Enjoy these cream cheese brioche that nestle a creamy and citrus cream cheese filling in the center. The buttery brioche is perfect with the note of freshness and creaminess from the sugared cream cheese.
I enjoy the over all process of baking bread right from the kneading, proofing and up to the part when the house is filled with the sweet and buttery smell of bread baking in the oven. These cream cheese brioche are no exception. When the dough is proofing, the smell of yeast is so strong that you can’t deny that bread making is taking place.
What sets the brioche apart from others is that they so rich in egg and butter that when they are baking, the smell is just wonderful it makes you feel like you are in a bakeshop.
These cream cheese brioche are basic brioche buns that I use for the brioche braid and the ensaymada. I love this recipe so much because I find it simple and easy to follow. It is from the book Baking with Julia written by Dorie Greespan and contributed by Nancy Silverton. With the number of times I made this brioche recipe, I think I owe her part of my life already.
And again, like I always say about making brioche, lengthy instruction may seem complex and intimidating. The truth is, in this recipe the work is done by the heavy duty mixer. The instructions are long, yes. But when you look close enough, the most work you have to do is measuring out the ingredients. Half the time is just spent waiting for the dough to rise, and then the over all kneading is done by the machine.
So my wish is that you look past the complex looking recipe, and just go right to baking these cream cheese brioche. I assure you that once you take out these brioche out of the oven , you’d be so glad you did.
The Brioche Making
In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the 2 and 1/4 teaspoons yeast, 1/3 cup warm milk ( 110 F), 1 egg and 1 cup of flour. Use a rubber spatula to combine them.
Once combined, add another cup of flour and sprinkle it on top of the yeast mixture to cover ( Do not stir) . Let this stand untouched for 40 minutes. After that time, the flour should develop some cracks on the surface.
Now add 4 lightly beaten eggs, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 cup all purpose flour to the same bowl. Attach the dough hook to your mixer and beat the mixture on low speed just until combined, about a minute or so. Add another half cup of flour and beat the mixture on medium speed for about 15 minutes. Stop the mixer to scrape the sides and bottom of bowl if needed.
An indication that the dough is ready is when you see it gathering itself into the center of the bowl, and attaching itself into the dough hook. As the mixing progresses, you will see the dough slapping the sides of the bowl. It is like the dough is throwing itself , almost violently, into the sides of the bowl but still clinging to the dough hook. You can hear the slapping sounds the dough makes against the bowl.
After the slapping action, you are now ready to add the butter. Bit by bit, drop the softened butter into the bowl, letting them mix well after each addition. Now at this stage, the dough which has gathered beautifully earlier, will start to fall apart again.
Note that it is important that the butter is at room temperature upon adding them. They should be soft enough to blend in to the dough but not too soft that they are warm and greasy. I like to smear them or smash them with my fingers as I add them bit by bit. That way, they are just soft enough to blend in as you throw them in pieces to the dough.
Continue beating and you will see the dough gather again, and make the slapping sounds once more. This should take about five minutes. At this stage, you will have a shiny, sticky and smooth dough.
Place the dough in a large greased bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let stand in room temperature until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
After that, You are going to quickly handle the dough before the long chilling : Gently lift the risen dough from the bowl. Lift it in one part at a time, and let it fall back to the bowl. Do not directly punch the dough down.
And again, cover the dough in the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight. After the long chilling, the dough is now ready to use. The cream cheese filling is good for the entire amount of dough, but I like to bake these in two batches. So after the long chill, I divide the dough into two equal portions and I immediately assemble the first half for baking. I refrigerate the remaining half of dough and filling to bake for later within the week.
Have fun with shaping the dough. Take a ball of dough that is the size of your palms so that you have 8 portions per half of the dough (entire recipe makes 16). Shape them into circle, oval, rectangle or square then flatten them to less than half of an inch approximately.
Let them rise for about an hour. After that, create a well in the center using your fingers. Spoon the cream cheese filling, brush the edges with egg wash and bake them for 12-15 minutes in a 350 F oven.
I like to use a thermometer whenever I bake bread. The thermometer should register 200 F. That is your indication that your bread is done.
They will rise generously in the oven. Bake them just until they are done and you will be greatly rewarded with soft and buttery brioche buns that are filled with the luxurious cream cheese.
It is such a joy to see plain and pale dough turn into golden and soft pastries. Then add to that the amazing aroma that lingers around, these cream cheese brioche will delight the baker in you.
So, I hope you try them and love them and make them over and over again!
Here is the recipe. It is a long one, but you can do it.