When I was a little girl, my parents very graciously allowed me to bake in our kitchen without recipes or instruction. In fact, my very first attempts at recipe-less baking took place at around age six, and, as you can imagine, there were a few failures. On one occasion, though, something magical and unexpected happened. What could have been an unmitigated disaster of thrown together random quantities of ingredients resulted in something that earned the hearty praise of my parents. It wasn’t the cake I had anticipated, but as my parents tasted and appraised my creation, I heard the exotic word “brioche” for the first time. I didn’t know what brioche was, but I knew that it was good. Many years later, in pastry school, I was taught a delightful egg- and butter-filled traditional version. And now, in a full circle kind of way, I have taken experimental liberties yet again—the result being a rich yet light vegan version of a bread that makes the perfect breakfast companion. My vegan husband adores these buns just as they are. I enjoy them served with nut butters and dairy-free spreads.
Coconut Butter Brioche [Vegan]
- 1/4 cup (50 g) coconut butter, well stirred and at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup oat or nut milk
- 1-3 tablespoons oat, coconut or soy yogurt, divided
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (14 g) coconut sugar
- 3/4 ounces fresh, refrigerated yeast for sweet dough
- 2 cups (320 g) organic all purpose flour, completely packed and leveled
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon (9 g) coconut sugar
- 2 teaspoons freshly boiled water
- In asmall saucepan, gently melt the coconut butter. Add the oil, milk, 1 tablespoon yogurt and sugar, then let the mix cool to a finger-warm temperature. Stir in the yeast until it dissolves.
- Add the carefully measured flour and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. Pour the milk mixture and begin combining the ingredients with a dough hook on low speed. Once the flour is mostly incorporated, check to see if the mix is moist enough. The mix should come together to produce a smooth, elastic and moist dough. Add a tablespoon of yogurt if needed.
- Adjust the speed on your stand mixer to medium and allow the dough to be kneaded for 5 minutes. If doing this process without a stand mixer, knead the dough by hand for 10 minutes.
- Form the dough into a rough ball and place it back in the bowl. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and allow the dough to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size. Line a 9-inch springform pan for round rolls or square pan for square rolls with parchment paper.
- After the dough has doubled, punch it down, then shape it into a log and divide it into 9 pieces of equal weight. Shape each dough piece into a ball and place them into the lined pan. Cover the pan with a clean tea towel and allow the buns to proof for 40 minutes, around the end of which time you can preheat the oven to 340°F convection or 350°F non-convection.
- Bake the buns for about 18 minutes or until golden brown on the surface and baked through. While the buns are baking, prepare a glaze by combining the coconut sugar and freshly boiled water in a small bowl.
- Remove the baked buns from the oven and brush with the glaze. Release the springform mechanism on the baking pan and transfer the buns carefully to a wire rack. Allow the buns to cool slightly before serving.