Thursday, 16 February 2012

Chocolate chip brioche

250g butter, 50g caster sugar, 7 eggs, 50ml milk, 400g white bread flour, 7g yeast, dark chocolate chips.
Serves: 12 Preparation: 4 1/2 hours (plus overnight)

Brioche contains a metrick fuckton of butter (technical term) so to me, a vegetarian who is just on the healthy side of a pretty sizeable cheese addiction, adding chocolate to the mix is madness, madness I tell you. Not only because brioche is simply perfect without additional adornment, but because it's really far too "cakey" a thing to do to brioche, which is bread. Not cake. Still - I had a request for chocolate chip brioche and as always, I deliver! Prepare yourself people, this is one hell of a high-maintenance bread but like anything that takes some effort, the results are worth it!

1) Bring the milk to the boil, and set aside in a jug until it has cooled almost to room temperature, then add the yeast. Set aside for at least 30 minutes to enable the yeast to activate.

2) Beat 4 eggs and 3 egg yolks, then add the sugar and salt. Pour in the yeast/milk mixture and beat until it has been incorporated. Finally add the flour and stir until it forms a rough dough. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and set aside for 30 minutes.

3) I'm not going to lie to you - this stage is a bitch, but it will all be worth it!
Scoop out the dough onto a clean work surface and cut the butter into small cubes.
Mix the butter into the dough with your hands, using a scraper to stop it from sticking onto the work surface. Kneed and rub the dough, stretching it and working it as fast as you can go until the butter has become completely incorporated and you are left with a soft, elastic dough. Stud with the chocolate chips, pushing them through the dough until they are evenly distributed.

4) Scrape the dough back into the bowl and re-cover with the cling film and leave to chill in the fridge overnight.

5) Divide the dough into either buttered loaf tins or separate into rolls (as I did here, slicing a pattern into the top with a knife). Set aside, covered for at least 2 hours to allow the dough to prove.

6) Brush the tops with a little beaten egg and bake at 220 degrees for 15 minutes. Drop the heat down to 180 and bake for a further 20 minutes, then leave to cool. Best served with a little butter.

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