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How to Shape Brioche Dough

Learn how to shape brioche dough in this bread making video from Howcast.


Okay, so we have our brioche dough and we put it in the refrigerator to chill it down, so that we could shape it more easily. And so I'm going to take it out of the container, it's okay if it comes out in chunks. Okay, so I've got our brioche dough and the first thing you want to do is, you want to divide it, and so we're going to shape brioche a tete. To shape brioche a tete, we need to divide them into small pieces and I divide mine into 50 gram pieces.

So the first thing I'm going to do is, I'm going to cut a strip of dough like this, and then I'm going to sort of eyeball what I think is 50 grams and then I'm going to weigh it. And then if it's a couple of grams over or under, that's fine. And I'm just going to keep going on. I'm going to divide 10 pieces of dough at 50 grams each. I'm also going to divide pieces a little smaller at 25 grams, and it's okay if the dough is sticking to your bench knife and it's sticky. It's cold enough, so that you should be able to handle it pretty well.

Okay, and then this last piece, what I'm going to do is we're going to shape this large piece into a loaf pan, but first we're going to shape our brioche a tete. To do that what you want to do is make sure that your hands are really floured, so that the dough doesn't stick to them. You're going to take the dough and I usually like to have the smooth surface facing up. And you're going to cup your hand and you're going to roll it against the surface, like this. The pressure of your hand is going to create a ball, and see how the ball is sort of sticking to the work surface.

That's where I use my bench knife and I really scoop up under it, and then I round it again. And so this is the beginning of shaping the brioche a tete, and so we're just going to set that ball aside and move on to the next ball. Again, really using a lot of pressure on the surface, and it's that pressure that helps pop the dough up into your hand, as you're making a circular motion. And then if you get a little dough on the surface, just scrap it up and keep moving on.

Then what I'm going to do is, I'm going to use two hands just to expedite, and my two hands are basically going towards each other as I'm rounding. See this one is starting to stick, so I'm just going to take my bench knife and scoop right under it and I'm going to flour my hands some more. If you notice, I'm not really flouring the surface. I'm really just flouring my hands.

For the smaller pieces these are going to form a loaf called a nanterre, and I'm going to round these too, and you can see, I'm just sort of setting them aside as I'm rounding them to let them rest a little bit. Okay, now on to this big piece of dough, ideally I just want this big piece of dough to weigh about one kilo, and so I'm going to check the weight of it. You can see there's a little piece of butter that's left over from the mixing.

When I see a little piece of butter like this I'm just going to take it out of the dough, because what will happen if you leave it in the dough is that it will evaporate and it will create an air pocket, and you don't want that when you're baking the brioche. So I'm going to weigh this. It's about 1200 grams. I'm going to cut off 200 grams and then what I'm going to do with this big piece of dough is, I'm going to start shaping it.

So I'm going to sort of deflate it, because there's still some air in the dough, and if it starts to stick, what you want to do is really get under it, so it's not sticking to your work surface, and just dust the work surface. So I'm going to flatten this dough out, to about the size of my pan, and then I'm going to start to roll it up jellyroll style. And I'm sort of rolling it and I'm sealing it with the palm of my hand at the same time.

So I've got this nice log and now I'm going to deflate it, and sort of square up the edges, so it's the size of my pan. And then what I'm going to do is, I'm going to gently; this is a non-stick pan, so it probably doesn't need any type of spray; but just for some security, I'm just going to very gently spray the pan, and then I'm going to put this piece of dough in the pan.

I want to sort of flatten it out, so that it's nice and even and it will proof very evenly this way and you'll get a nice domed loaf of bread. This is a 9 x 5 inch pan, and then we're going to let this proof for about three hours. When it's proofing what we really want to do is, we want to watch it, but we want to cover it, so that the surface doesn't get dried out.

And now I'm going to move on to the small balls and I'm going to take this other pan and this is an 8 x 4 inch pan. I'm going to lightly spray it and I'm just going to place the balls into the bottom of it. I have the nanterre loaf shape and I've got 10 pieces of dough. Each piece of dough weighs about 25 grams, and I've got them in a row of two each, and I've got a total of 10. And these will also proof for about three hours, and I'm going to set these aside while I finish shaping the brioche a tete.

Okay, so a brioche a tete has a little head on it. The word tete in French means head, and so we're going to finish shaping these balls, so that they have another little head on the top of them and then we're going to put them in-- these are brioche a tete molds. We're going to spray these molds so that they don't stick to them, and I've got, two, four, six, eight. So just very gently spray them. Not too much, because there's butter in the brioche.

Then what you're going to do is flour your hands, and then you're going to take the ball, and put it on its side and sort of roll it out, like this, and then once it's about three inches long, you're going to take the backside of your hand, and you're going to make sort of a sawing motion about two-thirds into the dough. So you're going to sort of saw it like this and it's going to sort of look like a bowling pin.

And once you have this sort of bowling pin, you're going to smoosh it down. You're going to sort of work it down like that, and then you have the beginning of your brioche a tete. You're going to use your two index fingers, dip them in flour and you're going to push into that indentation, and really get under that little head. And dip your fingers in flour again, and then just keep working the dough around, until you're really under that little head, and then that is your brioche a tete.

And then you're going to put it into the pan so it can start proofing, and I'm going to shape some more. So again, you're going to take it on its side and roll it, until it's about three inches long. And then you're going to take the backside of your hand and about two-thirds of the way across, you're going to sort of go back and forth in the dough. Don't cut the dough off, but you're just going to do a rolling motion, so that you're sort of shaping something that looks like a bowling pin.

And then you're going to take your fingers and smoosh this dough down. Flour your fingers, if the dough starts to stick to them, and then you're going to take your index fingers and just go work your way around the dough. And if the dough sticks to the surface, just a nice light dusting of flour and then this can go into a pan, and so these are three different ways that you can shape brioche dough.

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