I’m in a bread phase. I’m enjoying making and baking bread, which is a new thing for me. I usually shy away from the yeast – rest and proof – beat back – second proof – roll into something – and finally bake. It just…seems like a lot. And it is, but boy, fresh bread…it can really be worth it. Plus it lends itself to studying — all that rest time.
Brioche is a bread from France, with eggs and butter that make it lovely and crumbly and rich. Downside — it’s best served 3-5 hours after it comes out of the oven. You can always reheat it in the microwave for a bit of time and enjoy them with butter and it’s still quite delicious. But the magic, that’s when they’re right out of the oven.
Regarding the orange blossom water, you can either get it on amazon, or I’ve found it at my localgrocery store before near the rose water. It’s quite floral, no other way to describe it. Caution — if you use too much it can taste a little soap-y, kind of like if you use too much lavender in something. If floral isn’t your jam, try cinnamon and nutmeg, or maybe saffron, though be judicious. Oh! You can try fennel seeds and orange zest.
Orange Blossom Brioche Pull Apart Rolls
Adapted from Chewing the Fat, which was taken from Joanne Chang’s Sugar and Spice
2.25 cups (315 grams) all purpose flour
2.25 cups (340 grams) bread flour
1.5 packages (3 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
0.5 cup plus 1 tablespoon (82 grams) sugar
1 tablespoon salt
0.5 cup (120 grams) cold water
5 large eggs
1 cup plus 6 tablespoons (2 3/4 sticks/310 grams) salted butter at room temperature cut into about 12 pieces.
1 tsp orange blossom water for the dough, and reserve more for the sugar topping
6 tbsp salted butter, melted
1.5 tsp orange blossom water
0.75 cup plain white sugar
**Note on bread flour, if all you have is all purpose flour, google how to make bread flour. It’s all purpose + gluten. I bought my gluten from amazon and it keeps for quite a while
In a stand mixer with a hook attachment, mix the all purpose flour and the bread flour + the yeast + salt + sugar + water + eggs. Mix them together on medium speed until it come together for about 2-3 minutes. Then pause and scrape down the sides to make sure all the flour is mixed in appropriately. Then mix it again for another 3 minutes on medium speed. It’s normal for it to be dryish.
Then on low speed add the butter, 1 cube at a time allowing the butter to incorporate after each addition. This took me about 10 minute and then you mix it on medium for another 15 minutes. At this point it will be nice and shiny. While it’s mixing, grease a bowl in preparation for the rise. When the dough is done mixing and building up it’s gluten, test it — give a piece of the dough a slight tug and it should stretch. If it just pulls off, you need to mix it for a few more minutes.
Then pop it into the bowl, and allow it to rise for 6 hours or overnight. I did six hours, I wanted those brioche buns. After the rise, cut the down in half and you can freeze half of it for use later in the week. When you want to use it again, just pull it out the night before and allow it to defrost in the fridge and then rise at room temperature for about 90 minutes or so before moving on to the next step.
Grease up a muffin tin or use muffin liners. I used cooking spray.
Shape the remaining half of the dough into a 10×5 inch rectangle. Then cut them into 10 strips. Cut each strip into 5 pieces and put those 5 pieces into a muffin tin. That will be one pull apart roll for a total of 10.
Then cover them, and allow them to rise for 1.5 hours. Near the end of the second rise, turn on your oven to 350F. When they’re done and your oven is pre-heated appropriately, put them in the oven for 20-25 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when they are nice and golden brown on top.
While they’re in the oven, make your topping!
Melt the butter with 0.5 tsp orange blossom water. Taste it, if you like it stronger, add a little more.
Put your sugar on a plate, and mix in the 1 tsp of orange blossom water. Mix the sugar/water mixture by hand. It’ll be a little crystal-y but that’s okay since it’s going on top of the brioche rolls.
When they come out, pull them out of the tins, and let them cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes. Then brush the tops with your orange blossom butter, and dust with a generous coating of sugar. Allow to cool for another few minutes and viola, eat while warm! If you want to enjoy them the next day, pop them in the microwave for 10-15 minutes (you can do the oven too, they just tend to get too dry then). I liked mine by themselves or with some butter!