"S’ils n’ont plus de pain, qu’ils mangent de la brioche"
Whether Marie Antoinette really said "let them eat cake" or more accurately "let them eat brioche" is a moot point as far as I am concerned. It has become iconic irregardless and it is an excellent saying all the same - it certainly helps justify days where I have cake for breakfast. Brioche is this luxuriant fluffy combination of cakey bread made from lashings of butter and eggs that will make your house smell amazing. When it is stale, it will cure all your French toast cravings. I mean really, is there a better bread you could use for French toast? Noooope.
Brioche has been on my to bake list for ever. When I was in high school I used to make little brioche buns filled with chocolate chips in a muffin tin but somehow they never felt like real brioche – just starchy muffins trying hard to be fancy and for some reason I kept throwing it into my “too hard not now” basket where things go that I want to try but usually forget. I found this recipe for briochewhile I was trawling through the glorious Hungry Girl Por Vida. It is really workable and yields such a beautiful loaf. I love the idea of tear away loaves. She uses lemon in hers which is pretty genius. I opted for Nutella because for some reason we had three jars in our pantry and well, because its Nutella. Next time I think I will make the cinnamon version from Joy the Baker or a savory kind, with caramelized onions and garlic and three kinds of cheese.
NUTELLA PULL-APART BRIOCHE
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar (i used organic cane w/ fine results)
- 7 grams instant yeast
- 5 grams ground sea salt
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 60 grams/2 oz. butter, unsalted
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs, room temp
- Big spoonfuls of nutella
- Big handful of chocolate chips
- 1 egg yolk mixed with 2 tsp of water
Put the oven on high for 20 minutes.Then turn off
In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Set aside. In a small saucepan heat milk and butter over low heat until the butter is just melted. Remove from heat, add water, and set aside for about a minute until the temperature registers 50C/120F (Not too hot as you want the yeast to activate!) Add the vanilla.
- Pour the milk mixture over the dry mixture and stir to combine. Mixing by hand (if like me and you are too poor to afford one of those amazing fan dangled mixers with dough hooks), add eggs one at a time (If using a mixer make sure it is fitted w/ the dough hook). When mixing the eggs it will look like you are not going anywhere and just have a big ol mess but be patient and I promise you it will come together and incorporate.
- Add 1/2 cup flour and mix until smooth. Add remaining flour, 2 tablespoons at a time and knead until smooth and sticky (don’t try and firm it up with more flour or you will have tough bread which is one of life's greatest miseries).
- Place the dough in a large, greased bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rise in a warmed oven until doubled in size. Punch down the dough.
- On a lightly floured work surface roll out the dough into roughly a 30x40 cm rectangle. Spread the Nutella thickly over the rectangle and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Cut the dough long ways into 5 or 6 strips. Stack the long strips on top of each other and cut into 4 to 5 smaller squares and line into a greased loaf tin.
Preheat the oven to 180 C/350F.
Brush the loaf with egg wash and leave to rise in a warm spot for another hour or so until the loaf has filled the tin. Bake for 30-35 mins or until golden on top.