Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Brioches! Pronounced: "bree-osh." They are originally French (surprise, surprise), but Belgium, being a neighbor of France, has a huge history of French cuisine too (even about half the country is still french speaking). 
In French they are called "Pain aux raisins" and in  Dutch they are called "Briochen." It is also called "Zwitserse koeken" here in Belgium, but mine are made in rounds instead of rectangles, thus "Briochen."   The dough is made in the same way as a bread dough, but because of the richness, lightness and slightly puffy texture they are pastries.
These are so delicious and even more tantalizing when fresh out of the oven. They are perfectly soft and chewy inside, filled with a vanilla custard and raisins, then topped with a thin layer of icing glaze. Yum! I suppose they could be compared to the American cinnamon roll. (Mmmm... cinnamon rolls!)  
Recipe makes about 10 round Brioches (as seen in photo) from 3 cm thick.


For the dough: 
  • 250g (2 cups) AP flour
  • 100mL (about 1 cup) warm water
  • 12.5g (3 tsp) sugar
  • 15g fresh yeast (1 package active dry yeast = about 2 1/4 teaspoons = 1/4 ounce = 7 grams)
  • 1 egg
  • 5g (about 1 tsp) salt
  • *optional 30g (2 Tbs) bread improver 
  • 30g (2 Tbs) butter/margarine

For the filling:
  • 125g raisins (pre-soaked in warm water & then drained and patted dry)
  • pudding/custard 

For the finish:

The dough:

*Click here to see how to make Your Own Dough by Hand*

I mix & knead my dough by hand, but feel free to use your kitchen aid/stand mixer with the dough hook if desired. 

If you would like to try it by hand you will need to first pour your flour onto your work space and make a well in the middle. 

In the well add your egg, yeast and water and mix until everything looks dissolved. 

Next slowly begin to incorporate your flour with the liquid in the center. 

(Tip: don't break down the 'wall' of your well, just make the walls 'thinner' or else your liquid will 'escape' and run off your table. It's a big mess if that happens) 

When you begin to form a 'rough' dough, it's safe to add in your butter or margarine, sugar, and the optional bread improver and continue mixing into the dough. 

Lastly add the salt. 

Begin to knead 'intensively' for at least 10 minutes (YES, 10!). 

Don't worry if your dough seems sticky or difficult to work with at this point, that's normal. The more/longer you kneed, the smoother the dough should become. Try to fight the urger to add more flour, it really won't be necessary. If anything you may need to add a little more water. 

*If you're using a stand mixer, first mix your yeast, water, and egg until everything is incorporated-- use the flat paddle attachment  Then add your flour in, split into about 3 portions, one portion at a time (make sure you start with very low speed or else your flour will get everywhere).  Then add  in your butter/margarine, sugar, *improver and mix for a minute, then add the salt. Switch to your dough hook. Continue kneading for about 5 minutes on low speed (2). And procede as directed below.

Ball up your dough and let it rest at least 15 minutes in a warm/damp area, or just under a tea towel. (It's very important to let it rest)

After letting it rest, roll out your dough in a rectangular form to about 3mm thick and 40-22cm long and about 10-15cm wide. It's okay if you can't get yours as big, it's most important to try to get it evenly thick. And don't be afraid to gently tug and pull out the edges or corners a little to where they need to be. 

*Tip: on the side you decide to keep as the un-smeared 1/3, smoosh the edge of the dough into the table or counter to help keep it in place while filling and later while rolling. 

The filling:

Leave 1/3 of the dough without filling, and brush with an egg wash. 
Evenly smear the pudding/custard over the remaining 2/3 of the dough, stopping at about 1cm from the edges. (I do my custard about 1mm thick, but you can use as much or as little as you prefer)

Spread raisins evenly over the pudding/custard. Again, it's your choice as to how much to use. 

Roll up the dough from the side that has the pudding, up to the 1/3 pudding-free side. Roll tight so the edge sticks. You wouldn't want your lovely spirals coming apart in the oven!
It should look like a big dough sausage!

Cut into pieces + 5cm thick. (if you prefer them thinner that's fine, I personally like them a little thick)
Place each roll flat on a baking sheet lined with baking paper, or a well greased and lightly dusted with flour baking sheet. (Spiral side facing up) 

Lastly brush some more egg wash over the tops and a little over the sides to give it a nice golden-brown color.

Bake at 200°C (390-400°F) for +15 minutes.

When cooled, drizzle icing glace over the tops. Enjoy! 

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