I often make brioche dough on Friday, bake it fresh for Saturday breakfast, and turn the leftovers into some kind of bread pudding on Sunday – very little fuss, really, and a lot of appreciation from the family.

The brioche recipe I use these days (and I’m not looking for another) is an Alice Medrich’s adaptation of Desiré Valentin brioche, the best bread I’ve had. The brilliant idea of the chocolate banana jam belongs to the local genii – Dominique and Cindy Duby. It can perfectly replace Nutella for those who can’t eat nuts.

Makes two 8×4-inch brioche loaves and about 29 oz (700g) jam

For the chocolate banana jam:

  • 4 medium-sized ripe bananas, peeled and mushed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom, toasted
  • 3.6 oz (100g) 70% dark chocolate finely chopped

For the brioche:

  • 3 cups (15 oz) bread flour
  • 20 tbsp (2 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, cold
  • 2 ½ tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup warm water (105 to 115 F)
  • 5 eggs, cold
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 egg + 1 tsp water, beaten lightly, for egg wash

Make the chocolate banana jam:

Combine the bananas, sugar, orange juice, and cardamom in a heavy tall stainless steel saucepan and cook on medium heat, stirring, for about 5-8 minutes. Take off the heat, stir in the chopped chocolate. Puree with an immersion blender until the mixture is smooth. Transfer the jam into a clean container fitted with a lid and store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Make the brioche:

Spread the flour in a wide baking pan. Freeze at least 30 minutes or until needed.
Using the paddle attachment of a heavy-duty mixer, beat the cold butter only until creamy, smooth, and free of lumps when pinched between your fingers. Scrape the butter into a mound on parchment paper and refrigerate. Proceed with the recipe right away; a long delay will reharden the butter.

Dissolve the yeast and 1 tsp of sugar in the warm water. Pour the dissolved yeast in the mixer bowl. Attach the dough hook. Add the remaining 1/3 cup sugar, eggs, salt, and the flour and mix until blended. Knead the dough on medium speed for 5 minutes. After kneading period the dough will be very soft, sticky, and elastic. It will all be wrapped around the dough hook. Add the cold creamed butter in several pieces, pushing it into the dough, and beat with the hook until thoroughly incorporated. Stop several times to scrape the dough from the bowl and hook. Scrape the dough into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Up to 24 hours later, butter two medium-sized loaf pans. Scrape the cold dough out onto a floured surface. Divide into 20 more or less equal portions, about 2 oz each. Form each portion into a small ball and arrange 10 balls on the bottom of each loaf pan (2 rows of 5 balls). Spray with oil, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and place into a warm place to proof, for about 2 hours or until almost doubled.

Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 350F. Brush the egg wash gently over the top of each loaf, taking care not to get it onto the pans. Bake the brioches until deeply brown, or an instant-read thermometer reads 200F when inserted in the center of the bread, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool slightly, unmold, cool on the rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.