Braided Brioche for King Cake

I have been trying to perfect John Besh's king cake recipe, which is similar to Randazzo's King Cakes in New Orleans (if you know your king cakes). After many questions to my pasty chef friends, I am still having a couple of problems. I think I am proofing the dough property but there seems to be stretch marks in the dough when I create the ropes for braiding. Also, once cooked the dough is rather hard on the outside. I've never made other types of brioche before but Randazzo's cakes are soft on the outside. I am baking until the cake reaches 200, which can take a while because the cake is pretty thick with the braids. (side note: I also cant get the braids to stretch as much as I'd like in order to look like professional king cakes). I've sold several king cakes I need to make this week and am stressing out that they're going to be too hard to mask with cream cheese icing.

Emily Harrington


ChefJune February 5, 2018
Hmmm wondering why you're braiding it? I've never braided one been teaching NOLA cuisine for 30+ years - and have never seen a braided one. It looks like it's ver thick through, and might cause problems with baking through consistency. I do use a rich brioche dough, but I bake it in a round pan with a hole in the middle to get the shape I'm after.
Emily H. February 5, 2018
*shrug* I'm from Louisiana and our king cakes are always either braided (2 or 3 ropes) or rolled, depending on the recipe. The braided ones usually have cinnamon, nutmeg, and citrus zest in the dough. I think I might need to try and stretch it out more to make a larger circle with thinner braids.
Nancy February 5, 2018
Larger volume bakers sometimes use ingredients and machines that are not available to home or small business bakers. I wonder if that could be a factor here.
Also, I'm confused. The John Besh king cake recipe I found uses a square loaf not a braided one.
Emily H. February 5, 2018
Hmmm, I'm not sure. My mixer seems to be handling the dough fine, as long as I don't try to double the batch.
Here is the recipe I'm using:
Emily H. February 5, 2018
Here is a picture of a Randazzo's king cake.
Emily H. February 5, 2018
Here is a picture of my braided dough before baking.
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