rise. The first rise didn’t go very well…how would the second yield?

IMG_3418Here is the streusel that would top my lovely brioche.

Luckily when I baked the brioche it rose quite well!

IMG_3421

IMG_3427Lovely contrast with the blue of the plate – and the brioche dusted with icing sugar.

IMG_3435Good bread-y profile of the slice.

Overall: 8/10 (should have added more applesauce!)

Up next…the Dobos Torte!

 

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Categories: bread, Great British Bake Off

Author:bainvancouver

Communications specialist by day, baker/cook/triathlete/dog-owner by night. I blog about my adventures inside and outside my kitchen. Come take a look - no big whoop!

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