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Almond Brioches


Almond Brioche

Almond Brioche

Yield

Makes 16 brioches

Ingredients

1 package active dry yeast
1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
1/2 cup warm water (105° to 115°F)
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup packed almond paste (about 2 ounces), cut into 16 pieces and flattened into nickel-size discs
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon half-and-half or milk
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Additional sugar (optional)

Preparation

  1. To proof yeast, sprinkle yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar over warm water in small bowl; stir until yeast is dissolved. Let stand 5 minutes or until mixture is bubbly.
  2. Beat butter and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in almond extract. Reduce speed to low; beat in yeast mixture, 1-1/2 cups flour and salt. Beat at medium speed 2 minutes.
  3. Remove beater and insert dough hook.* Add remaining 2 cups flour. Beat at low speed briefly. Beat at medium speed 3 minutes. Dough will be sticky.
  4. Cover with towel; let rise in warm place about 1-1/2 hours or until doubled in bulk. Stir down dough. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.
  5. Punch down dough. Turn out onto lightly floured surface; flatten slightly. Knead dough 2 minutes. Cut dough into 16 pieces. Cover with towel; let rest 10 minutes. Grease 16 (3-3/4X1-1/2-inch) brioche pans or 16 (2-1/2-inch) muffin pan cups; set aside.
  6. To form brioches, reserve about 1 teaspoon dough from each piece, shaping larger pieces of dough into balls.
  7. Place almond paste discs in center of large pieces of dough by pulling edges of dough over and around almond paste, making smooth round top. Place in prepared pans. (If dough becomes too soft and sticky, refrigerate 10 minutes.)
  8. To form top knot, make deep depression in each dough ball with greased end of wooden spoon. Shape small dough piece into teardrop-shaped ball; place pointed end of ball into hole. Repeat with remaining dough. Place brioche pans on jelly-roll pan.
  9. Cover brioches with towel; let rise in warm place 45 minutes or until almost doubled in bulk. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  10. Combine egg yolk and half-and-half in small bowl. Brush brioches with egg yolk mixture. Sprinkle with almonds and additional sugar, if desired. Bake 20 minutes or until golden and sound hollow when lightly tapped. Remove from pans; cool on wire racks 10 minutes. Serve warm.

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