Other people’s recipes: Joanne Chang’s brioche au chocolat

Having made Joanne Chang’s brioche dough a couple of weekends ago, I was faced with the enviable task of deciding what to do with the second half-batch. Between her two cookbooks (Flour and Flour, too) she gives half a dozen different possibilities, all of which look tasty — plus of course there’s always the possibility of making another loaf of plain brioche. But I still had a third of the original loaf in the freezer (tsk, I know) so I didn’t want to make any more of that. So last weekend I decided to make brioche au chocolat (Flour, p. 78) — not quite as calorific as sticky buns (half the calories, in fact), but more interesting than the even less caloric sugar-and-spice buns. (The great thing is that the brioche dough is dead simple to make, so I could go back and do either of those things later if I wanted. Or I could step out on my own and try to duplicate the Iggy’s pepper brioche hamburger buns that I like so much.)

The process starts out by making a standard pastry cream (milk, eggs, sugar, flour, and vanilla). That mostly takes place over the stovetop and there are no interesting pictures. The custard is then squeezed through a fine-mesh sieve (I have no idea why, it was a lot of work and didn’t seem to do anything useful) and cooled in the refrigerator overnight while the frozen brioche dough thaws. I thought I didn’t get nearly the two cups the recipe is said to make; perhaps I overcooked the pastry cream. The next day, the brioche gets rolled out into a rectangle, and the pastry cream is spread all over:

Pastry cream on brioche

The brioche is rolled out to a 10″×20″ rectangle (or nearly so) and the entire batch of pastry cream is spread on top using an offset spatula.

I took some TCHO 66% dark chocolate discs and roughly chopped them to make the chocolat part of the brioche au chocolat. The chocolate was spread (not quite as evenly as I would have liked) over the pastry cream, and then the brioche was folded over to enclose the pastry. Apparently I didn’t do a very good job of rolling out the brioche dough, as it was clearly much thicker at one end than at the other, which left the finished product a bit uneven.

Ready to slice

After spreading the chocolate on top of the pastry cream, the rectangle is folded in half lengthwise and sliced into individual pastries using a bench scraper.

So, uh, as I mentioned before, I can’t cut anything straight without a guide. These are the ten individual brioches au chocolat sitting on the baking pan and ready to bench-proof. Since it was so warm in my kitchen I just covered them with a sheet of plastic wrap and let them proof where they sat.
Formed and ready to proof

After leaving the brioches to proof for a couple of hours, I gave them a quick egg wash and stuck them in the oven. The recipe said to bake for 35 to 45 minutes, but to my eyes (and by my probe thermometer) they were done after only 30 minutes — I suppose my oven is a bit on the hot side — and I took them out:

Finished brioches au chocolat

After only 30 minutes in the oven (five minutes less than the recipe called for), the brioches au chocolat were done.

Of course, I let them cool for half an hour — then ate the misshapen (and underfilled) one!

Brioche au chocolat (cross-section)

I wasn’t supposed to have two brioches at all, never mind so late in the day, but I couldn’t resist stacking a nice one up on a plate for the beauty shot. Look at all that chocolate!


Well, this is certainly not the healthiest thing you can eat — and I can’t imagine having it for breakfast even if I was the sort of person who eats breakfast. But they are tasty, and sweet, and chocolatey — certainly on par taste-wise and calorie-wise with many popular desserts. Just don’t have them at every meal!

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 pastry
Servings per container: 10
Amount per serving
Calories 425 Calories from fat 183
% Daily Value
Total Fat 20g 31%
 Saturated Fat 12g 60%
 Monounsaturated Fat 1g
 Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 187mg 62%
Sodium 298mg 12%
Potassium 91mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 49g 16%
 Dietary fiber 1g 3%
 Sugars 20g
Proteins 10g 20%
Vitamin A 14%
Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 6%
Iron 15%
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1 Response to Other people’s recipes: Joanne Chang’s brioche au chocolat

  1. Linda Julien says:

    It was quite excellent.

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