Five secrets to baking a great brioche loaf (or other enriched bread)
Rich, sweet, light and delicious.
Brioche and other enriched breads are often a favourite to eat.
You may have even tried baking your own at home.
Such doughs can however turn into a dense loaf or be very sticky and hard to handle.
So watch the video below to discover my five secrets to baking a great brioche loaf (or other enriched bread).
Or read on to find out more.
What are enriched doughs?
Adding butter, sugar or eggs, or a combination of all three, will enrich your dough.
The result will be a light, fluffy bread, almost cake-like in texture.
Enriched breads include brioche, cinnamon buns, hot cross buns, teacakes and more.
Making your own enriched dough at home is definitely worth a try. So what should you bear in mind to get a great result?
1. Use a little more yeast in your dough
Adding fats and sugar to your dough will result in a tasty, soft bread – yum!
But it’s not such good news for your yeast.
Fats coat the dough strands. This makes it harder for the yeast to access the flour that they need as food.
This slows down the yeast as they produce gas to rise your dough (you can find out more about how yeast work here).
Meanwhile, any sugars present will dissolve in the water in the dough. This reduces the amount of water availabe for the yeast, also slowing them down.
Adding a little more yeast to your dough can therefore help your enriched doughs rise.
For example, in an enriched dough recipe that uses 500g bread flour, use 7g dried yeast. In a plain dough (with no fat, sugars or eggs), you would usually use 5g dried yeast.
2. Add the butter last to the dough
Adding in fats to your dough not only slows down the yeast, it also slows down how gluten develops in your dough.
When flour absorbs water, gluten strands – the scaffold that provides structure to your finished loaf – begin to form.
Without proper gluten formation, your loaf won’t rise as well and could end up flat, solid and unbaked in the middle.
So start your enriched dough by leaving the butter to one side and concentrate on mixing the flour and water first.
3. Give the dough plenty of time to rise
The yeast need to digest the flour in your dough before the can start to produce gas and rise your dough.
But adding butter, sugar or eggs to your dough slows down the yeast as they try to break down the flour.
So give your dough, and the yeast, more time to rise. How much longer will depend, for example, on how warm it is in your kitchen. But it could mean leaving your dough for two, rather than one, hours to rise.
4. Chill your dough before shaping it
Enriched doughs can be really sticky. And that’s a good thing!
Sticky, wet doughs turn into light, fluffy breads.
But such a dough can be hard to handle and shape. Don’t be tempted to dry out the dough by adding extra flour.
Instead, cover the dough well and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
This will help firm up the dough, making it a little easier to shape.
5. Bake your enriched dough at a lower temperature
A dough containing plenty of fats and sugars will brown much more quickly in the oven.
Which can be a bit misleading as your loaf can look fully baked when it isn’t.
To help, turn your oven temperature down a bit – usually to around 200C for enriched dough baking.
You can also cover your loaf with foil during the later part of the baking time, to stop the crust getting too dark.
Want to learn to bake your own enriched breads?
Join one of my relaxed online classes and you can learn step-by-step how to bake your own brioche, cinnamon buns and more.
Classes require no prior bread making experience.