Welcome to the last post in my Canadian Tire Kitchen Crew series.
I’ll be honest… I sniffled a little when I clicked the Publish button this morning. It’s been a blast coming up with the recipes for these challenges over the past few weeks!
Alas, nothing lasts forever, but at least I can end on a high note. Or rather, the culinary equivalent of a high note – a light, puffy brioche!
As you may remember from my first post for this mission, my challenge this time around was to create baked goods using coffee brewed with my Cuisinart Programmable Hot Water System Coffee Maker.
Brioche seemed like a natural fit for this challenge – coffee and pastry are always a good match, so it kind of made sense to cut out the middleman and bake the coffee right into the pastry for a change. And since I love me some chocolate, adding a little cocoa and some chocolate chips couldn’t possibly hurt, either.
To create this recipe, I turned to my beloved copy of Baking with Julia to get an utterly trustworthy basic brioche recipe I could use as a starting point. The recipe is a two day affair requiring multiple steps and an overnight rise in the fridge, but it’s utterly worth it – it turns out one of the most perfect specimens I’ve ever enjoyed, with a golden brown outside and pale yellow inside, with a delicate, lacy crumb with a rich, buttery flavour that is brioche’s trademark.
This variation ups the ante by adding a combination of coffee and cocoa to the brioche dough, which yields a loaf that’s rich brown on both the inside and the outside, with a roasty not-too-sweet mocha coffee flavour and a light, fluffy crumb that’s pure brioche.
It’s quite wonderful as it is, but I find the addition of semi-sweet chocolate chips takes it to a whole other level of delicious by turning the brioche into decadent dessert-for-breakfast treat. It is, how you say, magnifique!
This recipe makes enough dough for three brioches, which can be baked in the traditional fluted brioche pans or a regular loaf pan (or bake a combination, as I did, since I only have only two brioche pans and one loaf pan). The choice is yours.
Regardless of how you choose to shape your loaves, I can promise you one thing – it’ll be delicious. All you need to pretend to be a sophisticated parisienne indulging in a gourmet petit dejeuner is a big bowl of cafe au lait, a jar of Nutella, a scarf casually tossed around your shoulders, and a little Edith Piaf in the background.
A few tips to get the best possible results:
1. Brew the coffee extra-extra-strong to ensure its flavour shines through in the finished loaf. I made this recipe using coffee brewed in my Cuisinart Programmable Hot Water System Coffee Maker with 1 cup of water and 6 tbsp of coffee grounds, but espresso or even double-strength instant coffee will do the trick.
2. Don’t skimp on the quality of your cocoa powder and chocolate chips. A good quality brand will make a big difference.
3. A heavy-duty stand mixer is a must, unless you have the upper body strength and endurance to knead the dough for the full 15 minutes. And don’t skimp on that long kneading time, either! It’s what gives the brioche its trademark wispy, lacy texture.
I was provided with compensation, including a free Cuisinart Programmable Hot Water System Coffee Maker, in exchange for creating this post for the Canadian Tire Kitchen Crew series.
The Kitchen Crew series highlights my stories, recipes & tips with promotional consideration made possible by Canadian Tire. If you want to uncover your kitchen’s true potential, stay tuned to the Kitchen Crew for my weekly missions.
- ½ cup lukewarm double-strength coffee
- 1½ tbsp non-fat milk powder
- 2¼ tsp active dry yeast
- 1 egg
- 2 cups flour
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- ¼ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1¼ cups flour
- ¾ cup butter, softened
- ¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- 3 tbsp turbinado sugar
- In the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer, combine the coffee, milk powder, yeast, egg and 1 cup of flour. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, stir together until the ingredients are just blended. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup flour on top, then set aside to rest, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes.
- After about half an hour, the flour coating should crack, indicating that the sponge is ready to use.
- To the bowl containing the sponge, add sugar, salt, eggs, cocoa and ¾ cup of flour. Using the stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, mix on low speed for 1-2 minutes or until the dough looks as if it's beginning to come together.
- Continuing to mix on low speed, sprinkle in another ½ cup flour. Once the flour is completely incorporated, increase to medium speed and continue mixing for about 15 minutes, or until you have a soft, cohesive dough that wraps itself around the dough hook and slaps against the sides of the bowl (if the dough is too loose or wet, add more flour, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together).
- Once the dough has reached the right consistency, add all of the butter at once. The dough will probably look as if it's falling apart at this stage, but have faith and continue mixing on medium speed - in a few minutes, it should come together again. Continue mixing for 2-3 minutes, or until the dough is once again smooth and elastic, and makes a soft slapping sound against the sides of the bowl. It should be quite soft and slightly sticky.
- If using chocolate chips, fold them into the dough at this stage.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled mixing bowl. Cover with a clean tea towel, and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot for 2-3 hours or until dough has doubled in size.
- Gently lift the dough away from the sides of the bowl to deflate, then cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight, until the dough has doubled in size once more.
- Divide the dough into three equal-sized portions. At this stage, you may shape and bake the dough using one of the options below, or wrap it up in an airtight zip-top plastic bag and stored for up to one month in the freezer (when ready to bake, defrost the dough - still in its bag - in the refrigerator overnight and continue on as written below).
- Shape each piece of dough into a smooth ball.
- Lightly butter three fluted brioche molds, and nestle a ball of dough into each one. Dust tops lightly with flour, then cover with clean tea towels and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until loaves are doubled in size, about 2 hours.
- Divide each piece of dough into 8 equally-sized pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball.
- Lightly butter three 8" springform pans, and arrange 8 pieces of dough in each one. Dust tops lightly with flour, then cover with clean tea towels and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until the rolls have doubled in size and are tightly nestled together, about 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 375F. Brush the top of each loaf with egg wash, then sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake the brioches in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the tops are browned and spring back lightly when pressed in the middle (if the tops begin to brown too quickly, cover loosely with aluminum foil). Let cool in pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.