Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pain de mie au Brioche

This bread is terrific for canapes, croque monsieur or any preparation that requires a relatively water resistant firm substrate or envelope. The pores (gluten cells) are densely packed and tiny due to limited ability for the raw dough to expand when packed inside the covered baking pan. Since the crumb (fr. mie) is so rigid the bread can be sliced very thinly and once toasted will not warp or fall apart as easily as softer bread with larger, less densely packaged gluten cells. Finally, the large amount of butter fat in the dough, does a great job of coating the starch and gluten strands making them more resistant to water intrusion (and going slack or dissolving and falling apart) than bread with less fat.

I made this last Saturday for use later this week.

Here is the recipe with notes on the rationale for some of the stages and steps.

Sponge -one makes a sponge first to pump up the yeast which would otherwise be too challenged by the high fat environment of the dough. All ingredients are weighed.

Bread flour     2.25 oz         70g
Instant yeast   0.33 oz         12 g
Milk, warm    4.00 oz        112 g

Eggs                  8.25 oz            230 g  (5 ea)
Bread flour       16.00 oz          470 g
Sugar                 1.25                 11g
Butter, unsalted 12.00 oz         336 g    set out to soften!

  • Mix the sponge and let sit covered 30 minutes to stimulate yeast growth.
  • Beat the eggs into the sponge then add the flour, salt and sugar (medium speed with paddle).  Since fat inhibits gluten formation by coating and preventing the glutenin and gliadin proteins from combining with water to form gluten, the flour is added before the butter in order to develop gluten.
  •  Cut up the butter and beat it into the dough (slow-medium speed with paddle) until it is completely combined and the dough looks smooth and silky. 
  • Put it in a bowl, cover it, let it ferment (proof) for four hours. This is the minimum amount of time required for adequate yeast growth, flavor development and gluten relaxation. 
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The oven has to be hot for the bread to bake :-)
  • Turn it out on a lightly floured surface. Press it into a rectangle that is slightly less than the length but slightly greater than the width of your baking pan.
  • You can figure out how to shape the dough on your own. Because the thing is going to bak in a covered pan and it's seams will all be compressed and sealed as the dough pushes against the walls, floor and ceiling of the pan shaping is not that critical.
  • Put the dough in the pan and let it rise until it is within a cm or so of the top. 
  • Bake with the lid until it done. I've no idea how long it will take. I wasn't paying attention when I made it. However, like all yeast bread it's done when it sounds hollow when you thump it with a finger or when an inserted skewer comes away clean and dry.


Melissa said...

Got an internal temperature for the baked bread, by chance?

Bob del Grosso said...


About 200 for this and similar breads.

Jessika said...

I loooove making brioche and have bcome quite good at it over time. I love the transformation you get while you work the dough, you actually see how the long gluten threads evolve. You can see that in any bread dough but since this is worked over a longer time it is easier to see the transformation.

Heidi Robb said...

I like your instruction for knowing when the bread is done by feeling/listening. There is so much cooking to be learned just by using the senses.

Jessika said...

When I started to learn how to cook I'd call home only to receive somewhat fluent instructions from my mother. When is it finished? Oh you'll see it. When is it the right consistency, oh you'll feel it. And eventually I did. Experience and failing will get you there.

Ken Albala said...

Bob, All I want to know is HOW do you know all this stuff?? I think you need to do a book. I've got a new series if you're interested. Ken

Bob del Grosso said...

Ken, What I'd like to know is how much I know that I don't know that I know. What sort of book do you have in mind?

Natalie Sztern said...

Just cause I don't comment each and every time doesn't mean i am not reading and i think Ken has hit it Bob...of all the people I read on the net via food blogs who have written books; I would enjoy whatever you would have to teach about or on food in a book. I ask for just one promise, and that is you remain accessible to your readers....

Bob del Grosso said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence and I will do my best to remain accessible. Even if it means I have to build a robot to answer queries. :-)

Linda/IdahoRocks said...

I agree with Natalie, Bob. If you ever have any time to write a book on the topic of food, I'll pre-buy it before publication!