Where to start, da dove cominciare?
A few weeks ago I realized I had never made a sourdough brioche, and I felt compelled to learn this difficult art. Cause a sourdough bread that can hold that amount of eggs and butter is a true miracle. A brioche has generally something like a 50% eggs. C’mon, doesn’t it sound completely nuts? And it also contains about 20% butter. Now, I know for a fact that shortening and gluten don’t exactly go together well (unlike ebony and ivory). And, yet, a properly made brioche is so light and so perfectly risen that seems to defeat gravity. This is why I had to do it, no time to fool around it anymore.
Just while I was thinking all that, I see a yeast-based Italian-style brioche from bread master Nuccio Gatto. The recipe was new and he hadn’t yet published on his blog, so he was so nice to give it to me in private. Now you can find a variation of it here. Italian brioche dough generally uses milk instead of water, and Nuccio’s variant is unique because it uses soia milk instead of regular milk. This has nothing to do with food preferences… as Nuccio taught me, soia milk does something good to the dough, so to me it is definitely a keeper in this type of preparation.
When I made my first sourdough brioche modifying Nuccio’s recipe I remember telling Nuccio “but panettone is just a big brioche!”. Indeed… yeast-based Italian brioche is the base for panettone, which differs from it in two main aspects: panettone is based on natural leaven and has much longer (brioche is made in a few hours, panettone in a few days). Moreover, Panettone dough has two builds, which is also time consuming, while brioche has only one build. My brilliant (please allow me) idea was to make a quick panettone with just one build, by playing around with brioche dough. So I took Nuccio’s formula, which used baker’s yeast, and I rescaled everything to adapt it to what I know perfoms best for long and slow fermentations: a young, very liquid, levain. I also substituted unsweetened soy milk to the regular type, added more butter and more sugar, little more egg and improvised an orange chocolate filling. Regarding the method, it is totally my own, and derives from what I have learned so far about bread. So don’t blame Nuccio for imprecisions in the method, blame me.
I was very happy with the result and the good news is that this panetton brioche (as I called it) can be made during a regular working week, as long as on day 2 you are gone for no more than, let’s say, 5 hours. RICETTA ANCHE IN ITALIANO.