Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Chocolate Brioche Flower

Beautiful Chocolate Brioche Flower….just out of the oven
I have such enthusiasm for baking special breads during the holidays! There is something special about setting a beautiful brunch table, and then placing a gorgeous sweet bread upon it! I have several delectable breads that I make for the Easter and Christmas seasons! The one I’m sharing today starts with Brioche dough from Peter Reinhart.  It’s then filled with a chopped chocolate, brown sugar and cinnamon mixture. The real magic starts when it's cut into a beautiful brioche flower! Pretty special for any occasion, this one graced our Christmas table! 

The only photo I was able to get after the bread was plated…I noticed there was a piece missing as I pulled it out to serve…Christmas mice, hmmmm?

Although this bread looks quite fancy, it would be perfect for any gathering of family or friends. You could fill it with a simple sugar-cinnamon mixture, or fancy it up with Nutella or jam. It’s all up to you!
I did solicit some assistance in making this bread from my daughter and granddaughter.  It was our Christmas Eve project! Getting everyone involved made for such an enjoyable afternoon, and hopefully created wonderful memories!

The disk cut into sixteen pieces
My daughter twisting and my granddaughter sealing them

Early in the day, I made the sponge for the brioche. It consists of ½ cup of flour, 1¼ tsps. instant yeast, ½ cup lukewarm whole milk. Whisk it all together, and let rise for 30-40 minutes, or until the sponge rises and then falls. As it rises it will become bubbly.

Once the sponge was ready I prepared the dough. I did this in my stand-mixer with a paddle attachment. Knead and let rise until doubled in size.  Now for the fun part! 

I cut the dough into four equal parts and formed balls. I then rolled out each ball into a 10-inch circle. My granddaughter brushed each circle with softened butter, and then sprinkled each with the chocolate mixture, except the last, which is left plain. This is where my daughter came in. She has an artistic inclination for being precise…so we gave her the job of cutting and twisting! We had a really fun time working together, and my granddaughter even took some of the photos! 
This bread was delicious and a big hit on Christmas morning! Receiving many Oooohs, Aaahs, and Yumms! Go ahead and give it a try…you know you want to…it’s much easier than it looks!

Wishing everyone a Healthy and Happy New Year!! 

Ready for the egg wash and oven
Just out of the oven the aroma was so alluring….
Great shot by my granddaughter…she’s ten!

Chocolate Brioche Flower
Makes: 1 large Chocolate Brioche Flower
Adapted from:
  • Watch how the bread is formed with this Video Brioche Flower @ 
  • Poor Man’s Brioche from The Bread Bakers Apprentice by Peter Reinhart
For the sponge:
  • 1/2 cup (2.25 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) whole milk, lukewarm (90-100 degrees F.)
For the dough:
  • 3 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 3 cups (13.75 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1-2 teaspoons milk, if necessary to form a smooth dough
For the filling 
  •  about ½ cup of finely chopped dark chocolate
  • ⅓ cup of light brown sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • softened butter for brushing
Egg wash, 1 beaten egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon of milk, brush on just before the bread goes into the oven.

To make the sponge, stir together the flour and yeast in a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer). Pour in the milk and whisk the ingredients together until all of the flour is hydrated. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the sponge rises and falls when you tap the bowl.

To make the dough, add the eggs to the sponge and whisk (or beat on medium speed with the paddle attachment) until smooth.  In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt.  Add this mixture to the sponge and eggs and stir (or continue mixing with the paddle on low speed for about 2 minutes) until all of the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes to begin to develop the gluten.  Then mix in the melted butter by hand, using a wooden spoon or Danish dough whisk or with the mixer on medium speed using the dough hook. Add in a couple of teaspoons of milk if the dough is too dry.
Transfer the dough to the work surface and knead for about 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft and smooth.  It shouldn't be too sticky too handle.
Form the dough into a ball and place it in a clean bowl.  It doesn't need to be oiled.  The butter should keep the dough from sticking to the bowl.  Let the dough rise in a warm place (70- 75 degrees F.) for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, cut out a circle of Parchment paper about 12″ in diameter. Place the paper on your baking sheet.

To shape the flower, once risen, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, punch it down and knead for 3-4 minutes. Divide the dough into 4 equal size pieces and form each piece into a ball.
Roll each ball of dough out into a circle measuring about 10″ in diameter. The dough should be about 1/8″  thick.
Place the dough onto the baking paper, brush with the butter, and sprinkle with the chocolate mixture. Leave about an inch border all around the edge.  Be sure to evenly cover the dough.
Roll out the second ball of dough, place it on the first layer, brush with the butter and sprinkle the chocolate mixture. Repeat with the third and fourth balls of dough, but do NOT butter or sprinkle anything on the final layer.
Cut the brioche into 16 segments but leave a small 1½” area in the center of the dough uncut. I used a small round object…so that I would not cut too far into the dough.
First cut the circles into quarters, then eighths, and finally into sixteenths. Take two parts in both hands and delicately twist them in opposite directions. Press the edges together firmly. Repeat with all pairs.

Place the brioche in a large plastic bag or cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place for another 2 hours to rise.
Brush with the egg wash, and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  
Place the bread on a wire rack to cool. Once cooled, dust lightly with confectioners sugar. 


  1. Gorgeous! This reminds me of chocolate babka (which I love), but it's so much prettier. How lucky you are to have helpers in the kitchen!

  2. It looks stunning! I would love a piece now.
    Happy New Year, Kathy!

  3. What beauty and lovely brioche flower
    All of you made a nice work!
    Happy new year!

  4. As soon as I laid my eyes on that Brioche Flower Bread Kathy I just knew it was special but, little did I know how special!!! It is gorgeous!!! I am sure not only is it filled with tasty goodness, it is oozing with that special touch of love that only 3 generations can unite. Thank you so much for sharing, Kathy...A very Happy, Healthy New Year to You and Yours! Louise

  5. Stunningly beautiful, Kathy!! I have been wanting to make something similar from the book Jerusalem; but this is way more fun. Bookmarking! Happy new year to you and your family, Kathy!

  6. This bread is a «tour de force,» Kathy! You did a gorgeous job - and the way you describe it, it almost seeme like us mere mortals could make it. I am now dreaming of all the different filling possibilities! Again, Happy New Year! ~ David

  7. This looked beautiful on Facebook, Kathy, and even prettier now that I see the teamwork behind it! Your granddaughter is lovely. Happy New Year to all of you!

  8. This is truly spectacular Kathy! And what a great idea making it a holiday project. It's definitely on my "must try" list!

  9. What a beautiful brioche flower! What a great memory to pass along to your family and I can only imagine that it will be a tradition when they have their own families!