Brioche Doughnut help!


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Hi bakers! I would LOVE some advice. I am new to brioche baking and am trying to nail down my doughnut recipe, but I'm in need of help. I follow Bread Ahead's recipe and while the dough has the most beautiful flavor, I'm not getting the highest rise and sometimes feel like my doughnuts aren't as airy as I would like inside. After passing the window pane test, I stopped proofing on the counter for two hours and just put the dough directly into the fridge overnight. I find that 22-24 hours usually gives me the best flavor. I take the dough out, roll each doughnut and let them sit at room temp for about 1-2 hours until doubled in size. I fry at 350. They puff up beautifully when frying but a few seconds after I take them out, the centers completely shrivel up. You can see from the inside of my doughnut that it does get have a nice rise but my doughnuts appear flat and not brioche pillow like.. am I making any sense?! Sign-- help! lol
 

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Are you in the UK?

Bread Ahead is a British baking school. Their formulas are going to be formulated for British ingredients.

There is mark difference between ingredients by country.

When using a recipe from another country you need to know the standard for their ingredients, then make the conversion.

Examples:

British wheat is naturally very low in protein. Plain flour in UK has 9% protein which is the equivalent to pastry flour in the United States and Canada.

Bleached flour is banned in the European Union. Cake flour is bleached and has about 8% - 9% protein. Because the flour is bleached, it rises significantly more than unbleached flour. It also has a much finer crumb and is very white. So there is no authentic cake flour in the European Union.

American all purpose flour can be bleached or unbleached. Protein content can vary between 10% - 11.5%. That’s a significant difference. The unbleached flour with higher will produce a denser and heavier product. It’s good for drop cookies, rolls, quick breads, some soft breads. Is not suited for cake, pie crust, delicate cookies like shortbread.

Canadian flour is extremely high in protein; all purpose flour can’t be as high as 13%, The equivalent to bread flour in the US, and strong flour in the UK.

French flours are milled differently from other flours. I won’t get into the explanation but they’re very good flour for bread.

Eggs sizes are larger in the UK and European Union than the Canadian and the US egg grade system. So a large egg in UK and Europe is equivalent to a medium egg in Canada and the US.

The UK metric system and the US unit system are different. A “cup” of liquid in the US is 236 mL and 250 mL in UK.

Butterfat content is higher in butter in Europe than butter produced in the US and Canada. In the US you have to look for butter specifically marked European style, or check the butterfat content for 83%.
 
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Oh my goodness… can you tell I’m a new home baker? Lol Thank you so much for taking the time to explain all this too me. I would have never thought! I have been measuring in grams but I never considered ingredients to be different. Do you know of any bakers I could follow online or to look up to help me with brioche baking? My family loves the doughnuts and I’m trying to master them.
 
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I don’t follow anyone online. The vast majority of online “bakers” have no training. They copy all the incorrect information they see on other blogs and perpetuate the misinformation. That’s why they never mention DDT, proofing temperatures and humidity. They never mention protein and ash content of flour. They don’t know not to use flour to knead and just a pinch to roll dough. They don’t distinguish between sugar types because they know what the difference types of sugars are and why you would to do something like add an invert sugar or dextrose to a product. They don’t use baker’s percentages because they don’t understand baking is a chemical reaction.
Pretty much all the information online is incorrect.

If you want be a better home baker, buy AND READ through How Baking Works by Paula Figoni. It’s not a cookbook, but a book on basic ingredients and their role in baking.

Then buy a book like Advanced Bread and Pastry from the San Francisco Baking Institute. It’s a textbook for culinary students, so it’s not formatted like a cookbook. But after you learn the basics on ingredients functions, you will be ready to move on to practice application.

You simply cannot “master” baking while knowing absolutely nothing about the science of baking.

Example, you say you are using 12.5% protein flour. That means you are probably using King Arthur Flour. Which is the wrong flour for any doughnut.

I need to understand how flour is made.

The wheat kernel is divided into its parts: bran (14.5%), wheat germ (2.5%) , endosperm (83%). Each part is miled separately.

The endosperm is milled into two parts: the center is pure starch, and the outer which has some residue of the bran.

These separate millings (streams) are then blended to make various flours. The percentage of each stream in the blend determines the extraction rate. 100% extraction rate means 100% of the kennel is blended make the flour.


In blending flours the percentages of each stream )bran, germ, and endosperm flours) added to the blend are not the same as the original kennel. And different wheats are frequently blended to create flours with certain characteristics.

A flour with all the bran, endosperm and germ, is 100% extraction because it contains 100% of the extraction from the kennel. This is what the retail market calls whole wheat flour.

A flour with 73% extraction is an “all purpose” flour. So more endosperm flour and less bran and germ.

A “cake” flour with 45% extraction has almost no bran and germ.

Flour has treatments, bleached or unbleached. It can also have enzymes in the form of barley flour for better amylase and browning .

Traditional french flours are milled differently. The entire wheat colonel is milled, then desired amount of bran and germ is sifted out for various flour extractions. French flour is labeled T followed by a number:

T45, T55, T65, T70, T80, T110, T150

The T stands for Type and the number is the ash content. Ash is the amount of mineral content in the flour. The ash content comes from the soil and water. It Because bran has a notably higher ash content than endosperm, in other milling ash content is a way for the mill to gauge the consistency and level of bran removed from the endosperm. In French flour ash content is more or less used to determine how much bran and germ is in the flour.

The lower the T number, the less bran and germ in flour. But because the wheat kernel is milled whole, some of the germ and brand becomes embedded in the endosperm flour. The gives the flour a slightly higher protein content and different characteristics than flour mills by separating the wheat kernel. French flours are exceptional for breads.

Unbleached flour with higher protein of 12.7% is not ideal for pastry because of the higher bran and germ content makes a tougher chewier crumb. It also does not rise as well. When you add high sugar and fat to the dough, you further inhibit rise.

You can use an unbleached flour if you don’t want to use bleached. Central Milling Flours sells unbleached flours in various protein/ash contents.

You can also experiment by blending higher and lower protein flours.

I hesitate to get into a lot of discussion about doughnuts because I get bombarded with questions. So I’ve stopped answering doughnut questions. For some reason a lot of people open up donut shops, yet never learn how to make a doughnut.

 
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I completely understand not wanting to get into it too much. I stumbled on previous posts from you, so I get it :) Thank you for the book recommendations, I will purchase both and read through. I guess it's really true what my grandma always said, "cooking is from the heart but baking is all science." I REALLY appreciate you explaining all of this to me. I'm going to dig deeper, read these books and see how I can better my dough!
 
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I completely understand not wanting to get into it too much. I stumbled on previous posts from you, so I get it :) Thank you for the book recommendations, I will purchase both and read through. I guess it's really true what my grandma always said, "cooking is from the heart but baking is all science." I REALLY appreciate you explaining all of this to me. I'm going to dig deeper, read these books and see how I can better my dough!

you’ll do very well because you’re open to learning. And that’s what matters most. Too often people will ask for baking advice, but when you give it to them they reject it.


When you understand what the chemical reactions, you know how to control them to produce the results you want.

One recently asked about mixing raspberry into a mousse. One of the responses suggested piping raspberry purée side by side with the mousse. Sounds like a simple and logical approach. But raspberries are about 80% water; so the water will float on top of the mousse because of its high fat content. Not only will there be the unsightly liquid, but a separation of the two.

But the two can be layered if the raspberry purée is cooked down and mixed an gelatin mass made with pectin NH. The gelatin mass will absorb free water and allow the mousse and purée to adhere together. Pectin NH is a special pectin that is thermoreversible.

Don’t get me wrong technique comes into play in baking. But knowing how to mix, knead, ferment, and shape is of no use when you don’t understand the “chemicals” you are working with and why you are even mixing/kneading/fermenting/shaping the dough/batter.

I own three types of hammers and can drive a nail, but that doesn’t make me a carpenter.
 
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