Sunday, April 15, 2012

Goat Butter Brioche and Sticky Buns

I have a fascination with making things from goat’s milk.  There was a time if those words had been uttered in the same sentence I likely would have shuddered and made impolite facial expressions.  Goat cheese was definitely an acquired taste for me, but now I absolutely adore it and even make it on occasion.  Last year when I read an article about goat milk caramels being the darling of a Chicago food show, I immediately knew I had to figure out how to make them.  I did and they’re amazing.  I’ve used goat butter to make toffee.  That wasn’t my favorite, but I’m pretty sure I can improve it. 

mini loaves ready for proofing
Yesterday I started another batch of brioche, this version using goat butter.  This one is an adaptation of the recipe from Flour but using mostly goat butter and also replacing some of the water with evaporated goat milk.  I did use some regular unsalted butter because butter made from goat milk doesn't have the same fat content as that made with cow milk.  The addition of the evaporated goat milk was for additional richness in flavor to make up for the slightly reduced fat content. 

sticky buns swimming in "goo"
I would love to show the stages of how this gorgeous dough comes together but, yet again, I forgot to take my camera over to my baking kitchen.  Sometimes my forgetfulness makes me want two of everything so I don’t have to remember to cart things from one place to another.  (As Katie’s roommate told her about her excess pie crust:  first world problems” – meaning not truly problems at all.)  There is yet another brioche recipe I want to make, so I promise I will try harder to get photos of the dough coming together.

loaves after proofing

Half of the dough was used plain to try out my new mini loaf pan.  From the instructions that came with the pan, I had calculated that I should use about 50 grams of dough for each mini loaf.  That didn’t look like very much dough, so I used 80 grams instead and hoped for the best.  I had a few blow outs, but I think the short, chubby loaves are adorable.  Yes, I did just describe bread as “adorable”.  And I’m very pleased with the flavor.  It has the typical brioche texture with the subtle scent and flavor of the goat butter and milk.

loaves after baking

It took me awhile to decide what to do with the other half of the dough.  After some back and forth over several of the recipes in Flour using brioche, I decided on the Sticky, Sticky Buns.  This is the recipe in which Bobby Flay challenged Ms. Chang to a Throwdown.  She won the throwdown but, although I've not tried Chef Flay's recipe, I don’t think the sticky buns I made would fare as well. 

sticky buns before flipping
Obviously, the goat butter brioche gives them a different flavor, and I chose to use walnuts instead of pecans as I thought they would be a better pairing with the goat butter.  Brief consideration was given to making the sticky bun caramel (or “goo” as she calls it) with goat butter, but in the end, I decided not to go overboard. 

flipped sticky buns
The color is really off in this photo;
they actually look much better!

Don’t get me wrong, the sticky buns are good, but not great.  I think the caramel definitely could use some more salt to bring out the flavor.  It’s super sweet, but also sort of bland.  I used buckwheat honey, which is quite flavorful on its own, however, just seemed to get lost in the brown sugar.  The biggest regret I have about the sticky buns is not doubling the quantity of nuts.  There is absolutely no way to achieve results similar to the photo with the amount of nuts indicated in the recipe!  That’s certainly disappointing, but I’m sure it won’t prevent them from being eaten. 

In fact, I think I may go and get the other half of my sampled one right now.

Goat Butter Brioche
Adapted from Flour by Joanne Chang

2-1/4 cups (315 g) unbleached, all-purpose flour
2-1/4 cups (340 g) bread flour
3-1/4 tsp (11 g) active dry yeast (not instant)
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs (82 g) granulated sugar
1 Tbs (14 g) kosher salt
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs (90 g) cold water
2 Tbs (30 g) evaporated goat milk, cold
5 large eggs
1 cup (227 g) goat butter, room temperature, cut into eight cubes
6 Tbs (83 g) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into four cubes

Egg Wash
1 large egg
Pinch kosher salt
Pinch granulated sugar

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the flours, yeast, sugar, salt, water, evaporated goat milk and five of the eggs.  Mix on low speed for 3 – 4 minutes, until all of the ingredients come together.  Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl about halfway through.  Mix an additional 3 – 4 minutes after the dough has come together.  It will be rather stiff and seem somewhat dry.

Still on low speed, begin adding the butters one piece at a time.  Mix after each addition until the butter cube completely disappears into the dough.  This entire process may take up to 10 minutes.  Don’t rush it.  Once all of the butter has been worked in, continue mixing on low speed for 10 minutes to completely incorporate the butter into the dough.  Stop the mixer a couple of times to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Turn the mixer up to medium speed and continue mixing for another 15 minutes.  Be patient – the dough will look really shaggy at first.  Eventually, the dough will look soft and sticky, perhaps even shiny and then become smooth and silky.  Turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat for one minute.  By this time, the dough shouldn’t be sticking to the sides of the bowl at all and you should hear it slapping the bowl. 

Stop the mixer and grab a piece of dough with your finger tips and pull it gently.  It should stretch and have some give without being sticky or breaking.  If the dough is still wet and sticky, add flour a tablespoon of flour and mix until it comes together, repeating as necessary to get the smooth, silky dough.  If the dough breaks off when you pull it, mix on medium speed for another 2 – 3 minutes to develop more strength.  Ultimately, you should be able to pull the dough together and pick it up all in one piece.

Place the dough in a large bowl or plastic container and press plastic wrap directly onto the surface.  Refrigerate the dough for at least six hours or overnight.  (At this point the dough can also be tightly wrapped in plastic, placed in an airtight container and frozen for up to a week.  Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.)

To make brioche loaves, prepare two bread pans with buttered parchment and set aside.  Divide the dough in half.   Press each half into a 9” x 9” inch square.  Fold the dough into thirds like a letter.  Press lightly to seal the layers.  Place the dough seam side down into the prepared pans.  Cover the pans lightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot about four hours, or until the loaves are almost doubled in size.  When properly risen the top of the loaf should be rounded and even with the rim of the pan.

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F for at least 20 minutes.

Prepare the egg wash by beating the egg along with the pinch of salt and pinch of sugar.  Break up the white as much as possible.  Very gently brush the tops of the brioche with the egg wash.  (You’ll have a lot left over – just discard it.)

Bake the brioche for 35 – 45 minutes until the top and sides of the brioche are golden brown.  You can also check the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer.  The brioche should be 190°F.  Remove the pans to a rack and allow the brioche to cool in the pans for 30 minutes.  Remove the loaves from the pans and allow the brioche to cool completely on the rack.

The brioche can be kept tightly wrapped for three day at room temperature.  If for some odd reason you still have brioche after three days, use it for toast.  The cooled loaves can also be tightly wrapped and frozen for up to a month.


  1. Oh, first-world problems. I could go and on and about those, I think. But, if someone made me these, I would promise not to mention any for a few days. Those mini-brioche loaves are just adorable. I've never thought about baking with goat's milk or butter before (I've never even tried it actually), but you've got me curious.

    1. It's been an acquired taste for me, but now I'm sort of addicted. "How would that taste with goat butter/milk?" goes through my head nearly every time I read a recipe! I also like the butter on toast, but since it's nearly twice the cost of regular butter it's an occasional luxury.


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