This is a very nice version of Brioche without butter, rather with crème fraiche. It’s amazingly soft, spongy and very yummy.
The original version taken from “L’Encyclopédie de la Pâtisserie” comes with dry raisins but because I had dry blueberries still left from my UK trip. I just wanted to try that option out; we enjoyed it.
Ingredients Serves 8 persons Preparation, Resting and baking: about 4 hours
– 500g flower (all purpose) – 20g of fresh yeast – 50g sugar powder or fine sugar – 1 pinch of salt – 1 tbsp of vanilla sugar or 1tsp vanilla extract – 1 zest of orange or lemon (my 1st twist) – 1 tbsp of candied lemon Skin or Orange marmalade (my 2nd twist) – 3 eggs good eggs – 25cl crème fraiche, tepid (see notes below) – 150g of blueberries (my 3rd twist) – 1 tbsp of milk, tepid
Sift the flour and put in a big bowl. Add the yeast, sugar, vanilla sugar, salt. 2 eggs + 1 white (reserve yolk), sour cream, zest, candied lemon peel in very small cuts (or the marmalade). Knead for 5 minutes with an electric mixer, at very low speed in the beginning, then at high speed. Leave the dough in a warm place until it doubles in volume (usually takes 1h30 min or so. I also invite you to read the notes below for another method).
Fold the dough on itself to get rid of the big bubbles and redistribute some of them. Fold in blueberries.
Collect the 2 / 3 of the dough and roll two rolls of 40 cm. Braid them and put them on a greased baking tray. Slightly dig in the center by compressing it with a rolling pin.
Beat the egg yolk and milk to make the eggwash and brush on the dough (you need to keep a bit for the last eggwash).
With the remaining dough, make 2 rolls of 35 cm long, make one second braid that you put just in the middle. Let rest again in a warm place until dough has doubled in size, width and height, for another 1h 30 min approx. Brush with the rest of eggwash.
Place the Brioche the preheated oven 175-200 degrees C (Th 5 / 6) and bake for about 35 minutes.
Once the brioche has cooled, dust it with icing sugar.
If, for some reason you have some leftover (which in normal circumstances does not happen with this brioche), you can turn it to a nice brioche and butter pudding, British style.
Notes/Updates as of Feb 2014
I have made many brioches since this one and even before that. There are a couple of things I learned in the process:
1- using all ingredients at cold temperature make the dough easy to work with and retard the fermentation process, which benefits the end result but giving a better taste.
2- Cold fermentation in the fridge (froid positif as they say in French) will also give a better taste. I have a brioche recipe where this method is vital..I’ve been applying this logic when making bread dough and most of the yeasted doughs for that matter and the reward is definitely there. How to go about that? After kneading the dough, let it proof for 1 to 2 h or until it doubles in volume, then fold it 3 or 4 times on itself to get rid of bubbles. Put in a plastic bag and off into the fridge 4 to 6 hours or overnight. This step is actually very important if you want to shape a brioche (I’m thinking strands, braids..)..