Problems I'm having making brioche (cook not a baker)

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by atatax, Apr 12, 2019.

  1. atatax

    atatax

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    So Problems and possible causes: The dough doesn't seem to rise enough after i form it into 2 loaves and I'm not 100% sure it rises as much as it should in the prior step when its supposed to double in size before resting overnight. Earlier in the recipe it calls for me to rest the dough until its cracked, and 1 time i just waited the long end of the estimate and another time i waited like an hour and a half past the estimated time just to make sure i gave it all the time it could possibly need. but like the actual dough is very wet at this point, its never going to be dry enough to look cracked. 2nd possible problem I'm thinking is the place where I'm letting it rise is too warm and eventually that's killing the yeast and preventing it from rising further. Are there any tell tale signs of this? 3rd possible problem I'm guessing is the first step, I'm combining yeast and warm milk, should I be doing anything to incorporate the two or is it fine to just like some of the yeast floating on top and other yeast kind of just drifting to the side of the bowl and not contacting the milk anymore?

    I don't have the exact recipe on me right now, but basically: combine warm milk and yeast, let rest. mix in 1 cup of flour and 1 egg, remove from mixer, sprinkle a cup of flour on top, cover and let rest in a warm place for I think it says 20-45 minutes or until dough is cracked. mix in more flour, eggs, salt, and sugar, slowly add butter then cover again and let rest in a warm place for for 1-2 hours until it has doubled. Basically lay out thinly on a floured baking sheet covered with parchment paper then a towel, at least 6 hours preferably overnight. Then form into 2 loaves, place in heavily greased pans, cover with towels and let rest until dough has risen like an inch above the pans.
     
  2. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    I'll start this one off.
    When I make bread I've found human body temp (98.6F)is a good measure of warmth for yeast to acvtivate. So I make sure the water feels a little warm on my wrist then I know the water is about 100-110.
    Then sprinkle the yeast on the milk, let sit for a minute so the yeast dissolves, then mix it in and add the first bit of flour.
    You don't say how much milk to start with but if the dough is too wet at first stage, that means you are starting with too much moisture.
    Rather than go over the rest of the instructions you've provided, I'd like you to go back and re-read the actual instructions. I think you are remembering them incorrectly.
     
  3. atatax

    atatax

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    Well, when I'm making it, I have the recipe infront of me and am following it exactly. It was a matter of making the post at home and the recipe being at work. I also use a thermometer to make sure the milk is in the temp range provided.
     
  4. atatax

    atatax

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    2 1/2 teaspoons of dry yeast, 1/3 cup of milk, 1 cup of flour mixed in, 1 egg mixed in. 1 cup of flour sprinkled on top. Cover and let stand for 25-40 minutes until surface of flour has cracked appearance.
     
  5. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    I think someone with baking experience may be a better help. My only suggestion is that you might not be letting the yeast activate enough before adding the flour. There should be bubbles in the milk to let you know the yeast is active.(After about ten minutes). If you get no little to no bubbles, the yeast is old/dead. When it is active, you'll know it's active.
    Covering the starter with that much flour is what threw me but Beranbaum's Pie and Pastry Bible says the same thing and to wrap the bowl in plastic wrap as well. It doesn't say anything about checking for cracked dough. I'm going to check some other books.
    So i'm admitting defeat on this for now and next Wednesday is my day off and I'll be making some brioche.
    Best of luck to you.
     
    Emojitsu likes this.
  6. atatax

    atatax

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    So one thing I noticed was that it didn't say cracked dough, it said surface of Flour had cracked appearance. So possibly just like making sure the yeast has been activated and is giving off gas to disturb the surface?
     
  7. chefross

    chefross

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    I understand the recipe.
    The first flour, egg, and yeast mixture with a little flour on top is the starting "poolish", if you will.
    20 to 30 minutes is all that is needed.
    The mixture does rise, pushing the flour up and creating what the recipe calls "cracks"

    Now this mixture is mixed with the remaining ingredients except for the butter which is added to the dough while the machine is running, only adding more butter after each addition is mixed in. Then the whole dough should be well kneaded, cool to the touch and not sticky.
    The initial rising is until doubled in bulk, not by time. It's then punched down rested for 10 minutes then put in the fridge overnight.
    The next day the dough comes out and allowed to come to room temp, before proofing, again until doubled in bulk, not time.
    When done correctly, and the oven temperature is accurate, the dough will "poof" and you should have a good rise.
    Be doing this for many years, except I make "Tetes de Paris instead of bread.
     
  8. atatax

    atatax

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    how warm is the area the you're letting it rise? Do you just leave it out in the kitchen, or do you put it in a warm spot like above an oven?
     
  9. chefross

    chefross

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    First rise, room temperature, final rising in a turned off oven with a pan of hot water in the bottom, until doubled in bulk.
     
  10. Flourpowee

    Flourpowee

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    Im new here but also a baker, the instructions given by chefross are what I do at work too.
    But just want to say that depending where your recipe is from they might be using a proofer on the final rise which is 80ish degrees with very high humidity, which might be messing with your final proof time.
     
  11. dueh

    dueh

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    Alright... Brioche.

    @chefross has it pretty close. This recipes starts off with a sponge, which is intended to give your yeast a head start. Personally I like to scale out my liquid ingredients and add my yeast. Take a whisk and fully dissolve your yeast.

    High levels of fats and sugar are going to slow down your yeast a bit. Yeast likes the same temps humans like, and if you have the time, a slow proof and fermentation can add lots of flavor. With all the time this dough requires, an overnight cold bulk, and a long proofing time, I don't think a sponge is needed.

    I like to mix my dough, let it bulk at room temp for an hour, give it one letter fold, and press into a tray to retard overnight. Next day I pull out the dough, and portion cold. Much easier to shape and get the tension on the shaped loaf. Even in a commercial proofer a 3# pullman loaf usually takes about 3 hours to fully proof. (78 F, 70% RH)

    As far as proofing and baking at home, I like to use clear-ish trash bags to cover the trays and not any sort of steam pan and oven light combo. Pre-heating your oven is an important step. It is like the foreplay of baking. Moving a proofed dough out of the oven to a cooler environment could be a bit of a shock for the dough/yeast, risking collapse. especially if it has to sit out and wait for an oven to heat up for 30+ minutes.
     
  12. atatax

    atatax

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    One more question. After i let it rest overnight in the fridge. I have to let it come to room temp before proofing. What exactly am I waiting to do until it comes to room temp? Simply shaping into 2 loaves and placing somewhere slightly above room temperature?