It was Bastille Day over the weekend, and I spent the whole weekend making my first ever batch of brioche… Hahaha… Specifically 24 hours (I ended up using 28 hours) at 5°C to make the pre-ferment, the biga, then the first rise for 12 more hours (I ended up using 15 hours, before adding the butter) at 5°C for the main dough… Crazy I know, for two small loaves of bread, that was a whole lot of time to be spending on them!
This is another recipe from the Taiwanese cookbook, 麵包教室：5°C冰種的美味 (Bread Baking Tutorials: The Flavours of 5°C Pre-Ferments), from which I made the delicious Overnight Soft Bun Dough previously. This time I wanted to try the other pre-ferment from the book, which is the 24-hour biga.
After deliberating over a few recipes, I decided on the brioche. Knowing that it would be difficult to knead brioche dough by hand, I read up on a few other hand-knead brioche recipes, including one from another cookbook put out by the Japanese academy of the Le Cordon Bleu, and also the no-knead technique I found online. In the end, I employed different techniques from all these sources to make my unconventional brioche.
As the dough was very sticky (I basically was slapping the dough, that was picking up the wet dough and throwing it back onto the bench, rather than proper kneading), I decided to leave out adding the butter before the first rise, only adding the butter after that. Using the technique from the Le Cordon Bleu book, I pressed out the butter into a thin layer and cover evenly on top of the partly risen dough in the mixing bowl, then left it in a warm place (I used a very low oven, with door ajar, with temperature of about 25°C inside) for 30 minutes. Then I used the no-knead technique of lifting the edges of the dough, still in the bowl, to fold over a few times, so that the butter was slowly incorporated into the dough. This had to be done 3 times, resting the dough in the 25°C oven in between for 30 minutes each time. Weird, I know but it worked. It was later after I finished making the dough that I found this on YouTube from Richard Bertinet which is similar, but incorporating the slapping as well.
Richard Bertinet’s kneading technique for brioche dough
Anyway it was a rather successful attempt for my first brioche, at least not wasting my whole weekend, LOL.