Neige d’avril et petit-déjeuner au lit – Une brioche en cinq minutes

[On April snow and breakfast in bed – A five-minute brioche]

When I mentioned the five-minute brioche, I forgot to say it’s more of a five-minute and five-day brioche.

Five days where the blossoms turned into snow. Five days where I got less sleep than what a normal night means to you. Five days where everytime I came home, I opened the fridge to imagine that bubbly dough turn into brioche.

And then on the night before the fifth day, I set my alarm to eight am; two hours later than a day on. Still dizzy from a sleep overdose, I walked to the kitchen. Fleurer le marbre [sprinkle the marble with flour]. Couper la pate [cut the dough]. Bouler [make balls]. Faire pointer [proof]. Et se recoucher [and go back to bed].

This, my friends, is the recipe for happiness. Especially, if I then braid my hair and spend the day with someone I love.

A couple of hours later, we slowly emerged from that broken night – or more accurately, morning nap; a concept that I should put to practice more often.

The loaf went in the oven. And then got sliced, topped with the strawberry jam he made last week – with the somewhat bland berries I was a little too excited with at the market – and then eaten in bed, with the necessary dose of good tunes and the occasional sun peaking through the window.

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It felt like a Sunday. With all the trimmings, bar the messy kitchen. And, no matter how much I love to get my hands dirty by kneading the hell out of a sticky dough until it becomes smooth, it seemed appropriate to take a shortcut this time.

Even more so that this brioche proved the die-hard French that I am wrong.

First came Dan. And his focaccia. Almost no-knead. And almost more delicious than any bread I’ve ever tasted. Then came the no-knead bread that got everyone crazy. And now, Zoë.

So as much as it hurts me to say it, it is possible to make brioche in a matter of seconds. In one bowl. With one wooden spoon.

Brioche en cinq minutes
Adapted from Zoë François and Jeff Hertzberg’s Five minute bread.

I once read somewhere that in order to make a good brioche you need time. I think it was actually mentioned as part of the ingredient list, which I thought was clever as I remembered the hours spent kneading – by hand – a three-kg batch at school.

And while I love the process, I must admit it does feel good to – every now and then – take the easy option. It says five minutes. But it really is less than that.

Butter gets melted. And mixed with water, eggs, honey, and salt. No sugar. Just honey, which being inverted sugar – kind of natural trimoline – helps the brioche to stay moist after baking.

Flour and yeast get incorporated. And the dough is left outside to proof. Only to be, later, chilled; for a day or two. Or in my case, five.

And if there is ever a good moment for confessing such a thing, it shall be now: I leave all of my doughs to proof in a microwave. Basically, place a bowl of water in the microwave and ‘cook/bake’ (which word should I use?) for a minute or two, just to create enough steam. Quickly switch the bowl of water for the bowl of dough. And home Panem prover you have!

This does not decrease the proving time, but creates the perfect conditions for your yeast – and by consequence, you – to be happy.

And for the record, I only made a quarter of a recipe. But only because I didn’t have enough honey in my cupboards. A morally despicable fact that got fixed. As soon as I bit into a slice of warm brioche.

As a side-note, I do think this recipe could take more butter. Possibly twice more. Possibly because I’m French. Possibly something I will try and report. Which will also allow me to show you how to bouler une pâte [shape the dough into a ball], because – let’s be honest – I’m not sure it translate into words.

Brioche en cinq minutes

makes four loaves

350g butter, melted and cooled down
350g water
20g salt
8 eggs
170g clear honey
1kg strong flour
15g instant yeast

one egg, beaten, for the eggwash

In a bowl, combine the melted butter, water, salt, eggs, and honey. Add the flour and yeast. And mix using a wooden spoon until smooth.

Cover the bowl with a cloth and allow to rest at room temperature for a little over 2h (or feel bad-ass and stick it in a turned-off microwave – make sure you read the note above beforehand though).

Transfer the cloth-covered bowl to the fridge and chilled for at least 24h or up to five days.

On the day you’re ready to bake, generously butter a loaf tin and cut 450g off your dough. Then using a scraper – or a knife – divide into four bits. Have some flour handy and gently pat each piece into it. Putting the flour side up – and sticky side down – shape it into a ball using the palm of one of your hands.

Place the four balls into the prepared tin and allow to proof for 1h30.

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Brush the top of the dough with the eggwash and bake for 40 to 50min, or until golden brown. Unmould and allow to cool on a wire rack, or not.

39 thoughts on “Neige d’avril et petit-déjeuner au lit – Une brioche en cinq minutes

  • Zo @ Two Spoons April 19, 2011 at 4:42 am

    That’s a genius idea with the microwave! Sometimes I use my oven with a roasting tray full of hot water, but the microwave would be much smaller and keep the steam better.

    Also, I agree it needs more butter, hehe. I think it could be airier/lighter though, so not sure if more butter would achieve that.

    As it is not shown in the pictures, the brioche was actually VERY moist and light. And I’m pretty certain a little extra butter could make it even more melt-in-your-mouth, if that’s even possible.

  • Memoria April 19, 2011 at 5:28 am

    To this day I still wonder why people still call this 5-minute bread when you have to wait hours for it to rise and almost another hour for it to bake. The five-minute claim is misleading. Nevertheless, your brioche looks AMAZING as well as the photos and writing. I like your idea of adding butter. I, too, enjoy getting my hands in the dough, which is another reason I continue to prefer traditional bread recipes. Again, lovely photos!

    Let’s just say it is only a few minutes of work. And many minutes of longing. The advantage clearly being you can have a bulk of dough sitting in the fridge and (almost) ready to be baked for breakfast or tea. xx

  • maru April 19, 2011 at 7:44 am

    Thank you for sharing! :)

  • Luciana April 19, 2011 at 11:12 am

    It looks delicious and the pictures are amazing. Love your blog! <3

    Thank you Luciana. The brioche itself was actually quite amazing too. x

  • Zoe Francois April 19, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Hi Fanny, Your loaf of brioche is absolutely stunning! I am so thrilled you started there, it is my favorite bread!

    Cheers, Zoë

  • My Little Expat Kitchen April 19, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Teardrop is one of my favorite songs of all time!

    Thanks for the brioche recipe.

    Magda

  • blogbytina! April 20, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    yesssss… somedays you really just need to go the easy route. the easy route with delishus results :D

  • Estelle April 20, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    You sure have sparked my curiosity, the microwave trick is nothing short of genius! Can’t wait to try the recipe after Passover.

  • Sujin April 21, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Keep us posted on how this turns out with the extra butter! Beautiful pictures.

  • Annelies April 22, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Hi Fanny,

    Love your site! What do you mean by STRONG flour? I’ll definetly try this recipe! Looks delicious!

  • Eleni April 23, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Your blog is wounderful! Your way of telling your stories and at the same time sharing beautiful recepies.. I can’t say how much I appreciate reading this blog every other week or so. Superb brioche, definitely have to try and make it- while listening to teardrop!:D love that song! love your blog ;)

  • christelle is flabbergasting April 24, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Raaaah Fanny, enfin, je prend le temps de lire ce billet ! Bon en effet, ce n’est pas “juste 5 minutes” (coquine) mais ça m’a l’air juste parfait comme recette ! Le Dieu de la Bouffe sait combien j’aime la brioche, j’ai expérimenté une recette hérité d’un collègue sur mon blog (mais c’est plus un “pain brioché” selon moi) et j’ai adopté depuis la recette de Béatrice Peltre (la brioche des jours heureux ou quelque chose comme ça). La prochaine fois que je me lance, je teste cette recette (mais bon, comme je fais tout à la force de mes poignets sans robot… ça risque d’attendre une sacré dose de motivation)

  • christelle is flabbergasting April 24, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    J’ai oublié de dire : Tear drop de Massive Attack = ♥♥♥ (perfect sunday tune !)

  • christell April 24, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Avec ça, c’est sûr que tu démarres la journée du bon pied ! Tes photos sont toujours aussi sublimes …

  • Frances April 26, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Very tempting: but is it crazy to make your own brioche in France? Is it an insult to your boulangeries? :)

  • Céline April 27, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Hi!
    From a French girl to another: can I freeze the dough? If yes, how do i do to make sure i don’t ruin the whole thing when defrosting it?
    Thanks for your recipe, it’s clear and accurate, not to mention practical.

  • Aïda May 4, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Oh mais oui, j’adore la chanson pour tout te dire!

  • Mély du Chaudron Pastel May 20, 2011 at 6:35 am

    Je découvre ton blog (via un tweet de Christelle is flabbergasting), et j’aime beaucoup la douceur & la simplicité qui s’en dégage :-)
    Bonne continuation :-)

  • Estelle May 22, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    I made the recipe and this is hands-down my favorite brioche recipe. So moist thanks to the honey and so fast to make… I have already passed the recipe down to friends and coworkers, thanks so much for sharing, Fanny!

    Thanks for letting me know Estelle. I’m really happy with how this turned out. So happy in fact I’ve made it again today. I tried adding a bit more butter and used fresh yeast. Should be great!

  • Estelle May 25, 2011 at 1:46 am

    I wonder how you will like the brioche with more butter. I actually liked it just as it is, would not change a thing! I am not sure you can freeze the dough but the brioche itself freezes beautifully. I got myself a Danish dough whisk so I will easily make some more in the future. I put a picture of how my brioche turned out on my blog, if you would like to see my pretty bread :)

  • Adrian June 1, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    That worked well. Thanks.

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  • Terry June 9, 2011 at 1:35 am

    Your pictures make me want to try this recipe as soon as possible. I have just one question, what is “strong” flour. Is there an equivalent in the USA? thank you!

  • Terry June 9, 2011 at 1:42 am

    Please disregard my question as I have found the answer. In the USA “strong” flour is called “bread” flour. I’m off to the store now…

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  • Peasepudding August 12, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    Ok, so it may not actually be 5 mins to make but I like the idea of letting it just do it’s own thing until you are ready to bake, must get some on the go for next weekend!

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    Hello! I just made mini brioches a tete last Saturday, and I thought a little more butter (maybe a pound for the whole recipe) would help!
    Delicious blog…as usual! Ciao, e

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    Should the dough double in the time it rests in the fridge?

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  • Georgia August 7, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    Hi,
    In the directions you tell us to get 450g off our dough, what do we do with the rest of it?
    Thanks, love your blog! It really inspires me
    Georgia

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