Brunch is my favorite meal. I think it's because I only have brunch out at a restaurant, so there's no cooking OR cleaning involved. There's usually always dishes that I don't typically make at home.
One of those dishes is brioche French toast. Sure, I make French toast at home, but not with brioche. Brioche is an rich bread made with eggs and butter.
But brioche is also delicious on its own. It can come in many forms: a loaf, a braided loaf, or individual muffin-sized knots called petit brioche a tete. These are usually baked in individual fluted molds.
Most people don't own these molds (and there isn't too much else you can do with them), so I found an easier way to bake them: as mini brioche rolls in muffin tins.
The biggest piece of advice I can give is to weigh your ingredients. It's the most accurate means of measuring ingredients, and will give the most consistent results. You'll also get consistently-sized mini brioches, which means even baking.
Mini Brioche Rolls
Recipe source: Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice
- 4 cups (10 ½ ounces) unbleached bread flour, divided
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- ½ cup whole milk, between 90 and 100 degrees F
- 5 large eggs, slightly beaten
- 2 ½ tablespoon (1 ¼ ounces) sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups (16 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- Place ½ cup of the bread flour and the yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk to combine. Add the whole milk, and stir until all of the dry ingredients are moistened. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 20 minutes.
- Remove the plastic wrap and add the 5 beaten eggs to the bowl. Mix with the paddle attachment on medium speed until smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed.
- In a separate mixing bowl, stir together the remaining flour, sugar and salt. Add this mixture to the dough, and mix on low speed with the paddle for 2 minutes. Set aside and let the mixture rest for 5 minutes.
- Turn the mixer on to medium speed, and add a quarter of the butter. Mix until the butter is completely absorbed, scrape down the bowl, then add another quarter. Mix until the butter is completely absorbed. Scrape down the bowl. Repeat with the remaining two quarters of butter. After adding the last quarter, mix the dough on medium speed for 6 minutes.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Spray the pan and paper with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer the dough onto the parchment and use a bowl scraper to shape the dough into a rectangle approximately 6 inches by 8 inches. Spray the top of the dough with nonstick cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least four hours, up to 48 hours.
- When getting ready to bake the dough, spray 2 twelve-cup muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray. Divide the dough into 24 portions (weighing 1.75 to 2 ounces each).
- Take one of the 24 portions, and divide it into three pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, and place the three balls into one of the muffin wells. Repeat with the remaining portions of dough.
- Place the muffin pans in a warm, draft-free area, and let the dough rise for 90 minutes to two hours, until the dough rises about half an inch above the muffin pan.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk together the remaining egg with the tablespoon of water. Use a pastry brush to gently brush a little of the egg mixture onto each brioche top.
- Bake the brioches for about 20 minutes, until the tops of the brioche are golden brown. Cool on a wire rack in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely.
Yield: 24 mini brioches