We’ve been noshing on a new household favorite: fresh-baked brioche! The brioche was uber buttery, light, fluffy, herby, and best of all it had fresh jalapeno slices and shredded sharp cheddar kneaded into it for an extra zip. If you are lucky enough to have a stand mixer, brioche is a must bake.
A: i have to admit something: when i first got my new kitchen aid pro-edition for my birthday in may, i was intimidated! truly! i knew that the machine would change my baking life forever, but man! was i ever intimidated. thank god i got over that and baked us some damn brioche!
T: yeah, thank god… otherwise I would have taken it back and been like “the bitch doesn’t work”… and by bitch I mean my girlfriend.
A: hehehhehehehehhehe you right, you right. that bitch don’t work! you think the kind fellow at the store would take it back with that for an excuse?
T: Hmmm.. it was an ebay mixer… i don’t know how returns work on ebay. My understanding is that once you buy it you’re stuck with it for life.
A: or until you turn around and sell it to some other fool on ebay! fortunately that will not be happening with this fine machine! my new toy isn’t leaving our kitchen unless we move!
T: or unless we go on a road trip and I force you to bring it along because I don’t want to go without fresh bread for more than 2 days.
A: you know, actually, since i made the first brioche loaf i don’t think we have been more than two days without fresh bread! wooo hooo! fresh bread rocks.
T: speak it sister. It does rock. This brioche that you’ve been making has been particularly nice. It’s all buttery and flakey and cheesey and jalapeno-y. If I’m not mistaken, we’ll be running out pretty soon….. umm… do you have any thoughts on that situation?
A: heheh yeah, my thoughts are you should learn to make some damn brioche fo yo self!
T: perhaps I could stand to be a bit less demanding, but it would be a tall order for me to make brioche. I know that’s not exactly a simple thing to do…
A: uh… actually… it is simple! with the help of the handy dandy standy mixer!
T: sadly the mixer comes in and does the one thing that I could have done already… stir. It’s the other crap that I’m clueless about… like breeding colonies of microorganisms, etc.
A: mmm yeasty microorganisms rock! i heart bread.
T: Microorganisms are our friends. Saying that you “heart” something, on the other hand… Ok, ok, ok. The bread. I give it a 4.65/5. It was light and rich at the same time, I loved the cheese and jalapenos. I’m so glad that you’ve been baking more lately. Can’t wait to see what you make next. What’d you think of this one?
A: i loved it! it was light, fluffy, flakey yet doughy-ish with a hint of sweetness yet the savoriness of the jalapenos and cheese! I give it a 4…… a 4….. a 4.7!/5.
T: wow the suspense was killing me while I was reading those dots. Go on…
A: a-hole. needless to say i loved it. and it really was so simple to make. the dough has to chill for at least 12 hours so it’s not something you can just whip up in one day. it takes a bit more planning than i usually have. normally when i cook, i go into the kitchen and fix some stuff. immediate gratification and all.
T: Yes, immediate gratification is/are my middle name(s). But it certainly is great when past Amanda hooks up future Amanda and we can have these exquisite treats.
A: agreed! hmmm… now i have to find new breads and such to make. Any suggestions?!?
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup water, lukewarm 105-110 degrees F
1 packet dry active yeast
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp hot water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
3/4 cups butter (1 1/2 sticks), well softened and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup fresh herbs, finely chopped, (I used rosemary, oregano, thyme, and chives)
special equipment: stand mixer
For Kneading into the Dough:
1 large jalapeno, sliced in thin half-moons
1 cup freshly shredded sharp cheddar
1 tbsp heavy cream
Make the starter: In a bowl, dissolve 1 tsp sugar into 1/4 cup warm water. Add the yeast and stir to combine thoroughly. Allow the yeast mixture to sit for about 5 minutes, until the yeast is foaming, frothy, and clearly active. If the yeast does not start to come alive start over from the beginning with new set of ingredients. Once the yeast is active, stir in 1/2 cup of flour until the ingredients form a very moist dough. Using a sharp knife or razor, make a deep X through the starter dough. Cover and allow the starter to sit in a warm, draft-free area for about 1 hour until the starter has at least doubled in size.
Once the starter has risen for 1 hour, begin to make the dough. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, salt, and hot water. Stir to dissolve completely. In the bowl of a stand-mixer add 2 of the eggs. Using the whisk attachment for the mixer, beat the eggs over medium-low speed until frothy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugary water mixture to the frothy eggs and beat for about 1 more minute, until thoroughly combined. In the order listed, add the following ingredients to the egg mixture, one ingredient at a time, while the machine is running, allowing each addition to be fully incorporated before adding the next ingredient: 1/2 cup flour, 1 egg (last egg), 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 of the softened butter, 1/2 cup flour. If necessary, stop the machine to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to help incorporate the ingredients clinging to the side of the bowl. Once the final addition of flour has been added and is fully incorporated, turn off the mixer.
Exchange the whisk attachment with the dough hook. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the starter into the bowl of the mixer, on top of the existing dough. Using the dough hook, knead the dough at medium-high speed for about six minutes. Turn off the mixer and add the remaining butter and the 1/4 cup of fresh chopped herbs. Turn the machine back on to medium-high and allow the dough to be kneaded for 1 more minute until the butter and herbs are completely incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the dough into a large, lightly buttered bowl. Sprinkle a light layer of flour over the dough so a crust doesn't form while the dough is rising. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free area. Allow the dough to rise until it has more than doubled in size, about 2 or 3 hours. Once the dough has risen, punch it down with well-floured hands. Sprinkle another dusting of flour over the top of the dough and re-cover with plastic wrap. Place the dough into the refrigerator. Chill the dough for 1 hour, then punch the dough down again. At this point allow the dough to chill for at least 12 hours and up to 3 days.
Place a rack in the middle position of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F . In a bowl, add the jalapeno half-moons and the shredded cheddar, toss to combine. Remove the chilled dough from the fridge. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured, clean surface. Liberally dust the top of the dough with flour. Sprinkle a handful of the jalapeno cheese mixture onto the dough. Using well-floured hands, begin to knead the dough. With each fold of the dough, add another small handful of the jalapeno-cheese mixture, kneading and adding until of the mixture has been incorporated into the dough. If the dough starts to stick to anything, your hands, the kneading surface, etc, simply dust with more flour. Place the jalapeno-cheese brioce dough into a lightly buttered loaf pan. Press the dough out so that it is spread evenly through-out the pan. Cover the loaf pan loosely with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise in the pan until it has more than doubled in bulk and nearly fills the pan, about 2 hours.
After the dough has risen, in a small bowl whisk together the egg and tbsp of heavy cream until thoroughly combined. Remove the plastic wrap from the loaf pan. Using a pastry brush, gently brush a thin layer of the egg-cream mixture onto the dough, being careful not to deflate it. Place the loaf pan into a preheated 375 degree F oven. Allow the brioche to bake for about 35 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Remove the brioche from the oven. Place the loaf pan on a wire cooling rack. Allow the brioche to cool for 20-25 minutes in the loaf pan. After about 20 minutes, turn the brioche out onto the wire rack and allow to cool completely for about 1 more hour. Dive in and enjoy with reckless abandon.