Brioche, Burnt Milk Ice Cream and a Decadent Breakfast

In my family, we are known to indulge on breakfast once in a while. My grandfather was a man who enjoyed food. He liked to eat and he liked those around him to eat well. Because in the bakery work started around 4am, by the time doors opened around 9am and us children would go in, there were always eggs cooking, cheese, anchovies and so on. Worked stopped for a few minutes to enjoy a big breakfast in peace with a little cafe con leche and maybe a quick glance at the morning newspaper. I also clearly remember Christmas morning with cream cake and champagne. So big and sweet breakfasts are a tradition I have inherited.

During this last trip home, we drove all the way to San Sebastian partly to visit Galparsoro Okindegia. This little bakery located in the Parte Vieja (Old Town) has quickly become the most popular bread bakery in the Basque Country, supplying bread to all the Michelin Star restaurants such as Mugaritz, Martin Berasategui and more. They are known for their organic bread, but it was the brioche that stole my heart. It was buttery, tender, pulled away like a feather. Unreal.

It is moments like these when I am really inspired to create a dessert. I immediately thought of tostadas de pan (pain perdu or French Toast) with cinnamon and vanilla and paired with a burnt milk ice cream. This might sound like an unusual ice cream but it really represents very well the smells of a pastry kitchen. Slightly burnt and caramelized milk. It is unforgettable.

I have made brioche many times before and it is a favorite in my household. I have found that although most recipes tend to have the same ratio of ingredients, the procedures are often times different and in some cases elaborate. I am always intrigued by technique, so I set out to try a new recipe for brioche that I had not tried before. This time out of Rose Levy Beranbaum’s “The Bread Bible”.

The burnt milk ice cream is very light and it never really thickened much in the ice cream machine but once frozen, it was very, very silky. I suppose it resembles more a gelato than an ice cream since it contains mostly whole milk and just a small amount of heavy cream.

Basic Brioche

adapted from “The Bread Bible”

This dough takes between 24 and 48 hours to complete so have this in mind before starting. You will need a baking pan that is about 8″x4″.

Dough Starter

30 grams water, at room temperature
13 grams sugar
1/4 tsp instant yeast
70 grams unbleached all purpose flour
1 large egg

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whip this mixture with a whisk by hand for about 3 minutes until a thick batter forms. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap while getting the following ingredients ready.

Flour Mixture

155 grams unbleached all purpose flour
25 grams sugar
4 grams instant yeast
3 grams salt
2 large eggs, cold
113 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature (very soft)

In a bowl, whisk the flour, sugar and instant yeast. Add the salt and mix. Sprinkle this flour mixture on top of the dough starter that is already in the mixer bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let this ferment at room temperature for about 1 1/2-2 hours. The dough starter might bubble in between the flour mixture and this is fine.

After this period of fermentation, transfer the bowl to the mixer. Add the 2 cold eggs and mix the dough with the dough hook for a couple of minutes in low speed until ingredients are well combined. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl. Mix in medium to high speed for another 5 minutes until dough is silky.

Add the soft butter one tablespoon at a time and wait until the butter has been absorbed by the dough before adding the next tablespoon. The dough will be very sticky but don’t add any flour.

Transfer the dough to a clean bowl that has been slightly greased. Cover with plastic wrap and let it ferment at room temperature for another 1 1/2-2 hours.

After this time, refrigerate the dough for an hour. Deflate the dough with a spatula and mix slightly. Cover the bowl again with plastic wrap and let it sit in the refrigerator for another hour.

Remove bowl from refrigerator and transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Deflate the dough with your hands and form a rectangle. The size of the rectangle doesn’t really matter. Give it a letter fold. Turn the dough 90 degrees and give it another letter fold. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and insert it in a large freezer bag. Refrigerate the dough for at least 6 hours or up to 2 days.

Remove dough from refrigerator. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and form a rectangle that is about 8″x5″. Roll the dough forming a log. Seal the ends tightly with the palms of your hands. Place the dough in a lightly greased rectangular mold (8″x4″) seam side down. Cover with plastic wrap and let it ferment for another 2 hours at room temperature.

Have the oven preheated to 350F for about 30 minutes prior to baking the brioche. When dough has doubled in size and has reached the top of the mold, brush with an egg glaze made with yolk and heavy cream. Cut the top of the dough with a sharp knife leaving about an inch on each side.

Bake in the preheated oven in a lower rack for approximately 35 minutes.

Burnt Milk Ice Cream

adapted from “Frozen Desserts”

900 grams whole milk
70 grams heavy cream
160 grams sugar
70 grams egg yolks

In a pan with tall sides, heat the whole milk with a quarter of the sugar in medium to high heat. The milk will start to stick to the bottom of the pan and may bubble up. This is fine and will give the milk its distinct flavor. If the milk starts to bubble over the pan, remove from heat and let the bubbles deflate. When it starts to smell like burnt milk, remove from heat and measure out 750 grams of the liquid.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the yolks, remaining sugar and heavy cream. Temper the hot milk into the base and whisk. Transfer the custard to a medium size pan and cook to 82C. Because there is not as much fat as in a creme anglaise, the custard will never really thicken or achieve the “nappe” so go by temperature.

Strain through a fine sieve into a clean bowl and chill in an ice bath. Refrigerate overnight and churn in ice cream machine.

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72 Responses to “Brioche, Burnt Milk Ice Cream and a Decadent Breakfast”

  1. nadia says:

    I look at these pictures and read the recipes and without a doubt i would leap out of bed for a taste of this brioche-so perfectly wrapped and burnt milk just the sound of it brings back memories of my child hood and my father at the stove warming mild before bed, but then i only you could make it into ice cream securing sweet dreams..

    aran i love these recipes the best- they make dream of
    farm tables, pastures, children, fire, wool and stories..

  2. morgana says:

    Todo tiene un aspecto perfectamente delicioso pero sin duda lo que más me intriga es el helado… No puedo imaginarme a qué sabrá.

  3. Vanille says:

    Coincidence, I was preparing a post about breakfast too…
    Everything look heavenly good !

  4. Christy says:

    Oh Aran!! It’s uncanny that you posted this recipe right when I was thinking about making brioche for my day off tomorrow!! Now I’ll know which recipe to use!!

    And with the burnt milk ice cream, I tried making a batch of peanut butter ice cream the other day with all milk and no cream. I was churning it for waaay longer in my ice cream machine than other cream-based ice cream recipe because it doesn’t thicken the same way. Now I’m thinking that I might’ve overchurned it..My ice cream was a bit icy when It froze up, but I initially attributed that to it having no cream. Now I’m not so sure.What should it look like after churning?

    Oh, and once again I wish I grew up in a family of bakers somewhere in the Basque country!

  5. Milly says:

    That looks just fantastic. I love The Bread Bible… I must say I am deeply, fundamentally jealous of the prospect of waking up to that as breakfast. But in a good way.

  6. Me encanta todo, pero sobretodo la idea de tener helado para el desayuno!

  7. Astrid says:

    Oh my. This looks divine, perfectly luxurious in its simplicity.

    Were you happy with this recipe for brioche? And do you have a trick for cleaning your pot after you burn the milk?! (-;

  8. linda says:

    I wouldn’t say no to this breakfast :) Just lovely.

  9. Aran says:

    Thanks everyone!

    Astrud- the recipe was good. it was a super super soft dough so i was getting really excited. the outcome was great but not as light as i was hoping for. but then, it was perfect for pain perdu.

    For the pot what I do is a fill it half way with water and boil it for a few minutes to soften the bottom. Works!

    Christy- I had the same problem of not knowing how far to churn. My home ice cream machine always forms more ice crystals in any ice cream (cream or not) than the commercial kind. So what I did is follow the time it normally takes to churn other ice creams (about 20 minutes) and removed it then. It froze hard but I was surprised to see how smooth it was when I scooped it.

    Growing up with bakers was super sweet!

  10. FeeMail says:

    this burnt milc icecream sounds so delicious, i’m not able to do my work properly now any more!!!

  11. nicisme says:

    Ice cream for breakfast? Bring it ON!!

  12. ChichaJo says:

    A post after my own heart! I love to love breakfast and this one would definitely rank on top! How I would love to wake up to this :)

  13. keira says:

    Aran, Your desserts always look splendid!! I adore eating breakfast anytime of day. I was wondering what ice cream machine you use, do you have a favorite brand?

  14. Aran says:

    Keira- I use a Cuisinart ice cream machine.
    It is not bad but compared to the commercial ice cream machine I used at work, it feels like a toy. But it works for home because it is easy to store although the bowl must be frozen 24 hours in advance so you always have to plan ahead and can only make one batch at a time.

  15. keira says:

    I was able to borrow a Cuisinart ice cream machine that had a compressor from my job so I could bake at home and be with my new little baby boy, but I had to return it, now I am spoiled!!Thanks for the advice!

  16. Beautiful! So what’s the verdict on Berenbaum’s recipe?? How does it compare to the others you’ve tried?

  17. Serena says:

    Oh awesome! I should try the brioche soon. Pain perdu ftw. I’m a little intimidated, though. Yeasted breads are not my forte, so to speak. But you used instant yeast so that makes it better. Whenever I use the fresh one I’m always, always afraid I’ll mess it up somehow! *headdesk*

    Beautiful pics, as usual! *g*

  18. Eileen says:

    Lovely, lovely presentation. Did you like this brioche recipe more than the others you have made?

  19. wow what a nice presentation. The photos are amazing and the food in them even more so. This would be the ideal breakfast for me :)

  20. PheMom says:

    Gorgeous as always Aran! I too am a big fan of the indulgent breakfast, it just seems like such a beautiful way to start the day! I’m sure this one was amazing!

  21. Aran says:

    So the verdict? It was great. Buttery, golden… But I still need to try another recipe to see if I can get closer to the super light brioche I had in San Sebastian. But yes, this one was great and worked very well for the brioche since it had “body”. All that butter… hmm…. :)

  22. thank you for the photo compliment :)

    ahhh your french toast looks perfect! ahk! i cant eat it, but i can the ice cream, and its burt too! hooray for burnt! what a good word. breakfast is undoubtedly my favorite meal of the day. favorite breakfast–cottage cheese.

  23. Alexa says:

    Your brioche looks so delectable. I made GF brioche but it came out heavy as a brick… not so good. I’ll keep on trying and then perhaps I can enjoy such a glorious breakfast.

  24. veron says:

    this sounds wonderful for breakfast. I love brioche because it tastes almost like the ensaymadas back home.

  25. Claudia says:

    So you mentioned decadent?

    This is exactly the opposite of decadent lady! It is trendy and delicious. My favorite breakfast has to have brioche but my recipe is really ‘decadent'(500 grams of butter and 12 eggs for 1kg flour)

    You French toast looks amazing!

    Boa semana,


  26. Really beautiful. Superb breakfast.

  27. Sophie says:

    I love leche quemada; this is a beautiful treat :).

  28. Mobula says:

    Que delicia de desayuno, aunque la verdad desayunar helado me parece toda una extravagancia… pero me apunto!!!

    El brioche, me imagino su sabor, con toda esa mantequilla y me ha sorprendido que en la masa madre llevase huevo. Creo que lo voy a probar de inmediato.

    Por la máquina de helados, seguiré suspirando, he visto en el enlace que pusiste la de Cuisinart y para casa creo que estará muy bien. La pena es que a las islas no la mandan… Saboreao el helado que parece sabrosísimo.

    Y los cuenquitos??? Que monada…Me harían falta unos cuantos de éstos…



  29. The brioche looks so good. I have not baked one myself.. but I now am tempting to bake!

  30. Cakespy says:

    Mos’ def my kind of breakfast! Yours does indeed sound unforgettable.

  31. Mrs.French says:

    oh my…I love these posts of the these that also let us into your childhood memories…it helps me to taste everything you post…I am not all that fantastic in the kitchen, so my daydreams and imagination are all I have…thank you for the help…xo t

  32. heidi says:

    painfully delicious & delectable.

  33. cindy* says:

    beautiful aran! i have been thinking about making brioche for some caramel-pecan rolls.

    what fond memories the smells must have evoked…it is amazing how nostalgic scents can be. as always, pretty and inspiring.

  34. Thank you for such an inspiring post; your combination of photos and stories make me so happy! I’m dreaming about having this for my next breakfast, with a big cup of strong coffee…

  35. Latifa says:

    Indulgence indeed!…
    like always, lovly posts and delicious photos.
    Brioche, is the only bread i would like to master because it’s my family favourit. but you have’nt mentioned if you like the taste of this recipe or not?

  36. Simone says:

    Aran, I i tagged you on my blog- hope you will participate! x

  37. la rechula says:

    madre mía!!! qué descubrimiento de blog!!! estoy que flipo! sin pedirte permiso, te hago link ya en mi blog.Si no me aclaro con las recetas te las puedo pedir (alguna) en castellano? enhorabuena por todo! las fotos, los postres, las recetas, la imagen…

  38. such a beautiful memory and lovely lovely photos. food really is so powerful–so many of our memories tied up with ideas surrounding food…and you always describe the idea of this so well—thank you always for taking us back in your memories.
    p.s. i would walk to Florida to eat that.

  39. This sounds incredible. What an indulgent but incredible breakfast or dessert. That bakery you visited sounds amazing.

  40. Liska says:

    This sounds and looks gorgeous (like all your desserts). I wish I could eat such a wonderful breakfast.
    You are a wonderful inspiration to anyone who likes to bake and make sweets. Thank you for that. I’ve learnt from you a lot.

  41. What a dreamy breakfast! Brioche has to be one of my favorite indulgences too and in this post you make it even more delicious looking…

  42. Jason says:

    Looks AMAZING! I’ll have to try this recipe soon!

    One concern: in the written directions, it doesn’t say when to add the salt? To quote some Margaritaville: “Where’s the salt? Where’s $%^&*( salt?”

  43. Aran says:

    Oops! Sorry Jason! I had written “add the yeast and mix” instead of “add the salt and mix”. that would have been adding the yeast twice! i fixed it. thanks for noticing that!

  44. Buff…menudo nivelón!!! No tengo ni pajolera idea de ingles…asi que no me entero mucho…
    Que pinta tiene todo!!!
    Sorprendente la Mousse de chocolate y pistachos…
    La presentacion me encanta y las fotos…lo dicen todo.

  45. leaca says:

    Oh my goodness, that looks sinful. Yum!

  46. Y says:

    I have to admit, I have been tempted in the past to try this recipe, but now that I have an ultimate brioche recipe, I can’t seem to bring myself to try any other. Mine also has obscene amounts of butter in it, and it’s so good, in a sinful way!

    Your post reminded me of the way my family would go out for an indulgent breakfast every Sunday on the way to the markets, as a treat. Everyone would order their usual favourites, and I still love the memory of those Sundays…

  47. Aran, felicidades por tu entrevista en creature comforts!! No sabía que hacía tan poco tiempo que hacias estas fotografias tan maravillosas dignas de publicar en un libro!!;)

  48. la rechula says:

    Kaixo! ya estoy pidiendo y acabo de encontrarte… me gustaría hacer unas galletas integrales con frutos secos y sin azucar (sustituir por fructosa) Alguna idea? en castellano. plis… sea cual sea la respuesta, gracias!!!

  49. I nominate your blog for the I LOVE YOUR BLOG award.

    I love poppin’ in & out your blog for the wonderfully delicious recipes you post.
    Keep of the great work & I’ll keep coming back!!

    link back to me:

    click link to read how to pass on the sweetness.

  50. Miss Kate says:

    Oh, how heavenly! I am equally enchanted with both your recipes and your presentation. I can’t wait to make that brioche.

    Also, I would love to see a post on how you present the foods you make so artfully. For example, that brioche looks beautiful in its brown paper and its string wrapping. I’d like to see your other ideas.


  51. I just came across your blog through Creature Comfort, and I’m absolutely in love with it. I love your photos and your stories. So exquisite taste!

  52. Aran says:

    Miss Kate- I get that a lot so I should write something one of these days. but you know, it don’t usually have an strategy for styling. I just do what comes natural. i couldn’t really tell you why I wrapped the brioche like that other than I love packages that are folded that way! Thank you!

  53. Aran,

    Que bonitas las cajas que te ha hecho Suann!!!!

    Que pequeño es el mundo

  54. Amazing work, and incredible photography. This is my first visit (I think), and will be back for more.

  55. Lizzie says:

    I saw your little interview over at Creature Comforts and when I read that you light all of you photo’s with natural light, it completely blew me away! Phenomenal! And your food doesn’t look half bad either ;)

  56. This is just beautiful. But of course that’s no surprise, everything you make is.

  57. AAAAHHHHhhhhhhh, this looks and sounds so fantastic. Simple but so full of flavor. I really love brioche because it’s so versatile and this ice cream sounds absolutely wonderful. You never cease to amaze me!

  58. corine says:

    Oh-my-god. You are some kind of angel, I’m sure of it now.

  59. Jude says:

    I have to admit I never indulge on breakfast — I tend to keep it light. This is really starting to change my mind, though.

  60. Brioche is my all time favourite. Those pictures are good enough to eat!

  61. Inne says:

    When can I come over for breakfast?
    I’ve never tried burnt milk ice cream but it sounds absolutely delicious.

  62. Tea says:

    Hey, that’s a dessert from my Chef Migoya!! It looks exactly as in the book!

  63. Aran says:

    Tea- Sorry for the delay in the response but I just got back from a two week trip. I know what dessert you are speaking of as I love chef migoya’s book. But this recipe came from a dessert we had at a hotel where i worked composed of pain perdu squares and maple syrup ice cream. chef migoya’s has a difference ice cream i believe, but you are right, plating is similar, but i assure you not copied from him. but again, i love his book and i have referenced it in this blog many times. thanks.

  64. Tina says:

    That breakfast looks so simple in a way, yet fabulously decadent. Definitely going to try the burnt milk ice cream. I’m very curious about it now.

  65. Lara says:

    Hi there! Your blog is lovely and some of the best gluten free recipes I have found. I can’t wait to start trying some of them out! A question about this recipe, can I use a gluten free flour for this?
    Many Thanks, Lara – Melbourne, Australia.

  66. […] Here’s one idea: Julia Child’s Beef Burgundy… yum! Or Reunion Rum Punch? Brioche and burnt milk ice cream? […]

  67. Susan says:

    Good Day….Question?? Do you bake both gluten and gluten free?? I am just accepting that I may be a gluten intolerant/sensitive individual. My problem is I love all wheat grains. I read your blog and after reading decided that I should perhaps take the committment to become GF.

    In reviewing your recipes I see some are GF….but others are not. Do you have anyway for those of us new to this concept to recognize which recipes we can use??

    I love your blog and have read it for a long period now….decided it is now time to start cooking the recipes. Thank You for your dedication to food and for sharing.

    Kind Regards

  68. […] travels. Her blog has a certain beauty and level of class that only a European woman can deliver. Brioche, Burnt Milk Ice Cream, and a Decadent Breakfast which was inspired by a Basque bakery to a trip […]

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