Back in Black (or should I say, brioche)

Yes, that’s right folks, after a months-long laziness induced hiatus, I’m back with an exciting new recipe to share, just in time for the start of fall baking season!  Specifically, this cardamom and currant brioche:

Cardamom Currant Brioche

Think of it as cinnamon raisin bread’s sexier French cousin.  What makes brioche so desireable is it’s soft, delicate texture created by the extra helping of eggs and butter packed into the dough.

Though perfectly delicious on it’s own, formed into rolls or a simple loaf of sandwich bread, I decided that for my foray into brioche-ing, I might as well go big and punch it up with a sweet, spiced filling.  The recipe below is lightly adapted from this Food 52 recipe with a bit of help from Mark Bittman’s brioche recipe in How to Bake Everything.  The currants are soaked in rum while the dough proves (can you tell I’ve just binged the latest season of GBBS on Netflix) to add some extra zing.

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 1/2 cup lukewarm milk (approx. 100-110 F)
  • 2 packets (1/2 oz.) active dry yeast
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs, plus one yolk, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsp) butter, room temperature
  • 3 tbsp sugar

For the filling:

  • 5 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp rum (drained from the currants)
  • 1/3 cup dried currants, soaked in a few tbsp of rum and then drained
Make sure to butter the inside of your bowl before popping the dough in to keep it from sticking.
IMG_0608
After about an hour and a half, your dough should have doubled in size.
IMG_0610
Once you’ve rolled out the dough, spread the filling evenly over the dough, leaving room at the edges, and sprinkle with the currants.

Directions:

  1. Combine the warm milk and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer and let stand approximately 8 minutes, stirring occasionally to dissolve the yeast.
  2. Add the flour and salt to the yeast mixture and mix on medium-low speed 1-2 minutes.  With the mixer running, add the eggs and extra yolk one at a time.  Add in the sugar and beat on medium 2-3 minutes.  (Note: The Food 52 recipe says to use the paddle attachment, but I went with the bread hook, which I think was the right choice seeing as, you know, brioche is bread.)
  3. With the mixer still running, add the butter tablespoon by tablespoon until incorporated.  Turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat approximately 6-8 minutes until dough forms a ball.
  4. Turn dough out into a large, buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside to prove in a warm place for 1.5 hours.  (The dough should at least double in size during that time.)
  5. Once the hour and a half has passed, gently deflate the dough by pulling the sides away from the bowl and turning it over.  Recover the bowl and let the dough prove another 30 min.  Repeat this step one more time before rolling out the dough.
  6. In the meantime, make the filling by combining all of the ingredients except the currants in the bowl of a stand mix, beating until smooth.  Set aside.
  7. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a large rectangle.  (I ended up rolling mine TOO large and had to cut it down to fit in my loaf pan.  But not to worry–I used the excess to make some extra little rolls.)  Spread the filling evenly over the surface of the dough, leaving a bit of room at the edges, and sprinkle on the currants.  Roll the dough into a log along the longer side, then cut the long length-wise, exposing the filling.  Pinch together the ends of the two lengths of dough and braid into a twist with the filling side facing up.
  8. Place the braided dough into a buttered loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap, and prove 1 hour.
  9. Bake at 350 F for 35 minutes or so, until a toothpick/cake tester comes out clean.

Et voila! A tasty brioche treat to brighten up your breakfasts for the next week…or at least a couple days…maybe…

Aromatic swirls of cardamom and currants add a tasty twist to this French standard.

 

 

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