BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

The Bread with a Heart of Cake

47 Comments

Had you read through the last post carefully, you may have noticed where I casually mentioned brioche croutons. Yes, such a detail could easily be overlooked, uninteresting as it sounds on the surface, but there is really much more to it than just a few token cubes of stale bread. Brioche is a baker’s best friend, capable of applying itself in so many dessert applications that I couldn’t begin to list them all; a true work horse of the pastry kitchen. Of course, such versatility comes at a hefty price- About half a dozen eggs and a half pound of butter, minimum, for traditional recipes.

Well, after avoiding this delicious dilemma for so long, I could no longer stand having such a gaping hole in my recipe box, and I decided it was high time to tackle this challenge.  After all, I’m no newbie with yeast, and how different could it be from any other bread?

When the first brioche à tête came out of the oven, well-browned and smelling amazing, I was ready to call it a day and make some serious french toast. Waiting impatiently until it was merely warm to the touch, the first slice revealed a soft, golden interior, locked within a flaky, buttery crust. Completely unlike any bread I had previously tasted, it was truly like a yeasted cake with a tender crumb. What fantastic luck, to have created vegan brioche so easily!

Oh, but then, it was that second slice that put the brakes on my rejoicing.  Cutting away closer to the center, it was not merely moist or somewhat under-baked, but the core of this rounded loaf was positively raw. Gooey beyond repair, and completely inedible. So much for my marvelous brioche.

Luckily, all was not lost and that’s not the end of the story.   I had taken out some extra insurance and baked a standard loaf alongside at the same time! Much to my relief, the loaf had no sad streaks to speak of, and was just as delicious. So while I may not have used a standard recipe or form for this brioche, what matters most is the taste, and let’s just say that this cake-like bread didn’t last the weekend!

Should you still want to make brioche à tête, you will need to modify this recipe by baking at a lower temperature for a longer time, but I can’t give you specifics on that just yet. If you attempt this, let me know how it goes!

Brioche

1/2 Cup Garbanzo Bean Flour
1 3/4 Cups Plain Soymilk
1 .6-Ounce Cake Fresh Yeast
4 Cups Bread Flour
1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Black Salt
1 Teaspoon Table Salt
1/4 Cup Plain Soy Creamer
1 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Cup Margarine, Cut into Small Cubes

Place the garbanzo bean flour in a medium saucepan and stir in a small amount of the soymilk to form a paste. Once smooth, add in the rest of the soymilk, and whisk thoroughly. Cook over medium heat for about 5 – 10 minutes, until bubbles begin to break on the surface and the mixture feels significantly thickened. Turn off the heat, and continue to whisk occasionally for the next 10 minutes to help it cool down without forming a skin on top. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the garbanzo mixture, and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes, until just barely warm to the touch.

In your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, crumble the cake of yeast into the flour, and mix briefly to incorporate all the pieces. Add in the sugar and salts, and mix once more. Once cooled enough that it won’t kill the yeast, (less than 120 degrees F) scrape the garbanzo and soymilk “pudding” in and begin to mix on low speed. Combine the soy creamer and vinegar together before introducing them to the main mixing bowl as well.

Once you have all of the dry and wet ingredients incorporated but the dough is still weak in structure, begin to add in the margarine, a few cubes at a time. They should get folded in to a point that you can’t see them any more, but be patient because it takes time. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes once it seems smooth.

After it has rested, dump the dough out onto a clean surface. DO NOT use extra flour here, despite how sticky the dough is. Simply use a bench scraper if you can’t get it off the counter. Kneed it briefly by hand, stretching and folding it to strengthen the structure, for about 10 minutes. Roll the dough into a ball, place it in a lightly greased bowl, and cover it lightly with a towel. Place it in the fridge and let it rise overnight, between 8 and 12 hours.

In the morning, cut the dough in half, and then cut each half into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball, and then place 3 balls all lined up evenly in a lightly greased 8 x 4 inch loaf pan. Repeat with the remaining dough. Cover with a towel again, and let the loaves rest in a warm place for around 2 1/2 hours, until doubled or tripled in volume. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees as your loaves near the end of their rising time, and lightly brush them with vegan egg wash. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until well-browned and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let the loaves rest in the pans for 5 minutes before turning them out onto wire racks to cool.

Makes 2 Loaves.

Printable Recipe

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Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

47 thoughts on “The Bread with a Heart of Cake

  1. How wonderful! I wanted to make brioches for ages, thank you for the recipe. Can you tell me how much a cake of yeast weighs in the US? Here in Germany it’s 42 gramms, which is 1.5 oz. Was yours of a similar weight?

  2. I am now convinced there is nothing you can’t do Hannah! Brioche, wow!

  3. Believe me, the brioche croutons didn’t go unnoticed to me! Thanks for taking the plunge to veganize this amazing French baked good. It’s something I miss!

  4. Indeed, I did notice the brioche croutons in your last post.

  5. Amazing Hannah! It looks so buttery and fluffy, just what a cake/bread should be like. =)

  6. Fantastic! I’ve never had actual brioche–but wish I’d seen this before I made my tofu scramble “on brioche” (I used biscuits instead!).

  7. It’s so hard to get odd shaped things to cook evenly. But as you said, it’s the taste that matters most and you have once again, succeeded! Great job, Hannah! It looks and sounds wonderful.

  8. Pity the bumby one was still raw, it looks perfect and delicious though. Your crumb looks wonderful!

  9. i’ve never had brioche, but i do know that breads made with garbanzo flour rule! unfortunately, i’ve never in my life seen a yeast cake or black salt. any ideas on how i could make this with regular yeast? or really…how many teaspoons of yeast is .6 ounces, i guess. i’d be willing to experiment with this on my own!

  10. It sounds and looks amazing!

  11. Amazing! I have never been successful baking with yeast, so I’ll leave this one to you Masters! :-)

  12. Sorry to hear it didn’t work out as planned. :( I HATE when that happens!

  13. Brioche is so hard to make,but your photo looks amazing!

    http://momgateway.blogspot.com

  14. I’m really impressed you even attempted to try this! I’ve been testing recipes for an upcoming vegan cookbook and it’s definitely not a walk in the park.

  15. OOO looks amazing! I love how you always miraculously veganizes rather complicated recipes and turn them into your own Hannah! I once went to a friends house and in the morning she offered brioche and white plain bagels for brunch. As I nibbled on a plain, cold bagel (She only had processed Jiff PB, cow’s milk buuter and same for creamcheese) she happily devored two slices of the fluffy, sweet, buttery brioche and I assumed (correctly) it contained smashed underdeveloped chicks in it, so I passed not even ever hearing of the french bread. Next time I have a brunch with her I’ll be sure to try this recipe, not even telling her it’s vegan until she “mmms!” every last crumb. Thanks! =)

  16. Is it possible to replace the fresh yeast with active yeast? If so, how much would I use?

    This bread looks amazing, and I really want to make it!!!

  17. Whoa Hannah, that is amazing! You are such a professional!

  18. I would have never dreamed of having vegan brioche. It’s just beautiful!

  19. Does toasting save the raw loaf?
    I have to say, your vegan brioche recipe is technically so interesting and impressive.

  20. Hello!
    This is my first time making a blog and I would like to become blog friends with you! Let’s be friends :)

  21. Whoooa, it’s lovely! I’ll have to try it sometime.

  22. You never fail to amaze me on what you can veganize. Thanks for sharing!

  23. Vegan brioche – I love it! I did wonder when I read your last post about the croutons, I think i read it and then thought; ‘Brioche croutons. Brioche croutons?’ But then, with my now infamous natural lack of curiosity, I figured you must have found some vegan brioche somewhere. Little did I know…

  24. Wow, yum! You’re awesome, Hannah. I’ll be trying this sometime… Soon, I hope!

  25. Too bad the first loaf didn’t bake all the way through. Both breads look beautiful though.

  26. Hannah-
    If you want to see my new blog, check out:

    http://littlemissvchic.blogspot.com/

  27. I had meant to ask about the brioche on your last post. This sounds divine! So many things to bake and so little time.

  28. I’m impressed!
    We have this brunch/lunch place in the east end of Toronto call Bonjour Brioche, and restaurant down the road a few blocks called Hello Toast (get it?). They both have a lovely ambiance, but sadly neither of them are all that vegan friendly if you desire more than a salad.

  29. I’ve been wanting to make Brioche for ages, and since you’ve done this fabulous legwork, now I can :) Looks so delicious. I love bread. And cake.

  30. Aw… this looks delicious, is the first time I am seeing your blog and it’s pretty cool, Thanks for the recipe.

  31. I have never made brioche before, but have always wanted to. My dilema, however, was that I could never come across a recipe that sounded wonderful. This one sounds amazing, and even has the reviews to back it up.

    I’m going to make one for my best vegan friend, Chandler, and see if she feels the same.

    Thanks:)

  32. Hi Hannah,

    I love following your blog. I was just wondering if you though this recipe could be used for Challah. I’m still trying to find the perfect recipe for a vegan version.

    Thanks!

    • I just tried this today, made shaped one loaf as instructed, and made one into a 4 stranded braid. The dough is much stickier than traditional challah dough, so I ended up stretching it into strands, rather than rolling them. It wasn’t the tallest loaf I’ve ever made, but it held up alright and tastes amazing!

  33. This looks so awesome!!! I just told my husband the other day that I was tired of cooking. It comes and goes in phases, I’m sure others will agree. I am looking around tonight to get the spark back, found your site through VegDaily.com and here I am THRILLED and excited to get cooking again. I’m not much of a baker, but I’ll give it a try for this crazy good looking recipe!!

    Thanks so much! I will let you know how it turns out. Keep in mind, my baking skills are not finely tuned:)

  34. Still meaning to try this. Did you use a volcanic salt (like the one in the link) or indian kala namak?

  35. what do you mean by cake yeast? are you using just regular bread yeast? do you know what that was in measuring spoon language? Thanks!!

  36. could you substitute all-purpose flour and/or whole wheat flour for the bread flour?

    • Since this recipe has such a high ratio of fat and thus not as much gluten overall compared to a normal loaf, I really wouldn’t recommend switching out any sort of flour for the bread flour. AP -might- work, but I haven’t tried it and can’t make any promises. Whole wheat would definitely not, it’s just much too heavy.

      • it works fine with all-purpose. my friends used AP b/c they had no idea what pastry/bread flour was. we had to bake it for about 35 minutes (maybe their oven was underheated), but it turned out fine for me when i put it in at 400 for 25 (with bread flour). and the taste isn’t too different. (though, i used veg shortening and they used vegan butter, if that makes a difference.)

  37. this is, without a doubt, the best brioche i’ve ever had. i accidentally used vegetable shortening instead of vegan margarine, so i’ll bet it’s even better with vegan butter/margarine, and i added too much flour…so it’s probably better than i expected.
    congrats on creating this! it’ll be really useful in the future.
    a few questions: do you know how it changes with different types of flour substituted for the garbanzo bean flour? and what took the place of the eggs?

    • What a huge compliment- Thank you! I’m thrilled you enjoyed it so much. :)

      Since I never learned to bake with eggs, I don’t really try to “replace” them, but work around them. Since eggs would primarily add fat in this bread, I increased the total amount of fat, and used some garbanzo flour for added tenderness. If you wanted to substitute for the garbanzo flour, most other bean flours could work, such as fava bean flour or soy flour. Just make sure that if you go with soy, it isn’t defatted.

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