This is what happened to me when I happened upon this recipe for brioche. I have since learned that the word “brioche” is not at all fancy or fun or tropical sounding to most of my foodie friends. Their reaction was not, “Brioche? How do you spell that?” as I had expected. Instead, it was, “Oh, brioche! I love brioche.” You do? Really? How have I never heard of this and how is it that you have?
Well, either way, now I have heard of brioche, and let me tell you… my husband loves me more for it. He has requested that I make this brioche again at least six times since the first time I made it a few weeks ago. At first, his hints were subtle (“…and when we go to that event, we could bring some brioche…”). Now they’re more explicit (“um, when are you going to make me more of that brioche?”). Hint taken… I’ll be making this again soon, dear.
By the way, when you make this, note that it’s something that requires letting dough rise and set and therefore should be started earlier in the day, not an hour before your guests arrive. Not that I made that mistake. Um, nope, not at all like that.
orange and cream cheese brioche
from Cook’s Illustrated
1 envelope dry active yeast (about 2 1/2 tsp)
1/2 cup whole milk, warmed to 110 degrees
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
6 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp zest from one orange
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups powdered sugar
4 tbsp milk
In a small bowl, whisk yeast into milk, then stir in one cup of flour. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
Put butter, sugar, and salt in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse at one-second intervals, scraping the sides of the bowl several times, until mixture is soft and smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, and process after each addition until fully incorporated (even though the mixture may look curdled).
Add the remaining 1 1/4 cups of flour and the yeast mixture, scraping the sides of the work bowl with a rubber spatula. Pulse at one second intervals to form soft, smooth dough. Then process continuously for 15 seconds.
Turn the sticky dough onto a generously floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Click here if you want some instructions on how to knead dough!
Turn the dough into a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Meanwhile, make the filling. Process the cream cheese with the sugar in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade until smooth. Add remaining ingredients. Pulse until fully incorporated and smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll the dough into an 8-by-18-inch rectangle. Spread the dough evenly with the filling, leaving a 1/2-inch border on the long side farthest from you.
Beginning at the long side nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Transfer the cylinder seam side down and coil it into a ring shape to fit onto a cookie sheet lined with greased parchment or wax paper. Pinch seam closed. Cover it with greased plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.
Mark the outside of the ring at 1 1/2-inch intervals, then use kitchen shears to cut almost, but not all the way through the ring. Turn each section of dough cut side up to partially reveal filling.
Cover the dough with greased plastic wrap and let rise until almost doubled, about 1 hour. While the dough is rising, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the ring until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.
Place cookie sheet on a wire rack until it is cool enough to handle, then slide the ring onto the rack and cool to room temperature. Mix confectioners’ sugar and milk together. When smooth, drizzle mixture over the cooled ring.