As I revisit the basics through teaching, I have once again fallen in love with bread. I love how just a few ingredients and a little time can develop such a wide array of textures and flavors. I enjoy the simple, albeit sometimes tedious, process of bread-making. Of course, I can never leave well enough alone. I always have to experiment a little, even with the most tried-and-true recipes. As such, I’ve formulated a recipe for Dairy-free Brioche.
Recently, I heard about a recipe that replaced butter with avocados to create a rich yeasted bread. I found this substitution intriguing. A quick search through dietetic resources suggested that the fat content of a typical avocado is about 75%, while butter is traditionally in the 80% range. The next morning I made some biscuits in which I replaced half the total weight of dairy product with fresh avocado. The biscuits worked the same and definitely had a distinctive flavor, and color, of avocado.
Now the wheels were turning as I thumbed through the ingredients in my pantry. I came across a tub of praline paste, and realized that while I have made bread with chocolate, nut, and fruit fillings, I had never tried to replace the butter with any of these ingredients. I decided to try a simple brioche recipe, sweetening the sponge with honey and processing the bread in the traditional method. Instead of making a dough and working the butter into that, I cut all the fat into the dry ingredients prior to adding the liquid, as I would for a biscuit. Mixing produced a firm dough that was slightly more dense than a usual brioche. I was a little nervous at this point, but in the end I had a tender, not-too-sweet bread with a subtle praline taste.
I hereby challenge fellow cooks to recreate this bread using any nut paste you can find. Please comment and let me know which ones are amazing and which fall a bit short. I suspect the greatest results will come from using walnuts, pecans, and pine nuts, but don’t hesitate to try seed pastes: black or white sesame seed, pumpkin seed, or even flax seeds would be interesting. Bonne chance!
- 4 ounces whole milk, warm
- 1 ounce yeast
- 2 ounces honey
- 4 ounces bread flour
- 2 ounces sugar
- Tablespoon salt
- 4 whole eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 8 ounces pastry flour
- 8 ounces bread flour
- 4 to 8 ounces nut paste or seed paste
- Mix sponge ingredients together completely and let ferment at least until bubbles appear throughout the sponge.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix together, then add the sponge, eggs, and nut paste.
- Mix with the paddle of a stand mixer until the dough is just combined.
- Fit a dough hook and mix the dough until it forms a smooth ball and cleans the side of the bowl; about 4 minutes at medium low speed.
- Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, preferably the same oil as the nut, and allow to bulk ferment; about an hour.
- Punch down the dough and allow bulk ferment once more; about an hour.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and portion as desired.
- Shape or pan the bread and allow to proof until fully prepared for baking.
- Bake at 365F until cooked through and golden-brown and delicious.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool briefly in pan, is using, then transfer to a cooling rack to allow the best steam escape rate.
- Store as you would any other bread.