Looking to impress your family? Then bake up a batch of Chocolate Cherry Brioche and take advantage of the fresh cherry season!
Let’s chat about French food today, shall we?
The food of romance, great cheese, buttery pastries and the best bread you’ll ever eat.
A cuisine in my opinion is never really as good unless you eat it there yourself. There is just something about stopping by the boulangerie for crusty loaf of bread and the fromagerie for a little cheese to put together the simplest and best lunch.
I don’t know if it’s the water, the air or the training the french pastry chefs receive but I’ve yet to find bread as good as I’ve had in France.
Speaking of France did you know that next week is Bastille Day or rather La Fête Nationale? Why should we care about the day the French revolution began?
Well, I’ll tell you why. It’s an excuse to make good food. Plus it is seems these days we all enjoy a reason to celebrate and America being the melting pot that it is, the French brought their holiday here.
Since my Holiday Food Party blog friends and I wanted to celebrate a holiday this July that included the Americans and Canadians in our group, we figured Bastille Day was the best choice! Whether you are French or have a distant French relative use July 14th as a reason to cook up something delicious and yes, perhaps suffer through a little time with the oven on!
As I was going through my mind of my favorite French foods, the bread kept leaping forward. Realizing I’d never be able to create that perfect crispy and chewy French baguette at home, the answer was the next best thing.
Let’s talk about brioche making for a hot second. In my mind, I thought it would be similar to making challah but with the added step of a lot of butter.
It’s what makes brioche so hard to resist.
What I didn’t expect was panic in the middle of making the bread, the giant buttery mess and eventual resolve to beautiful smooth and elastic dough to become this delicious loaf of bread.
Basically I’m telling is you don’t be afraid when you make this. You’ll think something has gone wrong when you’ve added the butter to your mixer. You’ll wonder how can this ever incorporate into the dough without being greasy and a little gross. By the magic of bread making and a lot of kneading time it does. I also don’t recommend this unless you have a bread maker or stand mixer because you’ll be kneading away for a long time!
4 large eggs, room temperature plus 1 egg + yolk for the egg wash
1/2 whole milk
8oz (1 cup) unsalted european style butter, slightly softened, cut into 16 pieces
1 cup bing cherries, pitted and roughly chopped
2/3 cup dark chocolate baking wafers, such as Guittard
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment mix the flour, sugar, yeast and salt.
Add the 4 eggs and milk and mix on low speed. Once the dough begins to clump together, switch out the paddle for the dough hook.
Mix for 2 minutes, scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for another 2 minutes. The dough should be firm and elastic but slightly sticky.
With the mixer on medium-low speed, add in half the butter, a few pieces at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and knead the dough by hand a few times.
Replace the bowl and back on medium-low speed add the remaining butter in pieces. Increase to medium and mix for 4 minutes. Repeat the scrape and kneading.
Replace the bowl, mix again on medium for another 4 minutes. You know the dough is ready when it slaps the side of the bowl.
Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface. Knead by hand a few times and fold the dough in a 12,3,6,9 clock pattern. Flip over and tighten the dough into a ball.
Transfer to a large bowl, smooth side up and let rise for 1 hour covered loosely with plastic wrap.
After the dough has risen for an hour or doubled in size, turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Fold the dough again in the 12,3,6,9 pattern and form into a ball. Replace back in the bowl and either refrigerate over night or sit until doubled in size about 1 hour.
If refrigerating, let sit at room temperature for 2 hours the next day before proceeding with the final rise.
Butter 2 brioche pans or 2 loaf pans. Divide the dough in half about 1 pound 3oz each and then divide each half into 8 pieces - 16 total.
Roll each piece of dough into a ball, flatten slightly and place a small amount of chocolate and chopped cherries in the center. Fold the dough over the chocolate and cherries to seal and form into a ball. Place in the center of your pan. Repeat with remaining pieces - 8 dough balls total to each pan.
Cover each pan loosely with plastic wrap and rise for about an hour or until doubled in size.
Brush the tops with the egg wash and heat your oven to 375 degrees. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the internal temperature of the bread reaches 195 degrees. If the bread is turning too dark before it finishes cooking, tent lightly with foil.
Let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before turning out and serving. Best served warm.