Brioche au Chocolat

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

I’m clueless and confused when it comes to bread. Honestly now, why do people eat toast all the time? 

Sliced Hovis with a slither of butter, maybe some chopped mild cheddar tossed on top to make it dull as dishwater. Seriously, what’s the deal with the toasted fortified bread?!

Its my family’s morning fuel, but I usually settle for milk chocolate cooking chips. The weekly shop is few and far between at home , but the instant coffee, milk and sliced bread never runs low. *

I wish the amenities had a bit more excitement injected into them. I wish my home was in Belgium and my made up brother would panic whenever we had a shortage of chocolate, resulting in him popping to the off license to pick up a slab for our brioche au chocolat in the morning. Obviously there would always be proofing brioche dough in the fridge without fail. 

Can you imagine? Chocolate custard savoury bread for breakfast. All-the-time. 

People wish for a lot of things, sometimes I wish I were an elf serving Santa all year round- this is probably more likely than brioche au chocolat becoming an amenity in suburban London.

To bide the time between now and my wish becoming reality, I have made this brioche as a one off. For one day (which went far too quickly) we had brioche au chocolat for lunch and dinner; the ‘pastries’ are the perfect balance of sweet and savoury. 

The brioche is rich and crumbly and far from cakey. The custard adds softness to the texture, but the sugar hit will mainly stem from the chocolate - which is dark - making this the ultimate ‘must eat’ (everyday). 

Lets all agree to make brioche the best thing since sliced bread.

* My sister walked through the kitchen after I wrote this post and said "Hmmm what should I have on my peasant toast?"  She admitted that she thought it sounded 'uppety'. As in: snobby. As in: who the hell eats brioche everyday? If I offended anyone in this post, sorry! I simply hate toast, I dont have anything against anyone who chows down on the stuff! 

The Recipe: Brioche Au Chocolate

Adapted from Joanne Chang's Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery

For the brioche:
315g plain flour
340g bread flour
28g active dried yeast
82g sugar (granulated or caster)
1 tbsp salt
120g cold water
310g unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
5 medium eggs + 1 for egg wash

Note: This recipe will make 2 lots of dough, Chang strongly suggests not halving the recipe as you wont have enough in the mixer to get the appropriate incorporation when mixing. See the method notes for what to do with the 2nd half of brioche dough.

Note II : I dont think you can make successful brioche without a stand mixer, unless you fancy a dead arm. I think it could work in a bread maker by setting to 'knead' each time.

For the pastry cream:
300g milk
100g sugar
10g plain flour
20g cornflour
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt

150g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

The Method:

Note: Read this recipe through before diving in, just to get an idea of timings: I made the brioche and custard at night, then I let the brioche prove overnight and the custard set in the fridge. Then, in the morning I put together the prepared pastries then set them aside to prove again. I had fresh brioche at 5pm that day. 

The Brioche:
Weigh out all of the dry ingredients in a freestanding mixer with a dough hook attached. Mix the ingredients together until everything is combined. Add the eggs and beat on low speed for 4 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl, then carry on mixing for 4 minutes (dough will be stiff and dry). 

With the mixer on low, add a cube of butter at a time, mixing after each piece so that it combines with the dough. Continue to mix on low for 10 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. If necessary, break the dough up with your hands to help incorporate the butter - there are some places the mixer can't reach!

Once the butter is all mixed in, turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat for 15 minutes. The dough will become shiny and soft. Then turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and beat for one minute. The dough should 'slap' the sides of the bowl at this point, and when you pull it, it will stretch. If not, add a couple tablespoons bread flour and continue to beat for a few minutes longer.

Place the dough in a bowl and cover the surface with clingfilm. Let the dough proof in the fridge for 6 hours/overnight.

The Pastry Cream:
In a medium saucepan, bring the milk up to just boiling and then remove from the heat.

In a small bowl, stir together the salt, flour, cornflour and sugar.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks until well blended. Slowly whisk in the flour mixture until a thick paste forms.

Very slowly add the hot milk to the paste, whisking constantly to make sure the egg doesn't scramble. 

Return the new mixture to the saucepan (on medium heat) and whisk constantly for 3 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and starts to boil. As soon as it starts to boil, whisk for 10 seconds and immediately take off the heat.

Pass the custard through a fine sieve directly into a bowl. Gently stir in vanilla extract. 

Cover the surface of the custard with clingfilm. Once cooled, set aside in the fridge. 

Brioche au Chocolat: 

Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment.

Remove the dough from the fridge and divide in two pieces. Place the second half in the freezer - where it will keep for one week. *

On a floured surfaced, roll the dough out into a rectangle that is about 20 x 10 inches, with the long side facing you.

Spread the pastry cream over the entire surface of the dough. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate over the bottom half.

Carefully fold the top half of the dough over the bottom half and gently seal the edges together using your fingertips.

Using a sharp knife cut the dough into 2 x 10 inch rectangles. To do this, make a small incision at the top of the dough every 2 inches, so you know where to cut. You should end up with 10/12 pastries.

Using both hands, transfer each pastry to the baking trays, spacing them 4 cm apart. Lightly cover with clingfilm and leave to prove for 2 hours in a warm spot.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

In a small bowl or cup whisk together the remaining egg. Take a pastry brush and lightly coat each pastry with the egg.

Bake in the oven for 35/40 minutes. Let cool on the trays for 20 minutes. They are best served within four hours of baking and will stay fresh for one day.

*For the unused half of dough, you can simply defrost, place in a loaf tin, let proof for 2 hours & bake for 35 minutes for a brioche loaf.
Delicious brioche aside, its damn hot in London at the moment. Me and my boyfriend took a last minute trip to Camber Sands to escape the stodgy city air. The beach was completely untouched, so natural that I had to share it with you. How have you been coping with the heat? 
Love Em xx

I am really sorry but all comments for this post have been lost in Blogger's system/archive/brain somewhere and I cant retrieve them! Please forgive me x


  1. looks amazing! I'm going to get brave this w/e and try. great directions, thanks!


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