Shaped into petites brioches à tête, these minty balls of eggs and butter are perfectly portioned into small rolls meant to be savored in moderation. Unless you’re French, that is, in which case you’re likely immune to the unsavory side effects of rich foods.
High red wine consumption is supposedly the main factor behind the French Paradox. I did try wine therapy, but being Asian and genetically predisposed to have low alcohol tolerance, I merely ended up drunk and lazy. Back to green tea I go. We have our own paradox, it seems, although obviously not as much fun as the French version.
Peter Reinhart loosely categorizes brioche into three types using the ratio of butter to flour:
- rich man’s brioche (at least 70%)
- middle-class brioche (around 50%)
- poor man’s brioche (at least 20%)
According to my expert calculations, this would put Poilâne’s mint brioche (around 40%) somewhere in between poor man’s and middle-class brioche. Somehow it still seems way too rich to my taste, which is scary because Reinhart’s rich man’s brioche formula has a butter to flour ratio of 88%. Wouldn’t that turn the dough into a yellow puddle of goo? The thought of ingesting breads that rich makes me shudder and think of Paula Deen.
I really shouldn’t be thinking of brioche as bread in the same category as baguettes or miches but more along the lines of viennoiserie, considered the halfway point between lean breads and rich pastries. Thinking of brioche that way, somewhere in the back of my head I’ll hopefully think “not in one sitting.”
recipe adapted from poilane.fr
Poilâne’s Mint Brioche
makes 12 brioches à tête, approximately the size of regular muffins
Ingredients Volume Ounces Grams all-purpose flour 4 cups 17.6 500 granulated sugar 10 tsp 1.75 50 kosher salt 1 tbsp .42 12 instant yeast 1.5 tsp .18 5 water, at room temperature 1 cup 8 227 large eggs 5 butter, at room temperature 7 200 handful of fresh mint, rinsed and coarsely chopped 1 beaten egg, for glazing
- I substituted instant yeast for the active dry yeast suggested in the original formula, using 2/3 of the active dry yeast amount.
- I was thinking of replacing the water with milk but stayed true to the recipe.
- The mixing is done in two steps. Let the dough rest briefly before adding the butter to keep the fat from inhibiting gluten formation.
- I used a 12-cup muffin pan to proof and bake the shaped brioche. No fancy fluted pans in my kitchen, unfortunately.
- My brioches à tête shaping is rather pitiful so I included links to pictures and videos showing the proper procedure below.
Final Dough Instructions:
Mix Mix the flour, sugar, salt, instant yeast, and water. Add the eggs one by one until thoroughly incorporated. Rest 5 minutes Mix Blend in the butter and coarsely chopped mint leaves. Knead 10-12 minutes Bulk Ferment 2 hours, at room temperature Divide 12 pieces
divided mint brioche dough
mint brioche pre-shaped into rolls
pre-shaped brioches à tête
shaped brioches à tête
Final Proof approximately 1 hour, at room temperature Preheat Oven 400ºF Glaze egg wash (optional) Bake Bake for 10 minutes at 400ºF. Rotate if necessary and lower the oven temperature to 350ºF. Bake for another 10 minutes.
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