If you pass through Vienna, do make a stop at Kaffeeküche down in the Jonasreindl, a small cornerspot in the middle of an underground traffic station (Schottentor). They sell what is likely the best coffee in town and they also sell Parisian Brioches: tiny perfect fluffy things of subtly sweet white bread. And to top it off, they offer them filled-on-the-spot with chocolate or Marillenkonfitüre (apricot jam). Take the latter. Heaven.
They are closed on the weekends, though, so I had to come come up with a second-best thing made from scratch. Verdict: The whole batch was gone within an hour of making it. Parigi, o cara, noi lasceremo – we will make these wherever we go.
I will have to experiment with overnight cold rise in the fridge next time because between getting to work in the kitchen at 7 a.m. and having the brioches ready to eat, nearly 2 1/2 hours had passed. I worked from the recipe of Aurélie Bastian and tweaked a little here and there. After how this turned out, it will not have been the last thing of hers I tried!
Parisian Brioches (apricot jam filling optional, but strongly recommended)
- 14g fresh yeast
- 20g plain sugar
- 130ml milk
- 1 small egg
- 30g cold (!) butter
- 1/4 tsp. medium-coarse salt
- 280g plain white flour
- a bit of additional milk, possibly an egg yolk
- apricot jam (optional)
- Gently warm the milk a bit in glass, add 1 tsp of sugar and crumble the yeast into it.
- In a large bowl (ideally the one of your kitchen machine), stir the flour together with the remaining sugar. Make an indention in the middle.
- Pour the yeast mix into the indention (all of it, no remains at the bottom of the glass!), cover with a kitchen tower and let it work for about ten minutes.
- Start blending the mixture (kitchen machine, kneading hook, speed 2), crack in the egg fairly quickly.
- When the yeast has blended into the milk, add the salt and the cold (!) butter cut into little pieces.
- Keep blending for 10 minutes, then switch off the machine, cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise for 45 minutes (could be an hour, I was hungry. Make sure there is no draft, and that your kitchen isn’t too cold).
- After 45 minutes, knead for another 2 minutes on speed 1.
- The dough will be on the less dense side, but nicely elastic and manageable if you douse your hands with flowers.
- Shape brioches – traditionally, a ball with a smaller ball on top. From this batch, I got 11 small brioches (I used various silicone muffin pans).
- Cover with towel and allow to rise for another 35-40 minutes (recipe said an hour, but… hungry…). I never cover dough directly with a towel bot always build a little tent of towels so the fabric will not stick to the dough.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (somewhat around 365°F?) on recirculation air (or 200°C normal heat).
- With the milk, or milk with beaten egg yolk (we were out of eggs (it is Easter!), so I skipped the yolk), gently brush the risen brioches.
- Bake in the second-to-lowest slot for 18 minutes, accompanied by a small ovenproof bowl filled with water.
- Allow the brioches to cool for a little bit.
- So… you could eat them just like this, or with some butter, right now. Or you could get a piping back with a thin nozzle and fill it with some smooth apricot jam (go for a quality one here or you ruin your perfect brioches – high fruit content, low extra sugar, no additives): Gently poke a hole into the brioche top and with gentle pressure, push some jam into its center. Do this individually for each brioche, and only right before you will eat it, or they will get soggy.
- Now, eat them.
- (If you don’t have a piping back: a freezer bag with a tiny corner cut off, and the jam pressed through that into a steel straw, will also work (no plastic straws. Horrible for the environment). Steel/metal straws are multi-re-useable and are firm enough to pierce a brioche, yet thin enough to not turn your brioches into a crater landscape.