Sometimes I feel like a baking poseur, I come here and share my latest baking experiment and end each post with instructions. As if I would know better than you how to prepare these confections that catch my eye. Truthfully, each attempt is shadowed by mild anxiety, especially when a recipe calls for kneading dough.
Fortunately, each trial has rewarded me with either success or at the very least, lessons on how next to proceed. I’m becoming more comfortable with kneading dough, each challenge becoming less daunting than the previous one.
I found a recipe for chocolate-stuffed brioche in a cookbook that has sat on my shelf, ignored, for years. I remember it being a bargain book and true to form, the instructions were not as clear as I would have liked. Still, the idea of pulling out a warm brioche from the oven sounded too good to pass up. Plus, I didn’t have any brioche tins so I had the perfect excuse to stop by my local Sur La Table.
I’m pleased to report that these chocolate-stuffed brioches were a success. I was initially daunted by the process of kneading cold butter cubes into the dough, especially when I kept seeing the yellow chunks break through as I continued to knead. Would I overwork the dough? That was my other concern.
But…looking at these golden buns, it seems my worries were for naught. They were my reward for throwing my fear of over-kneading out the window which also gave way to one of the best baking experiences I’ve ever had: I saw the wonderful transformation of a lump of dough into a beautiful, buttery, smooth and silky ball.
Still, tasting is believing, right? I split one open to find a pocket of melted dark chocolate whose oozing silkiness was a perfect complement to the soft brioche itself. I topped mine with additional melted chocolate just to up the decadence factor. Dee-licious!
So poseur or not, I felt like a real baker when I made these. I think you’ll like them, too.
Brioche au Chocolat
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 package dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
- 3 eggs beaten plus one more, beaten, for glazing
- 3 tablespoons room temperature milk
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, diced
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken into squares (I used dark chocolate)
Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl; stir in sugar and yeast. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the eggs and milk.
Beat the eggs and milk together and gradually incorporate the dry ingredients, making a soft dough. Transfer the dough onto a lightly-floured surface and knead well for about five minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. I had to sprinkle more flour on the surface and my hands to keep the dough from sticking.
Add a few pieces of butter to the dough and continue to knead until the butter is incorporated. For me, this took about 1-2 minutes of kneading for each addition of butter. Continue this process until you have added all the butter. I kneaded a few more minutes after the butter has been added until I stopped seeing chunks of butter in the dough. After this step, I was supposed to see small bubbles appear in the dough but I didn’t. I wrapped in plastic wrap anyway and chilled overnight. If you plan to make this the same day, just chill for at least an hour beforehand.
Grease individual brioche pans and set on a baking sheet. I used 8 3.5-inch tins but you can use 12 3-inch tins, as well. Depending on the size tins you have, divide brioche dough accordingly and shape into a smooth round. Press a piece of chocolate into each ball and reshape into ball, making sure to seal the ball properly. Place seam side down on the brioche tin. Note that I used a 1/2-ounce piece of dark chocolate for each ball. The remaining chocolate will be melted and drizzled over the baked brioche.
Cover the balls and allow them to rest for 30 minutes or until doubled in size. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Before baking, brush each brioche with the last beaten egg. Bake for 12-15 minutes until puffed up and golden brown. I baked mine for 12-13 minutes with convection. Place on wire racks to rest. In the meantime, melt the remaining chocolate and drizzle over the brioches. Serve and enjoy!