Parsnip Parsimony- A vegan baking and science blog.

“You’re crazy, Susie!”

Spring Break! I’ll show you my Brioche à têtes

Posted by Susie on April 5, 2008

I made some orange/ dark chocolate brioches the other day.  This time, I used measuring cups to weigh out my ingredients, so I have a volume unit recipe for you all! Enjoy!

The chocolate-orange flavor combination was suggested by the recipe that came with my pretty new brioche pans. I didn’t bother veganizing that recipe, but instead, I just added chocolate and orange to the added-gluten brioche formula I developed in January. The orange zest and bittersweet chocolate chunks made for the most outrageous yeast dough I have ever been in the presence of. Normally, yeasted bread doughs are not known as being irresistable, but this dough was.


Orange-Chocolate Brioche à têtes

Made four short brioches. I think if I had made two, maybe three bigger ones, they would have been better.

Starter: Mix together the following ingredients in a stand mixer with a spoon until uniform.  Allow starter to ferment for  20-30 minutes.

  • 3 Tbs bread flour
  • 1.5 tsp dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup+ 1 tsp room tempurature unsweetened soymilk

Dough: After starter is done fermenting, place a dough hook or paddle attachment on the stand mixer. Add  the water and lecithin to the mixer and mix to break up starter thoroughly.  Add flour, gluten, orange zest, and sugar to mixing bowl and mix on the lowest speed until all the flour is moist. Continue mixing, and begin adding the Earth Balance brand buttery sticks to the mixer, waiting until each addition is fully incorporated into the dough before adding more. Take your time adding the fat. Going too fast will result in an incoherent dough.

Note: There is no salt in this recipe on purpose. (The high amount of  salted margarine provides all the saltiness that is needed.) 

  • Starter (from above)
  • 1/4 cup + 3 tsp water
  • 1 drop liquid soy lecithin (a pinch of lecithin granules would work)
  • 1.5 cups bread flour (Thats the “scoop and shake method” for those who might otherwise do it “right”.)
  • 4 tsps vital wheat gluten
  • 4 tsps Sugar
  • Zest from one large washed orange.
  • 1.5 sticks earth balance buttery sticks.

Chocolate: Add the chopped chocolate to the dough and mix thoroughly.

  • 1/4 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate (I chopped 1/2 of a large lindt bar in a blender, but you could use a knife or a food processor. Or prepackaged chocolate chips, but I really liked the variety of size of chocolate chunk I got from using the blender: some powder to make the whole dough chocolate-y tasting, and some big chunks to be melty, gooey, and wonderful.)

Fermentation: Remove the dough hook from the mixer, cover the mixer bowl with something airtight, and let the dough sit for 3-4 hours at room tempurature.

Form the brioche: Devide the dough into pieces of the desired size, and place them into the pans you wish to bake them in. For traditional Brioche à têtes, place a small ball of dough on top of a larger ball. Anchor the small piece by rolling it out a little to give it a “tail”, make an indentation in the large piece with your thumb, and connect the two pieces. You can also form brioche as loaves and use a plain bread pan, or you can use muffin pans. As long as you give this fragile dough something to hold itself up with (I wouldn’t recommend hearth brioche, except maybe if you are making a ring-type thing.), the possibilities are only limited by your creativity.  Keep in mind the dough will almost double, but filling your pan to near the top will only result in impressive, high-rising brioche. (I should have made mine bigger.)

Chill and proof the shaped brioche: Cover the shaped brioche with something air-tight. Put it outside in the cold or in the refridgerator for 2-3 hours. (larger brioche will need more time.)

Bake the brioche: Preheat the oven to 350 F for smaller brioche, and 325 F for larger brioche. Take the Brioche out of the cold and let it set at room tempurature for a while (half hour-ish, less if you’re in a hurry. More if it doesn’t seem to be that poofy, no time at all if it is overproofed.) Prepare a xantham gum “egg wash” with a teensy weensy pinch of xantham in soy milk or soy creamer (leave out the xantham if you don’t have it), and wash the surface of the brioche right before placing them in the oven.

Take the brioche out of the oven when they have a golden brown color on the outside. My 4.6 oz mini Brioche à têtes took 50 minutes to reach the perfect crust color- yours will take about that long if they are a similar size, less time if they are smaller, and more time if they are larger. If in doubt: “if its not burning, five minutes longer won’t hurt it!”


7 Responses to “Spring Break! I’ll show you my Brioche à têtes”

  1. kittee said

    wow. thanks for posting the details for these, susie. i always thought bread flour was a high gluten whole wheat flour? did you use a specific brand? i think the only one i can get that is specifically “bread” flour is king arthur. i’m gonna have to look. i might try this with atta flour, which is a whole wheat flour that is sorta white.


  2. kittee said

    also, your brioche pans are fucking cute.


  3. Susie said


    “Bread flour” refers to a flour that is high in gluten. If I just say “bread flour”, then by default I mean a high gluten white flour.

    “whole wheat bread flour” is a whole wheat flour that has more gluten than a whole wheat pastry flour.

    This is the king arthur brand “bread flour” that I used in these brioche:
    (someone please let me know if the link doesn’t work!)

    That was a good question, thanks! I should have put that in the original post!

  4. bazu said

    How wonderful! Orange + dark chocolate + brioche = ahhhhhhh.

  5. Squeak said

    I am ALL OVER that dough….it looks so good…

  6. sarchan said

    Yay! This post makes me happy. I’ve been wanting to make brioche ever since reading brioche feature in an issue of Martha Stewart like 6 years ago. I never got around to it though… And then I got around to being vegan, and have occasionally thought about trying to veganize a recipe. Anyway, I don’t have to. I love the orange-chocolate combination. Your brioches look very cute and very delicious. And I am jealous of your pretty pans.

  7. Bermuda said

    I’ve been searching in google for some ideas and occasionally found this blog. Thanks for sharing your talent and valuable information with us. You are a bright light!

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