I don’t do the highly enriched, heart-stopping, classic French brioches. I do what they call Poorman’s Brioche, enough egg and butter to distinguish it from a straight bread dough but not so much as to require a cardiac specialist in attendance.
This is a Bethesda classic where there are many poor persons most of them bakers.
I melt the butter gently and let it cool a little. I balance the egg weight with the milk. With this weight of dough that’s one egg that gets weighed in the mixing bowl, then I add the egg and milk weights together from the formula and add enough milk to bring it up to the total required.
If you happen to be on the market in Nice you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to preserved fruits although it will cost you. Otherwise use a mixture of papaya, pineapple, ginger, peels, glace cherries – whatever you fancy and is available. At Christmas the fruit is soaked in orange juice and cognac, the dough is baked in a Panibois baking box, the baked dough is sprinkled in icing sugar and finished with a sprig of plastic holly and the price goes up two quid.
Mix all the liquids and the remaining ingredients – usual short knead method. I strongly recommend overnight proving in the fridge. So four hours fermentation at room temperature, shape and drop in a tin making sure the seam is exactly central on the bottom (may unravel otherwise), refrigerate overnight. If you have time allow a couple of hours for the dough to come up to room temperature, brush with egg-wash, bake at 180C for about 40 minutes (you know your oven). Brush with egg-wash again half way through baking.