Simple brioche with raisins
Buttery and pillowy, this pastry tastes great with a little jam on the side.
This, dear reader, is an upside-down brioche. It’s everything I want in a brioche. Light, tender crumb. Raisins. Buttery, yeasty, just-sweet-enough flavor. I was looking for a good breakfast bread, and this is going to be it.
So why am I showing it to you upside down?
Because I let my attention wander for a minute or two, so the tops burned. I do use a timer, and an oven thermometer. It just … takes experience to figure out how long to bake different-sized batches each time.
Still light and tender, in spite of the over-baked top.
This is the quickest brioche recipe I’ve come across; two hours max from start to finish. Using a food processor, that is. Julia Child’s recipe is much more elaborate (12 hours), and "The Joy of Cooking’s," which intrigues me because it requires a starter that soaks in water first, takes 6 hours. Both are much richer in eggs and butter and are no doubt closer to the authentic French brioche. But this Jerusalem version, which Israeli chef Moti Butbuch gave me, is worth starting with because it’s so easy to make, and everybody loves it. In fact, this is the best excuse for jam and butter that I’ve come up with in a long time.
Timing is important, every step of the way. If you let the dough over-rise in the mold, the high proportion of yeast will result in a brioche that overflows.
What I’ve learned is to fill the mold no more than 2/3; to keep an eye on the batter as it rises (it can over-rise in seconds), and to start testing for done-ness 15 minutes into the baking time. I use the time-honored toothpick method – if no crumbs cling, it’s baked.
Now you have the benefit of my experience. I wish I could just stick my hand through the monitor and hand you a slice of this brioche. It’s that good.
- 1 pound all-purpose flour, sifted
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 whole egg
- 2 ounces cube fresh yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cup warm milk
- 2 ounces cold butter, chopped into dice
- 1/2 cup raisins
- Extra butter and sugar for preparing molds
This recipe assumes you're using two 9" brioche molds. However, you can bake brioche in loaf pans as well.
In a food processor fitted with a steel knife, blend flour and yeast. Add eggs and blend again. Add salt and sugar; blend.
Add milk gradually. The dough will be batter-like. Don’t be discouraged.
Add butter, a little at a time. Blend until all is incorporated. Allow the dough to rise until doubled, 40 minutes to an hour depending on how warm your kitchen is.
Whirl the dough a few minutes. It will become less sticky and leave the sides of the bowl. Now you may transfer it to a bowl, or leave it in the food processor, but the next step will be done by hand. That is, beat the raisins in.
You’ll notice that the more you beat, the more body the dough will take on. But stop beating once the raisins are evenly distributed throughout the dough.
Butter molds generously, then cover the sides and bottom of molds with sugar. Tap out any excess sugar. Fill molds two-thirds of the way.
Allow dough to rise almost to the top of the mold, leaving at least 1/4″ margin for it to rise while baking. This dough needs 60-80 minutes of rising time. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C).
Dust the tops of the brioches with sugar. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of one emerges clean. This will take 15-25 minutes, depending on the size of your mold.