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Brioche Three Ways
Posted: 29 June 2011 11:44 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Seems I’ve been in the mood for brioche lately!

The first picture is the Strawberry Savarin from the Cake Bible, with local, fresh-picked strawberries.  I really do think it’s my all-time favorite shortcake-style recipe.  This is listed as a variation under La Brioche Cake.  I roll the zest of one large orange into the dough while shaping, and use a reduced quantity of gold rum (4T) in the syrup, since I’ve yet to acquire a really good bottle of kirsch.  The combination of flavors is sublime.  I didn’t get a photo of the completed Savarin, so the post below this one has an old photo so you can see what it looks like.  I make the Savarin with bread flour (Better for Bread) so that it will stand up to syruping.  The same Savarin is also delicious with peaches or nectarines.

The second pic is brioche wrapped around a stuffed brie, which I made for a large cocktail party.  I loved this presentation, as it could be sliced thinly and stayed neat, unlike many of the pastry-encased bries that caterers seem to use.  The stuffing is from Cookwise, dried apricots soaked in Amaretto and roasted, salted walnuts. 

The last pic is sausage braised in wine, then attached to the brioche with a little egg white and rolled.  Served with spicy mustard, also as a party hors d’oeuvres.  I paired the Brie with wine and the sausage roll with ale.

Here’s a link to my first Savarin post, from several years back:  http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/index_ee.php/forums/viewthread/608/

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Savarin Slice.jpgStuffed Brie in Brioche.jpgSausage in Brioche.jpg
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Posted: 29 June 2011 12:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Here’s the Savarin photo, which wouldn’t fit above.

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Posted: 29 June 2011 01:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Dear Julie
the Savarin/Brioche looks so beautiful! I have a question about flavor for you: I’ve had savarins before (haven’t baked any myself) and they always seem to have a pronounced yeasty flavor, something like the strong yeast taste in a fresh (non-cake) doughnut. Does the rum syrup balance it, or is it a strong note? I happen to like a yeast taste but many people do not. I was curious what you thought.

Thanks
Shokat

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Posted: 29 June 2011 02:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Hi Shokat, and thanks! 

Regarding the yeasty taste, I do think it is improved and balanced by both the orange zest and the gold rum/sugar syrup.  But it doesn’t completely disappear, it just blends into the mix.  Two people that I served it to yesterday asked if it was a sponge cake- they knew it was something different, but they weren’t quite sure what it was.  I’ve made this many times, more than ten, and the gold rum syrup/orange zest is key to Savarin heaven. 

That said, if someone hates brioche sticky buns (is that possible?) then I suppose they might not like this- both have a lot of other flavors to blend with the egg, butter and yeast.  But I have served it to at least ten different kids (after telling their parents it contains rum) and they have all scarfed it down happily.  So I don’t think it’s a difficult mix of flavors to love if kids go for it.

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Posted: 29 June 2011 02:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Ok. You sold me.  But I do have one request.
Will you tell me exactly how you altered Rose’s recipe so I can give it a try? I mean the rum and orange syrup and whatever else you did

Many many thanks
Shokat

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Posted: 29 June 2011 03:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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OK, Shokat, you asked for it- here’s the extended version smile

Rose’s syrup uses kirsch, which I don’t have (good kirsch doesn’t seem very available here and bad kirsch is, to me, abysmal stuff). 

The classic syrup for a Savarin is rum.  Here’s my version:
-Same amount of water that Rose uses
-120 gram sugar, preferably blonde organic sugar (slight molasses taste)
-4 Tblspn gold rum (I like Appleton Estate, but any gold rum that you like will work well).  Dark rum is too strong to pair with the fruit and whipped cream, and white rum disappears.  I’ve also tried limoncello and Gr. Marnier, but rum is the best with brioche.

If I’m going to serve the Savarin the same day I’m syruping it, I add the rum while the sugar/water is still pretty hot (maybe 5 minutes of cooling after it boils) so that it won’t taste too boozy (though you can tell there’s rum in it).  If I’m syruping a day ahead then I add the rum to fully cooled syrup.  I use a skewer to poke holes in the thickest part of the ring to help the syrup penetrate more evenly.

I include the zest of one large or two small oranges.  In order to get the long shape you’ll need for filling the savarin pan, I roll it into a long rectangle about 30"L on lightly floured plastic wrap.  Then I spread that with the zest, roll it up (using the plastic wrap to help roll), and once in the pan I seal the ends with a little water to help them adhere to each other.  It helps the savarin be more even if you try to leave the ends a little thicker than the rest while rolling, as they always seem to be thinner than the rest once in the pan.

I don’t like to do the overnight cold sponge (room temp is fine), because for me that is too much acidity and too strong a flavor for this particular dessert.  I make the sponge and dough in one day, then allow it an overnight in the fridge and shape/rise/bake the second day.  I use bread flour and the max amount of butter (6 oz). 

If your eggs are too large, remove some white.  This is a very soft dough and even a little too much liquid will make it more difficult to work with.

Good luck and tell me what you think if you try it!

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Posted: 29 June 2011 06:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Oh my GOSH! Julie!
This might be too advanced for me. Ok. I’m taking a deep breath. I’m sure I can do this. (maybe after a couple of tries) You did say you’ve made this over ten times.

BUT: a question. I don’t have a savarin mold. Can I use my 9 inch cake pan with removable sides?

Oh dear. Sigh. What an ambitious project, but such a worthy one. OK Savarin. I’m going to try it.

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Posted: 29 June 2011 09:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Oooops, sorry shokat, I think I overloaded you with details! 

Just do everything the same as it says in the Cake Bible- some of my notes are intended for anyone looking at Rose’s brioche in either the PPB or the Bread Bible.  The only real substitution I make is in the syrup: replace the kirsch with gold rum, eliminate the lemon juice and pull back a bit on the sugar (which makes sense with a sweeter liquor and no lemon juice).  If it makes it easier, add the zest to the cooled syrup and let it steep for a bit instead of putting it in the bread dough.  You could also try Rose’s kirsch syrup if you have good kirsch, it’s probably lovely.

You can bake brioche in a number of different pan shapes: loaf, 9” round cake pan or 6-cup tube pan (plain or fluted). 

If you like to take a final internal baking temp, 190F is good.

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Posted: 29 June 2011 10:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Actually I love details. I just got a little scared. But I’m game.  So it looks like I’m good to go with my fancy 9 inch pan
I’m glad you added the internal temp of finished cake. 
I will let you know how it goes! My birthday is coming up, so this will be my project.

Thank you for being such a thoughtful teacher!

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Posted: 30 June 2011 10:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Julie,
Everyone of your projects with Brioche are stunning. Yeast is an enigma to me.  Really beautiful Savarin! Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience!  smile

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Posted: 30 June 2011 11:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Beautiful Julie! I don’t think I’ve ever eaten Brioche before. Everything looks delicious!

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Posted: 30 June 2011 12:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Julie
I had a nice long session with La Brioche Cake in the cake bible and compared what you wrote with Rose’s instructions. Ok. I’m almost there.

I have two more questions:

When I grow up (and I hope it’s soon!) I will have my very own kitchen aide mixer. Right now I have a cheap little electric hand mixer and my own strong hands.  So I wonder if you could advise me about the length of time to do hand-kneading of the brioche dough.  I understand how the dough should look, shiny and smooth, etc. but do you have any wisdom about converting times from stand mixer to plain old human hands?

Second, you mentioned in your old post about an earlier savarin you made, that you glazed your strawberries with casava (instead of the currant jelly, heated and strained.) Could you tell me more about this?

Thanks again
Shokat

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Posted: 30 June 2011 02:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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shokat - 30 June 2011 03:09 PM

do you have any wisdom about converting times from stand mixer to plain old human hands?

I couldn’t find anything in the Bread Bible about a direct conversion, but Cookwise says that kneading most doughs takes about 10 minutes by hand or 4-7 minutes by machine.  In most of Rose’s brioche recipes (they’re in all her bibles), the dough is kneaded with a dough hook for 7 minutes in a kitchen aid before adding the butter, so I would probably go for at least ten with hand kneading and then evaluate how stretchy it is and maybe do some more if it seems to need it.  Before I looked it up I was thinking that perhaps hand kneading times might be double machine kneading times.  So I guess I’m saying 10-15 minutes, but really you go by the look and feel of the dough.  There’s the stretchiness, smoothness, and a certain resistance (it will get harder to knead).  In any event, there is some leeway as the rises will also help develop structure.

All that said, the biggest hurdle will be to keep from adding too much flour to such a soft and sticky dough.  Use a scraper to help knead, and maybe consider omitting a tablespoon or so of the water in the recipe.  It will stick to everything- the counter, your fingers, etc., but just keep going and know that it’s supposed to be that way.  When you add the butter (after the 10+ minutes of kneading), do it one tablespoon at a time.

Try not to be too intimidated, there is more room for error with bread than with cake.  A brioche dough that is less than perfectly porportioned (ingredients) or kneaded or risen or even baked will probably still turn out pretty well and be tasty.  It’s not like a delicate cake that can fall and ruin everything. 

Second, you mentioned in your old post about an earlier savarin you made, that you glazed your strawberries with casava (instead of the currant jelly, heated and strained.) Could you tell me more about this?

This is a little more work, which quite senselessly never seems to be a bad idea to me.  The reason for doing it is either to get a specific flavor of glaze that you can’t buy easily, or to get a glaze that is longer-lasting.  They all melt off the fruit and into the savarin after a while, but cassava lasts the longest.  According to Rose in the PPB, a cassava glaze will hold up for 8 hrs at room temp or 4 days in the fridge.

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Posted: 30 June 2011 02:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Dar and Flour Girl, thanks for the kind words! 

Dar, yeast isn’t so hard- instant yeast is just like adding any other ingredient.  Rising times can be a bit unpredictable, which takes some getting used to, but other than that there isn’t much to worry about.

Flour Girl, get thee to a bakery ASAP!  smile  Just kidding, brioche isn’t very mysterious, it’s just white bread enriched with butter and eggs.  Sort of like a cake lover’s bread.

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Posted: 01 July 2011 09:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Julie:
Fantastic!  ... as always!

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Posted: 01 July 2011 05:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Be still my heart Julie.  Those are just FABULOUS!!!!  I have to try making brioche after seeing this posting.  So many possibilities!!!!  My tummy is growling now after looking at your pictures.  I’d love to sit down and eat all three of them at one sitting. 

You are the Brioche Godess!!

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