Claire Saffitz's Brioche Twists with Coriander Sugar

October 14, 2020
2 Ratings
Photo by Alex Lau
  • Prep time 11 hours 30 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Makes 8 buns
Author Notes

Several recipes in this book call for a half quantity of Brioche Dough, so if perhaps you've made a full batch and you're looking for something to do with what's left, look no further. This is one of those unassuming recipes that might not have much of a glamor factor, but the flavor of the coriander sugar—simply a mix of demerara sugar and ground coriander seeds—is unexpectedly delicious. Coriander is usually used in savory recipes, but when combined with sugar it lends a lemony, flower perfume to baked goods that's reminiscent of chamomile. You can set these twists up in the evening, refrigerate them overnight, and bake them the next morning for a lightly sweet bun that's ideal for dunking in coffee.

Adapted slightly from Dessert Person. Copyright © 2020 by Claire Saffitz. Photographs copyright © 2020 by Alex Lau. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House.Food52

What You'll Need
  • Brioche twists with coriander sugar
  • 1/2 cup demerara sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/2 recipe Brioche Dough (recipe below), chilled
  • All-purpose flour, for rolling out
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 ounces/57 grams), melted
  • Brioche dough
  • 1/4 cup whole milk (2 ounces/57 grams)
  • For baking
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast (0.11 ounces/3 grams)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (18.3 ounces/520 grams), plus more for the surface and dusting
  • 1/4 cup sugar (1.8 ounces/50 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt (0.21 ounces/6 grams)
  • 6 large eggs (10.5 ounces/300 grams), at room temperature
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (8 ounces/227 grams), cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature **
  1. Brioche twists with coriander sugar
  2. Make the coriander sugar: In a small bowl, toss the demerara sugar, coriander, and salt to combine. Sprinkle onto a dinner plate and set aside for assembling the twists.
  3. Divide the dough and prepare the baking sheet: Divide the brioche dough into 8 equal pieces each weighing 2.25 ounces (64g); if you don’t have a scale, you can eyeball it. Place the pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover them with plastic wrap, and refrigerate to prevent the dough from softening (which will make it difficult to work with).
  4. Form the twists one at a time: Remove one piece of dough at a time from the refrigerator and roll it out on the work surface, applying a bit more pressure toward the center, until you have a rope about 10 inches long that’s a bit thicker at the ends and thinner toward the middle. In general, it’s easier to roll out the dough on an unfloured surface because the friction helps to stretch it, but add just the tiniest bit of flour if needed to prevent sticking. Working on a plate, use a pastry brush to coat the entire rope all over with melted butter, then roll the rope in the coriander sugar to coat completely. Grasping the rope in the center, twist the two ends once or twice around each other to form a keyhole. ***
  5. Place the twist back on the baking sheet in the refrigerator, tucking it underneath the plastic, and repeat the process with the remaining pieces of dough, melted butter, and coriander sugar. All the back-and-forth in and out of the fridge is to make sure all the twists proof at the same rate. At this point, the twists, covered on the baking sheet, can be refrigerated up to 12 hours.
  6. Proof the twists: Remove the twists from the refrigerator. Make sure they’re all evenly spaced on the baking sheet and let them sit at room temperature, covered, until the twists are puffed and the dough springs back when poked but holds a slight indentation, 55 to 65 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven: Meanwhile, arrange an oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 350°F.
  8. Bake: When the twists are proofed, remove the plastic wrap and bake until they’re golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let the twists cool on the baking sheet.
  9. DO AHEAD The baked twists, covered and stored at room temperature, will keep up to 3 days but are best eaten the day they’re made. **Substitute another spice for the coriander, such as ½ teaspoon ground cardamom, ½ teaspoon ground star anise, or 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. *** Form the rope of brioche into any shape you like, such as a simple knot or spiral. Whatever shape you choose, just don’t twist the dough too tightly so the brioche has some room to expand in the oven.
  1. Brioche dough
  2. Proof the yeast: In a small saucepan, gently warm the milk over low heat, swirling the pan, just until it’s lukewarm but not hot, about 105°F on an instant-read thermometer (you can do this in the microwave, too, but beware of overheating). Pour the milk into a small bowl and whisk in the yeast to dissolve. Set aside until the mixture is foamy, about 5 minutes.
  3. Combine the ingredients: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the yeast mixture, followed by the eggs.
  4. Mix the dough in a stand mixer: Set the bowl on the mixer and attach the dough hook. Mix on low speed until a shaggy dough forms, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and mix until a dough comes together around the hook. Continue to mix, scraping the dough from the hook occasionally, until the dough is very supple, soft, and cleanly pulls away from the sides of the bowl (it will still stick to the bottom), adding an additional tablespoon or two of flour if the dough continues to stick to the sides, 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. Work in the butter: With the mixer still on medium, add the butter one piece at a time, allowing each piece to fully incorporate into the dough before adding the next. Be patient, as working in all the butter can take about 15 minutes or more
  6. Let the dough rise once and chill: Gather the dough, which at this point will be extremely soft and supple, into a ball and lightly flour it all over. Place the dough inside a large bowl and take a photo so you have a point of comparison as it rises. Cover it with plastic wrap and let the dough sit at room temperature until it has nearly doubled in size, 1 to 1½ hours. ***
  7. Place the bowl in the refrigerator and chill for at least 8 hours and up to 24 (not only will refrigerating the dough make it firmer and easier to handle, it will improve the flavor as well). At this point, the dough is ready to be used in another recipe, or it can be formed into loaves and baked.
  8. VARIATION Mix the dough by hand: In a large bowl, combine the sugar, salt, and flour. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture and eggs. Stir with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead to bring it together into a single mass. Continue to knead until it becomes very sticky, then, using a bench scraper and your other hand, lift the dough off the surface and slap it back down again. Continue to lift and slap the dough, adding a tablespoon or two of flour to the surface if it continues to stick, until the dough is very soft, supple, and quite tacky but not sticky, 10 to 15 minutes. Place it on the work surface and smear one piece of the butter across the dough with your fingers. Continue using the same lifting and slapping motion until the butter is completely incorporated into the dough, then repeat with the remaining butter pieces, working them in one at a time, until the dough is soft, smooth, and supple (expect this to take upward of 15 minutes).

    DO AHEAD Following the first rise, the brioche dough can be refrigerated up to 24 hours (refrigerating it longer will lead to overproofing and should be avoided). The baked loaves, covered at room temperature, will keep up to 4 days but are best served on the first or second day.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

1 Review

Diane December 28, 2020
I love Claire, and I'm a Pastry Chef who can never leave well enough alone. So, I added a hefty amount of orange zest to the brioche dough (I adore the combination of coriander & orange!). The aromas in the kitchen were divine, and the twists were just amazing!!
MMM, they didn't last too long either!!