Brioche buns (plus chocolate)

The Flour bakery is a local institution. While it has its faults and limitations, Joanne Chang synonymous cookbook is a useful collection of recipes and techniques.

Her brioche au chocolat is a perennial hit. The buttery brioche dough (which is surprisingly light and airy considering the ingredients) envelops a balanced blend of pastry cream and chocolate. The pastry cream is less rich than the heavy versions that often accompany fresh fruit tart, and prevents the whole pastry from being overwhelming.

The recipe uses only half the brioche dough (Chang warns against halting the brioche recipe, and she feels a stand mixer won’t have enough dough to effectively grab with its hook). The dough freezes well, but I’m often unsure of what to do with it.

With the most recent batch, I thawed the 700 g mass and split it into 9 balls. I worked 15 chocolate chips each into some of them and left the others plain. The result was a simpler chocolate brioche that was still airy and satisfying, and lightweight buns that would make a great accompaniment to sandwiches or burgers.

I brushed them twice with beaten egg and then cooked them for 15 minutes at 375 °F, which seemed perfect. What’s great about buns is that they can be individually wrapped in plastic, placed in a Ziploc freezer bag, and easily retrieved as needed.

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