The rich, traditional taste of brioche is greatly enhanced with boiling before baking, a technique usually reserved for bagels. An amaranth tangzhong softens the dough while adding a significant flavor punch. Sweet or savory toppings make for luscious desserts or fulfilling brunch.
Yield: eight, 2-ounce treats
Time to make: 60 minutes active. 1 hour proof and 40 minutes oven dwell.
Tools needed: Measuring cups and spoons and/or kitchen scale. 1 quart saucepan. Whisk. small bowl. Stand mixer with paddle attachment. Plastic work surface. Sheet pan or cookie pan. Bakers parchment. Plastic bowl scraper. Sharp knife. Hemispheric 1-Tablespoon spoon or scoop. Thin bladed metal spatula. 6-quart saucepan. Slotted spoon.
Corona flour blend
Place all ingredients into a large zip-lock bag and seal securely. Twist, roll and toss until all flours are thoroughly blended. Allow dust to settle before opening bag.
Measure water, milk and amaranth flour into 1-quart saucepan. Whisk to blend, then place over medium-high heat. Stirring smoothly and slowly with whisk, stir until mixture thickens to consistency of custard. Remove from heat and transfer to small bowl. Wash saucepan and whisk immediately before ingredients have set. Set Tangzhong aside to cool. You will have more than needed; excess may be refrigerated for up to a week.
1) Make tangzhong. Prepare a plastic work surface by spreading a thin film of oil. Also oil a plastic straight-edge and sharp knife. Prepare a sheet pan or cookie sheet with bakers parchment. Spritz parchment lightly with cooking oil.
2) Measure the flour blend, the xanthan gum, the sugar, the yeast and the salt into stand mixer bowl. Mix on low-medium speed until ingredients are thoroughly blended. Add the milk, the eggs and the tangzhong. Mix on middle speed until all ingredients are thoroughly wet - about 30 seconds. Allow dough to rest for 5 minutes. With mixer running at medium speed, add the butter one piece at a time, and continue running the mixer until all butter is integrated into the dough, about 1 minute.
3) Turn the dough out onto the oiled work surface. Oil your hands and press the dough into a rectangle approximately 5 inches wide X 10 inches long. Use a plastic straight edge to keep the rectangle neat. Use the oiled knife to cut the rectangle into 8 squares, separating the squares as you do. Oil the outside of the 1-tablespoon spoon and press into the center of each square as far down as you can.When you withdraw the spoon you will need to re-press the hole with your thumb tip to keep it in place. When all squares are indented, use a thin-bladed spatula to transfer to parchment, reshaping as needed. Cover loosely with a cloth and allow dough to rise: 45 minutes at 80 F or 1 hour at 72 F.
5) Heat oven to 425 F. Place 7 cups of water and the Tablespoon of honey in the large sauce pan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to gentle boil. Using the thin-bladed spatula, transfer the pastries, one at a time, into the simmering water, turning them face-down as you do. Simmer for 3 minutes. Dough will expand and grow lumpy, but this will change upon baking. Using the slotted spoon, gently turn the pastries over, one at a time.Simmer another 1 minute, then use the slotted spoon to transfer back to the sheet pan. Stuff tops of pastries with toppings, such as cinnamon sugar, chocolate pieces, sweated onions or Gruyére cheese. Bake 40 minutes, turning tray once. Remove to a cooling rack.
Pastries can be frozen after boiling and before baking, then thawed and baked as needed.