Coffee Brioche (Brioche au Café)

Well, so much for originality.

Google “coffee brioche” and what do you get? A lot of stuff about having coffee with brioche, right? But not really anything on coffee in brioche. So that was my brilliant idea: if coffee and brioche are so good together, why not make a true marriage of the two and put the coffee right in the bread?

So I did, and it was good, but then I thought to Google “brioche au café,” and lo and behold my idea wasn’t so original after all. A lot of recettes come up there. Damn.

Also, would you please just pretend not to notice that these rolls and pull-apart brioche look pretty much exactly like the butternut squash brioche I made last year? And don’t look too closely, or you’ll see that the recipe is the same as this brioche, except with coffee concentrate and milk powder standing in for the liquid milk, and crème fraîche and sugar instead of egg wash.

Oh hell, I can’t even come up with anything original to say, so I am resorting to the words of Bill Watterson (author of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes):

“I used to make original snowmen, but it was time consuming, hard work. So I said, heck, this is crazy! Now I crank out crude imitations of what’s already popular! It takes no time or thought, and most people don’t care about the difference, anyway! And what good is originality if you can’t crank it out?”

So fine, I cranked out some coffee brioche.

About the coffee concentrate: I always have it on hand, because I cold-brew my coffee. (If you’re not familiar with the cold-brew method, I highly recommend it.) Otherwise, brew some quadruple-strength coffee. The coffee flavor in the brioche is present but subtle. For a stronger flavor and darker crumb color, I would try adding some espresso powder, and I’ll do so the next time I crank this out.

Coffee Brioche

Yield: 1200 g (one 9-inch round loaf plus 6 rolls, or one 8-inch round loaves plus 10 rolls)

Time:

  • Mix dough: about 15 minutes
  • First fermentation: 1 hour
  • Divide and preshape: 10 minutes
  • First fermentation (continued, in refrigerator): 8 – 12 hours
  • Shape: 10 minutes
  • Proof: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Bake: 20 – 40 minutes

Desired dough temperature: 78F

Dough Ingredients:

  • 474 g flour
  • 284 g eggs
  • 43 g coffee concentrate
  • 5 g milk powder
  • 6 g (2 t.) SAF gold instant yeast
  • 9.5 g (1.5 t.) salt
  • 95 g sugar
  • 284g butter, cut into half-inch cubes, softened

Topping Ingredients:

  • crème fraîche
  • granulated sugar or coarse brown sugar
  • pearl sugar

Method:

  1. Place flour, eggs, coffee, milk powder, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix at low speed for about 4 minutes. It is normal for the dough to be quite stiff at this point.
  2. With the mixer in medium speed, add the sugar very slowly, in 5 or 6 increments. Mix for about a minute following each addition. (If you add the sugar too quickly, mixing will take longer.)
  3. Continue to mix in medium speed until the gluten reaches full development, i.e., you can stretch a paper thin, translucent “windowpane” from the dough.
  4. Turn the mixer back to low speed and add the butter all at once. Mix for a minute in low speed, then turn the mixer to medium speed and mix until the butter is completely incorporated. It may seem like it will never mix in, but it will. You should now have a dough that is very soft and satiny, quite extensible (stretchy) but also strong and elastic (springs back after being stretched).
  5. Transfer the dough to a covered container and ferment at warm room temperature (about 76F) for one hour.
  6. Divide the and shape the dough into light balls of 50 grams each.
  7. Space the preshaped dough on a baking sheet and slip the sheet into a plastic bag or cover with plastic wrap.
  8. Refrigerate overnight (8 – 12 hours).
  9. Degas each piece of dough and form it into a tight ball by placing it on the counter with your cupped hand loosely around it, and moving your hand in a tight circle several times.
  10. For a large round pull-apart loaf, lightly oil an 8- or 9-inch cake pan and line its bottom with parchment paper. Place 12 or 13 dough balls into an 8-inch pan, or 17 or 18 in a 9-inch pan. The remaining balls can be baked as individual rolls, either on a parchment-lined baking sheet or in small, oiled brioche or tart tins.
  11. Cover the loaf and rolls, and proof for about an hour and 45 minutes at warm room temperature.
  12. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 380F.
  13. Before baking, brush the dough with crème fraîche. Sprinkle with granulated sugar or coarse brown sugar, and with pearl sugar if desired.
  14. Bake at 380F until the brioche has reached an internal temperature (use an instant-read thermometer) of at least 190F. This will take about 15 – 20 minutes for individual rolls and 30 – 40 minutes for the pull-apart loaf.
  15. Cool loaves in their pans for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

CommentsLeave a comment

  1. says

    Susan, cold brewed coffee, really, why?
    I get the hint, you want some new fan dangled formulas again? Hint, hint, nudge, nudge!

  2. Hans Joakim says

    Your brioche looks perfect! So pillowy soft.

    Do you still have coffee with a brioche au café, or would that keep you up all night?

  3. says

    I woke up thinking about cherry and chocolate brioche but don’t know if i have the energy to make it. As to originality, its only the internet that has made you feel unoriginal. If it wasn’t there, you would never know that you hadn’t been the first. But, then I wouldn’t be reading your blog…

  4. says

    Perfect! I just refilled my cup of coffee to enjoy while catching up on my favorite blogs, and was greated by your tempting image of coffee brioche. Thanks for making my morning special.

  5. says

    Depends on how you define “original”. If it’s the first time you did it, it’s your original. As to the idea … we’re just building on the shoulders of the giants … anyway that’s my story.
    Love the idea.

  6. says

    Perfect perfect! I love brioche, I love coffee …
    Cold-brew coffee is perfectly new to me and never heard or tried it before, sounds really intriguing though. Tempted as always!

  7. Linda says

    funny, I had just decided to make brioche this weekend for my weekly bread and was wondering where to get a recipe.

    these look gorgeous! thanks as always and have a great Indepence day holiday!

  8. Paul says

    I LOVED Calvin and Hobbes, and I think I would love to have a teensy-weensy bit of this wonderful-looking brioche!

    Do you have a pet tiger too?

  9. says

    Well, living in the land of brioche, I must say it’s new to me! What a great idea! I just realized I missed yet another YS…I need to get my yeasties posted.

  10. says

    I like the little individual ones – cute! Simple, and with a subtle promise of deliciousness.

    (Damn Firefox – they insist you download and install their new updated version [it IS so much better than .... you know who], but they’re so damned eager to publish it, that they forget to put in the piece that keeps all your old settings in place – totally irritating!)

  11. says

    I think this is a great idea; I think I would much prefer a sweeter, more flavorful brioche than the “middle-class” brioche I made from the Bread Baker’s Apprentice. I’ll have to crank some out as well. :)

  12. says

    My ears ‘perked’ up when I heard the word, coffee. I can’t for the life of me figure out why, though, but that is beside the point. If it is mocha in color and has a bit of caffeine, well, my name is on it!

    Seriously, this is SO on my list of THINGS TO DO.

    ;)

    Thanks for such a splendid offering. I’m grounded for life if my bread allows me a brewsky.
    :)
    ;)

  13. says

    But this is so creative! They are beautiful and I wish I could make such perfect brioche. I have never heard of brioche au café and I think it is pretty cool. And Calvin & Hobbes is always brilliant! “Muches Smooches!”

  14. Erika says

    Oh yes!! These look truly delicious–and absolutely original–who says you can’t have the same idea as someone else?–in fact, it happens all the time!
    Anathema, I know, but I think Starbucks would like these (I just returned from a thousand mile road trip and believe me, I would have fallen all over one).
    Like I’ve said many times before–I want one now!! Yum Susan!

  15. says

    I am not going to make these for fear of eating that entire cake pan full for Sunday morning “breakfast.”

    You also forgot to mention in the topping section:

    “drool”

  16. says

    Well, I never thought of coffee brioche before . . . Now you have me thinking about coffee challah or maybe marble coffee chocolate challah. But, I bet it has been done already . . .

  17. Sarah says

    Okay, so it looked delicious, and i’ve made brioche before… but has anyone else encountered the “my fridge is too cold and froze my dough” problem? Because my dough is currently thawing on my counter. :( This makes me unhappy. I’m hoping to bake through it however, and hope that (after thawing) things will be fine…. hooo boy.

  18. says

    Sarah, it should be fine after it thaws a little. Just don’t let it warm up too much — you want it cold when you work with it.

  19. Sarah says

    Susan – thanks. It actually turned out really well. It just scared me for a bit. Yesterday was a bad day for baking, apparently. Lots of little things went wrong. But my brioche is really yummy! :)

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