Matcha brioche feuilletée/ flaky matcha brioche

Baking my way through my longggggg to-bake list!

Brioche feuilletée is basically an enriched bread made almost the same way as danish or croissants. Butter block is encased in a brioche dough, rolled and folded several times to create flaky layers.

Brioche is a French pastry similar to an enriched bread, it has a higher egg and butter content to give it a tender crumbs.

How to make a brioche that will stay soft for days?! Okay, maybe 3 days because obviously at that time, even crumbs are all but a memory....

The secret is all in the kneading, okay, not a secret really. If you're into Asian-style bread and most of those bread are enriched meaning egg, milk, butter, sugar and kneaded within an inch of its life. Yup, stretch the dough and look for a window pane, just Google it. Depending on the recipe, some brioche dough will tear after you'll stretch it far too wide so just use common sense....

The recipe is from Ferrandi School of Culinary Arts book that I borrowed from the library. Listed below is actually my tweaked version, substituting some of the bread flour with cake flour, added more milk as the dough was too dry and Saf gold yeast instead of fresh yeast. Instructions are also the one I usually do when I make danish and croissants.

Matcha is again sprinkled on both sides of the butter block rather than on the dough as it adds an interesting colour and flavour contrast.  You can use other flavours such as ube or purple yam, purple sweet potato, pandan/strawberry/raspberry powder to name a few.

If you want a bigger brioche, cut the dough into 8 or 9 portions. I made 12 pieces so brioche is on the small side.

You need European-style butter with 84% butterfat as it is drier and melt slower than some butter. You can, of course, use any good-quality butter but always remember, don't skimp when it comes to your baking ingredients!

Texture of the crust is shatteringly crisp while brioche is still warm but will lose its crispness once it cools down.

I didn't use egg wash in this pastry, only a spray of water on top before the 2nd proofing.

Baking is obviously a relaxing endeavour and if you want to learn laminating dough, turn on the aircon for cripes' sake! Okay, but that doesn't mean I can roll the dough uniformly yet, but hey, at least no French words were uttered while making this fantastic flaky pastry!

Recipe adapted from French Pâtisserie with slight tweaks 

Makes 12 brioche (2-1/2x3-inch each) 

60 grams whole egg, chilled, slightly beaten
87 grams whole milk, chilled
5 grams fine sea salt
30 grams caster sugar
220 grams bread flour
30 grams cake flour
3 grams Saf gold
20 grams butter, softened

150 grams unsalted butter (84% butterfat), well-chilled
4 grams matcha powder

If using a bread machine: Pour beaten egg and milk into the bread pan/tin, followed by salt, sugar and the 2 flours. Make a well on top the flour and add in the yeast, cover it with some flour. Turn on the dough kneading cycle and do 2 cycle, about 22 minutes each, add in butter after 20 minutes. Take out the dough, knead for another 10 minutes. 

* Shape into a smooth round ball then flatten into about 6-inch square, cover with plastic wrap but don't wrap it too tight; leave a bit of space for the dough to expand. Place dough on the baking sheet, let stand for 30 minutes then chill in the fridge overnight.

Make the butter block: Place sliced butter between 2 sheets of parchment paper and shape into 5-inch square. Sprinkle the matcha powder on both sides of the butter. Chill until needed.

The next day:

* Take out dough from the fridge, roll dough to 8-inch square, put butter block at an angle, just like a diamond (in the sky).  Roll out the 4 sides of the dough to 3 1/2-inch, close the flaps to encase butter.

* Once butter is enclosed, gently pinch the seams. Use hands to flatten dough so as to soften and spread the butter along the sides, to create an 8x6-inch square rectangle.

* Using a rolling pin, press it up and down on top of the dough, creating ridges so that butter and dough will adhere better and also elongating it. Once dough is pressed down all over, roll the pin back and forth, smoothing out the ridges. Do this every time before you roll the dough.

* Roll dough into 8x16-inch rectangle, remember to fluff/lift the dough from time to time to prevent sticking on the work surface. Dust flour as needed.

* Do the 3-fold, just like folding a letter. Rotate dough at 90º so the the opening is on the right. This is the 1st turn. 

* Wrap dough in plastic wrap, place on the baking sheet and chill for 30 minutes.

* Do the 2nd turn the same way as the 1st and chill for another 30 minutes.

* Do the 3rd turn and chill for 1 hour.

* Lightly butter two 6-cavity muffin pans, set aside.

* Roll dough into 5x18-inch rectangle and cut into 12 pieces. If you want a bigger brioche, cut into 8 or 9 portions. 

* Braid each piece and place it on a lightly-grease muffin pan. 

* Spray top of each piece with water and cover with lightly-floured plastic wrap. 

* Proof for 2 hours, depending on ambient temperature or until doubled in size.

* Bake for 15-17 minutes, convection function, or until brioche is golden brown.

* Best eaten warm but still wonderful at room temperature.

* Store leftover in an airtight container at room temp, consume within 3 days. 


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