Brioche flower; or is it a star?? (BBB December 2014)

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BBB: Let's Get Baking summary: recipe for brioche flower; a Bread Baking Babes project; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

Bread Baking Babes (BBB) December 2014

Oh boy!! Snow! (I’d like to pretend that that’s why I’m late posting, but it’s not. It’s just my usual inability to plan ahead. :lalala: Does it count that I’m ALMOST on time?)

BBB Brioche flower A while back, I saw the most beautiful loaf that had been baked by a number of different bakers in the Facebook group, “Artisan Bread Bakers”. I immediately made a mental note to make one just like it.

And then I forgot about my mental note. (There’s a big surprise.) Luckily, Cathy didn’t forget and decreed that this would be the BBBabes’ December challenge.

The dough is basically a brioche dough. I have to confess that I have a love/hate relationship with brioche dough. No, wait. Let’s call a spade a spade. I pretty much hate making brioche dough. It always takes forever to rise. Always.

And even though the resulting bread is lovely, so much angst has gone into it that I find myself not enjoying it quite as much as I should.

It didn’t help that my webhost had to take my blog offline. Again. But let us not speak of that now. At least the rest of the site is intact. And by a miracle, the blog has been returned as of sometime after 19:00 on Tuesday. (I hope I didn’t jinx anything by saying that!)

So, without further ado, here is how things went with this month’s BBBabe bread:

BBB Brioche Flower diary:

3 November 2014, 07:08 Yay!! I’ve been wanting to do one of these! What a great choice, Cathy.

1 December 2014, 10:17 I guess I should actually read the recipe, shouldn’t I?

For the filling and glaze:
Nutella or similar hazelnut chocolate paste for the filling […]
-BBB brioche flower recipe

Oh oh. We are weird and have deep aversions to Nutella. Hmmm… what to do, what to do.

14 December 2014 13:55 Karen said she was thinking about using minced onions instead of nutella… mmmm, that sounds awfully good.

I still haven’t decided what will go in the center of this – whether it will be savoury or sweet – but I’m going to make it tomorrow. I’ll make the starter tonight – with WAY less yeast….

I’m so pleased with myself; I managed to read (and retain) that the starter for this recipe is only supposed to be fermenting for an hour.

I am so annoyed though. My blog is being nailed AGAIN ( :stomp: :stomp: :stomp: ) and my webhost had to disable it. It’s infuriating…. I’ll have to figure out where I’m going to post about this bread.

23:51 As I was heating up the water for the starter, I suddenly decided to use whole wheat flour instead of all purpose flour.

Initially I was going to use 0.25 tsp yeast. But I halved that to drastically reduce the amount of yeast. Fingers crossed that everything will turn out.

I’m just looking at the recipe again. THREE EGGS??! I don’t think so. (Heh. But we’ve been through this before in October with the BBB Caramelized Onion Bread and in March with the BBB Water-Proofed Bread, haven’t we?)

I’m going to substitute some of the eggs with ground flax and baking powder….

There’s quite a lot of butter in this. Hmmm, should I be adding more yeast too? :lalala:

15 December 2014 10:00 Of course, I completely forgot that I was making bread today. What a good thing it is that I put the starter in the oven with only the light turned on. When I went to turn the light off, I noticed the bowl. [Duh…]

But mixing the dough at 9am isn’t too too late. I hope.

Heh. I just remembered that I’ve played fast and loose with the yeast amounts too.

Anyway, I ground flax seeds, melted butter, weighed flour and salt and mixed the dough together. Wow. It’s very dry! I can see why Cathy said to add 1-2 tsp of water if necessary “to form a smooth dough” . I was thinking maybe even another quarter cup of water. And then I noticed that the egg was still on the counter.

Yes, indeed.

I was right. Another quarter cup of liquid was all that was required. The dough is beautifully silky and is now back in the oven with only the light on. I sure hope I added enough yeast….

3 tablespoons sugar
-BBB Brioche Flower recipe

Oops!!! Well. I had planned to reduce the amount of sugar anyway. Maybe not by quite so much …I was going to put in a tablespoon.


17:21 Errmmm. I wonder if I’ll ever learn to plan ahead. Around about 14:00, the dough looked almost ready to shape. But we had to go out on our bikes. So I pushed the dough down, remembering Julia Child saying “you are the boss of that dough”. I was a little concerned that the oven with only the light turned on might be too warm so I left the dough out on the counter.

Big mistake. It’s not even close to being ready to shape.

19:43 The dough has ALMOST doubled now. That’s it. I’m shaping it. I just don’t care!

20:09 Rolling out each layer was very easy and quite pleasing. At first, I was going to use up the apricot jam we had in the fridge. But {SHRIEK} there was fur on the sides of the jar. :stomp: :stomp: :stomp: So, in a sudden change of direction (not very much change, granted) I grabbed the tart plum jam jar and slathered it liberally on each layer – to finish up the jar.

Shaping was mostly fun. It would have been more fun if there hadn’t been quite so much jam to make the layers slip around….

16 December 2014, 12:39 The shaped bread took forever to rise – I just took it out of the oven. It smells great. It looks pretty good, although maybe a little flat (pictures still in the camera). I think it’s done…. I’m going to bed! We’ll taste it at breakfast. I hope I’ll manage to post by the end of today.

(I’m clearly challenged with bread doughs that have lots of butter.)

17:17 Sigh. I THOUGHT I was going to manage to post today. But it looks like it won’t appear until tomorrow. My blog is STILL offline but I can put a link on the error message to a page in a folder that has nothing to do with WordPress.

I’m headed to a 4tet rehearsal tonight (Haydn will soothe my shattered nerves).

brioche flower bread We had the bread yesterday morning with goat’s cheese. And it was delicious!! Many thanks for this, Cathy. I LOVE the shaping!

It’s really good. I’m relieved at how good it is. I’m amazed at how good it is.

I’m not sure if I’ll make this again with the egg and butter filled dough though. But I’ll definitely do this shaping again! It’s so easy. And it’s stunningly beautiful too.

Thank you once again, Cathy!

Here is the BBB September 2014 brioche flower recipe.

brioche flower bread And here is what I did to it:

BBB Brioche Flower
adapted from ‘Nutella Brioche Flower’ at and ‘Poor Man’s Brioche’ from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart

makes 1 plate sized Brioche Flower and 2 plain rolls


  • 64g (0.5 c) 100% whole wheat (no additives) flour ¹
  • 8 g (2 Tbsp) powdered skim milk
  • 120 g water at 95F ²
  • 0.125 tsp active dry yeast ³


  • 113g (0.5 c) unsalted butter, melted
  • Leaveners 4
       » 28g (4 Tbsp) finely ground flax seed
       » 0.25 tsp baking powder
       » 90g (6 Tbsp) water at around 100F
       » 0.25 tsp active dry yeast
       » 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons sugar (oooops!!!)
  • 390g (3 c) flour
       » 350g unbleached all purpose flour
       » 40g 100% whole wheat flour
  • 9g kosher salt (1.25 tsp fine salt) 5

filling and topping 6

  • plum jam
  • brown sesame seeds
  1. starter: In the evening of the day before you will be baking the bread, stir whole wheat flour and milk powder together in a largish bowl. Whisk yeast and water together until the yeast has dissolved. Add this to the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon 100 times. (Why 100 times? It just seems like a nice even number and will ensure that there are no lumps.) Cover the bowl with a plate and put it in the oven with only the light turned on. Leave it there over night.
  2. mixing the dough: Put melted butter, ground flax, baking powder into a large bowl. Be blissfully unaware that there is supposed to be sugar too.
  3. Whisk the yeast into the water in a small bowl and set aside briefly.
  4. Add flours to the large bowl. Pour in yeasted water and mix well with a wooden spoon. Note that the mixture seems awfully dry and just as you are about to dump in a little more water, notice that the egg is still sitting on the counter. Whisk the egg in a little dish and add it to the dough. Be pleased with yourself that now the dough is the perfect consistency.
  5. Kneading Use your hands to knead the dough in the bowl. Knead it well for about 10 minutes until the dough is really smooth, silky and completely unsticky. Pretend that you didn’t notice the instruction to “Form the dough into a ball and place it in a clean bowl”. Simply cover the bowl with a plate and put it in the oven with only the light turned on until it has doubled in size.
  6. shaping and topping Cover a pizza pan or cookie sheet with parchment paper. Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a very lightly floured surface. If you are making plain rolls, divide the dough evenly into 5 pieces.
       » rolls Cut the fifth piece in two and roll them into ropes to make two knots. Place the rolls on the cookie sheet.
       » flower Form the other 4 pieces into spheres. Roll one of them out into a disc that is about 3mm (1/8 inch) thick. Put the disc onto the parchment papered pan. Slather it with jam (but not too too much), leaving a small part of the outer edge unadorned. Roll out another disc the same size as the first and place it on top of the jam covered disc. Slather the second disc with more jam. Repeat one more time. For the last sphere, simply roll it out into a disc and place it on top of the stack of jam covered discs. Do NOT put any jam on the top layer.
  7. Put a small round cookie cutter in the center of the top disc. Scatter sesame seeds inside the cookie cutter, covering the surface completely.
       » cutting Using a sharp knife, cut through all the layers in a + (but leave the center area uncut).

    Now cut an X

    Finally, cut each segment in half again – to make 16 segments in all.
       » twisting Pick up two side-by-side segments. Lift and twist them away from each other all the way around. Lift and twist all the way around again. Finally, lift and twist just half way around and press the edges together firmly. Repeat with all the other pairs until a flower is formed. (Confused?? See’s very helpful video of Nutella Brioche Flower – rolling starts at 3:07; cutting starts at 5:20; twisting starts at 5:53)
  8. Cover everything with a clean tea towel followed by a plastic bag. Place the shaped bread in the oven with only the light turned on until it has almost doubled in size. (If you have a normal kitchen, this will be 1 – 2 hours.)
  9. baking When the bread has risen, remove it from the oven and put it on the counter. Make sure that there is a rack on the top shelf of the oven and turn it to 400F.
  10. Just before putting the bread in the oven, spray it liberally with water. Put the bread on the top shelf (to prevent burning on the bottom). Immediately turn the oven down to 350F and bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Put the finished bread on a footed wire rack to cool. Allow the baked bread to cool completely before cutting into it. It’s still baking inside! (Even if you’ve ignored the instructions about using hot water from the tap, please do not ignore this step.) 7


1.) Flour The BBB recipe calls for “bread flour or all-purpose”. I decided to use all whole wheat flour.

2.) Milk and Water The BBB recipe “whole milk, lukewarm 90 to 100 degrees F”. Rather than heating up milk, I opted for using skim milk powder. I decided that there was already going to be plenty of fat in the dough with the butter. And you know what I’m going to say about the water, don’t you? I’ll keep saying it too: please do not use water from the hot water tap. Instead, heat the water in a kettle or microwave. If you are allergic to using a thermometer, you can check the temperature by putting a few drops of water onto your wrist: if it feels warm, it’s too warm; if it feels cool, it’s too cool; if it feels like nothing, then it’s fine. Please note that before the yeast is added, the liquid temperature must be BELOW 120F (49C) because yeast begins to die when the temperature is higher than 120F.

3.) Yeast The BBB recipe calls for calls for “1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast”. We never have instant yeast in the house; I always use active dry, substituting it measure for measure. But I decided that amount was too much to use in the starter if I was leaving it overnight. Then because the BBB recipe doesn’t not call for any more yeast in the actual dough, I decided to throw in a little. Just in case….

4.) Leaveners The BBB recipe calls for “3 large eggs, slightly beaten” and not one iota flax seed, yeast, baking powder or extra water. But I have a horror of bread with an eggy taste; eggs are not cheap. So I substituted. I know that an egg is roughly 60 ml (0.25 cup) of liquid. But here’s what the internet says about egg substitution:

For baking: 1 egg = 2 tablespoons liquid + 2 tablespoons flour + ½ tablespoon shortening + ½ teaspoon baking powder (Recipe from Substituting Ingredients by Becky Sue Epstein and Hilary Dole Klein.
OR flaxmeal (Make flaxmeal by grinding flaxseed in a blender until it has the consistency of cornmeal. Use two tablespoons flaxmeal plus 1/8 teaspoon baking powder plus 3 tablespoons water for each egg called for in recipe.
OR gelatin (To replace each egg: Dissolve 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin in 1 tablespoon cold water, then add 2 tablespoons boiling water. Beat vigorously until frothy.)
OR cornstarch (Substitute 1 tablespoon cornstarch plus 3 tablespoons water for each egg called for in recipe.
OR bananas (Substitute 1/2 of a mashed ripe banana plus 1/4 teaspoon baking powder for each egg.)
Cook’s Thesaurus, Eggs
If eggs are binders in a recipe, it can be replaced with Arrowroot, Soy Lecithin, Flax-seed Mix, Pureed Fruits or Vegetables, Silken Tofu, Unflavored Vegetarian Gelatin Powder (agar agar). The ratio is, for every egg replaced, 1/4 cup of the substitute is used.
If eggs are leavening agents, Buttermilk, Yogurt, Baking Soda […] can be used.
If eggs are added for moisture, Fruit Juice, Milk, Water or Pureed Fruit can be used
Madhuram’s Eggless Cooking

5.) Salt The BBB recipe calls for 1.25 tsp sea salt. But we use kosher salt – much bigger grain. I have to weigh it…. (For more information about measuring salt, please see Salt is salt, right?.)

6.) Filling and topping The BBB recipe calles for “Nutella or similar hazelnut chocolate paste for the filling” and icing sugar and “1 tablespoon milk plus 1 tablespoon water for glaze”. I confess that I only just now noticed there was even supposed to be a glaze. But even if I had noticed, I probably would have left it out…. I really don’t like Nutella and didn’t feel like pain au chocolat. So I substituted with plum jam. And at the last minute, I thought it would be fun to put sesame seeds in the center.

7.) But I LIKE warm bread just out of the oven!! N.B. Of course you will want to serve warm bread. Reheat it after it has cooled completely. (It is still baking when first out of the oven!) To reheat any UNsliced bread, turn the oven to 450F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread in the hot oven for ten minutes.

brioche flower

Bread Baking Babes Brioche flower; or is it a star?? (BBB December 2014)

Cathy is our host for December 2014’s Bread Baking Babes’ challenge! She wrote:

I’ve had Nutella Brioche Flower Bread on my list to make for a while and since it’s an enriched dough, I thought it would be a good one for December. It makes a beautiful loaf and […] the shaping is not too hard. It’s called brioche, but the ratio of butter and eggs is more consistent with cinnamon rolls than brioche.

Cathy is right. (Of course she is.) The shaping is not at all too hard. In fact, it’s dead easy.

We know you’ll want to make a brioche flower too! To receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: make the bread in the next couple of weeks and post about it (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 29 December 2014. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to email the Kitchen of the Month to say that your post is up.

For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:

Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ December bread:


This is how the back garden looked a few days ago.
(It’s already almost all gone – it rained all day yesterday.)


Please remember to look at my annual Advent calendar (don’t even THINK about peeking ahead).


BBB brioche flower (housed on flickr)


Because of the risk of continued bot hammering, I have had to disable commenting. I have my fingers crossed that the bots will get tired of their idiocy soon.


edit 25 February 2015: I finally have commenting allowed again! Whoohooooo! (read more here about the hoops I jumped through)



This entry was posted in baking, BBBabes, bread - yeasted & unyeasted, bread recipe, food & drink, posts with recipes on by .

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