Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Battle Of The Brioche

As documented here before, I'm battling with a very old, dodgy oven in an even older, dodgier kitchen. From the first day we moved in the oven has been busted, none of the settings work & it's stuck on oven bake. As soon as I turn it on, both elements heat up with the ferocity of a blast furnace. This makes for some very creative cooking, as things turn black almost immediately on the top & bottom, while remaining uncooked in the centre. However, I steadfastly refuse to pay good money to get it repaired, as MOTH keeps saying along with the entire kitchen, the oven is being attacked by his sledge hammer soon & totally demolished. Yeah, yeah.

I focus a lot of energy on this oven, not wanting to let it get the better of me. I like to cook, but some days taming the beast are easier than others. This weekend I had a shocking craving for brioche & not being flush with French Boulangerie's up here in the Hills, I thought I'd get in the zone & have a go myself. Here's the results, as best as I could do with the Linda Blair of ovens. I really like this easy recipe, so thought I'd pass it on. Even though they wouldn't have won any prizes in the looks Dept., as I didn't have the requisite fluted brioche tins, they tasted sensational.


2 teaspoons (1 sachet/7g.) dried yeast

¼ cup (60ml.) warm milk

¼ cup (55g.) caster sugar

2 cups (300g.) strong plain flour

¼ teaspoon salt

3 eggs, lightly whisked

125g. soft butter, cut into 2cm pieces

1 extra egg, lightly whisked

2 tablespoons demarera sugar

butter, extra to serve

strawberry or raspberry jam, to serve

You can use this recipe to make one large brioche also. Follow the same steps but cook in hot oven for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 180°C and bake for a further 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.


1. Combine the yeast, milk and 1 tbs of caster sugar in a small bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes or until frothy.

2. Combine the flour, salt and remaining sugar in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour yeast mixture and eggs into the well and stir until just combined. Turn on to a lightly floured surface. Knead for 5 minutes or until smooth.

3. Add 1-2 pieces of butter to the dough and knead until well incorporated. Gradually continue to add butter cubes, 2-3 at a time, and knead until well incorporated. Transfer to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour or until dough doubles in size.

4. Preheat oven to 200°C. Grease 8 small brioche pans. Use your fist to knock back the dough and knead for 2-3 minutes or until smooth. Divide into 8 even portions. Cut ¼ of the dough off a portion. Roll dough into a smooth ball and place in a brioche pan. Roll reserved dough into a small ball and place on top of the dough ball. Push a bamboo skewer through the middle so they stick together. Repeat with remaining dough. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 30 minutes to rise.

5. Brush each brioche with extra egg and sprinkle with the demarara sugar. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Serve warm or at room temperature with extra butter and jam, if desired.

My finished product - apologies for the deadful images, a Food Stylist/Photographer I'm not!

Images: 1,7,8 Millie Images: 2,3,4,5,6 + recipe: Notebook


  1. Millie, you do not need any French boulangerie! your brioche look wonderful and would like to come and have morning tea with you.

    Have a wonderful week

  2. They look extremely delicious to me Millie....xv

  3. Oooh Miam! My oven cooks one side and not the other so you must be sure to turn your brioche half time ! Just when I regaled the Italian father in law with the Panetone recipes - I can now win brownie points (and jealous looks) with the 'coffee morning brigade' due to your exquisite brioches!! Merci beaucoup Millie!

  4. Ohhh swoon... I adore brioche. It's only available at one local bakery ~ and they only make it upon request. Unfortunately I fear I wouldn't be able to resist the whole loaf. But then... with no sweets right now-perhaps the whole loaf would fill that void!
    These look wonderful Millie-like they came right out of the Aga.

  5. Wow they look great.

    And it could be worse, the oven could be stuck on defrost. Or the light setting.

    I suggest that if the oven were to 'break' all of a sudden, MOTH would have to get that sledgehammer out more quickly.

  6. Stylist smylist. They look great! Imagine the feasts you will have when you get a working oven...Millie, if I were a magician I'd conjure a new oven just for you - hand-made from Italy for your ultimate cooking pleasure.

  7. Yum! I wonder how well they'd do in the post up to Queensland!


  8. I think they look delicious, and would be over for breakfast if you were not, well, you know, half way around the world. Your cooking with that oven is pretty much how I feel anytime I am cooking. Sleeping with the enemy.

  9. millie, as one who's struggling with digesting anything touched by gluten right now and it being three hours past my lunchtime with no lunch, i'm about to jump thru the screen and attack your brioche, uneven cooking or not. they look delish! pam

  10. They look absolutely devine!

    I understand dodgy oven syndrome well. The oven at ours was broken since moving in last year so everything took twice as long to cook. I got used to this though, so now since having the oven finally fixed last week, I have burnt just about everything i've cooked.

  11. Millie, I am so impressed. I have a new oven and I struggle with baking at the best of times.
    Nellie xx

  12. Millie, your brioche look lovely, battle or not!!

  13. Millie, my friend used that recipe from Notebook too and she shared some of the brioche with us. So light in texture but so scrumptious too....yum!

  14. Donna Hay eat your heart out! That photo on the rack looks fabulous...and I have just discovered that me drooling is not a pretty sight!!!!

  15. Millie - I think you missed your calling - French Patissier extraordinaire! They look absolutely wonderful - yum! x

  16. Yum! I'm battling a old dodgy kitchen and oven, too! Need to get my son through college before we pull out that sledge hammer! ha!

  17. i adore brioche... i will hop on a plane and come over and indulge with you... they look amazing!!!!!! xoxo

  18. Millie...They look delicious in spite of being baked in a Linda Blair oven. Rosemary

  19. Yum, yum, yum...I love brioche, especially as french toast.
    Thanks Millie, this looks wonderful!
    Jeanne :)

  20. Oh what a pain for you!

    These look totally delicious, I'll duck across states and have one with you :)

  21. Wow, you have inspired me to try to make Brioche. Living in Paris for years has made me spoiled and lazy as all I need to do is roll out the door and pick some up. I have to admit I do not do it that often as I am up 5 flights of stairs, but the option is there. Somehow making them yourself is so satisfying. I'm gonna do it. Thanks again for the motivation. Yumm! A bientot - Erica


And none will hear the postman's knock
Without a quickening of the heart.
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?
~W.H. Auden

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