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 definitely do it. For the love of pastries!
Cream Cheese Brioche
FOR THE BRIOCHE : THE SPONGE
- 1/3 cup warm milk 110 F
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups all purpose flour
FOR THE BRIOCHE: THE DOUGH
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs lightly beaten
- 1 and 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 and 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
FOR THE CREAM CHEESE FILLING
- 3/4 cup softened cream cheese
- 3/4 cup icing sugar
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of lemon juice or kalamansi juice
- 1/4 cup milk
FOR THE EGG WASH
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp of milk
Make The Brioche Sponge
- In the bowl of heavy duty mixer, add the yeast, milk, egg and 1 cup all purpose flour. Mix with a rubber spatula just until combined. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of flour over the top as if to cover mixture. Let this stand for about 40-45 minutes. There will be cracks on the flour surface at this point.
Make The Brioche Dough
- Add the sugar, salt, eggs and 1 cup of flour to the bowl with the yeast mixture. Using a dough hook, run the heavy duty mixer on low speed for about a minute until the mixture is just about incorporated. Add the remaining half cup of flour and run the mixer in medium speed. Continue to beat, scraping the bowl as needed, for about 15-20 minutes. You will know when the dough is ready if it is coming together in the center of the bowl, and also attaching itself into the dough hook. You should see the dough slapping the sides of the bowl, like it is almost violently throwing itself to the sides white it still clinging and rotating with the dough hook. You should also hear the slapping sounds. ( If you don't see the slapping action after ten minutes into the mixing , sprinkle about 2 -3 tbsp of flour to the bowl. Continue to beat until you reach the slapping stage , giving the dough a total of about 15-20 minutes in the mixer ).
- Now add the butter bit by bit. Make sure that the butter is in in room temperature, but not warm or oily. It should be pretty soft and malleable. It helps to enclose the butter inside a wax paper, press it down using your thumb or beat it with a rolling pin to give it a malleable consistency. When you add the butter, the dough will fall apart again for a moment. Continue to beat until you hear the slapping sounds again. This should take about 5 minutes or so. The dough is now , once again, clinging together in the center and in the dough hook with the slapping sound. Dough is sticky but shiny at this point.
FIRST AND SECOND RISE
- Place the ball of dough into a greased bowl and cover with a plastic wrap. Let stand in room temperature until the size is doubled, about 2 hours.
- After the dough has doubled in size, simply lift it in sections until you have gone around the entire circle of dough, lifting and then letting it fall back to the bowl ( like deflating it but very gently. Do not punch the dough down.) Cover the bowl again with a plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight. The dough will double in size again
MAKE THE CREAM CHEESE FILLING
- While the dough is rising, make the filling. In a large bowl, whisk together softened cream cheese and milk until the cream cheese is broken into soft little bits. Gradually add in the sugar while mixing until the mixture is smooth. Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons of lemon or kalamansi juice depending on how citrusy you want your filling to be. Refrigerate filling until ready to use. This filling is enough for the whole batch of brioche dough. Since we will be working on half the dough at a time, you can refrigerate the remaining half of the filling for up to three days until you are ready to use it with the other half of the dough.
ASSEMBLE AND BAKE
- We will be baking half of the batch at a time so divide the risen dough into two equal portions. Wrap the other half in plastic and refrigerate. Preheat oven to 350 F. On a floured surface, divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Using your palms, form various shapes with the dough then flatten them to about less than half of an inch. Lay them on a large baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Leave enough space in between each assembled dough to allow room for their rising. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and let rise for an hour in a warm place.
- When the dough has risen, preheat oven to 350 F. Using your fingers, create an indention in the middle of every risen dough so that you have a little well to put the filling in. Spoon the filling until every well in the center is filled up to the brim. Brush egg wash on the edges of the brioche dough. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the tops are lightly golden and a thermometer registers 200 F. Store leftovers in a covered container for up to 3 days at room temperature. You can microwave them for 10-12 seconds to warm them up. Repeat process for the remaining dough and filling.