brioche with ham, gruyere, and egg
So, I was recently in Prague traveling with my husband and good friends and I had some of the best food that I have had, pretty much ever. Since I got home I’ve been thinking of all the things I want to recreate but this meal in particular stuck out in my mind. On our first morning in Prague, we sojourned to a little restaurant called Café Savoy, which was equal parts Czech and French in influence. Everything from their hot chocolate to their croissants (the best I’ve ever had, by the way) to the way their eggs are prepared is done with thoughtfulness and intention. I had a perfect brioche toast open faced and topped with thick cut ham, melty gruyere, a poached egg and perfect little pea vines. Since I had that breakfast, I have literally not stopped thinking about it and how I was going to recreate it. So, here we are today.
Now, I’m no stranger to making brioche (and neither are you, if you’ve made these buns!) However, this brioche is even richer in that it has about twice the amount of butter. And it’s pretty damn easy to make as the majority of work is done in your stand mixer (hallelujah!). Without a mixer, I don’t recommend trying to mix this dough by hand as the butter will melt when it comes into contact with warm skin. While it does take time to achieve all the perfect yeasty flavors of a brioche, it’s all inactive time spent waiting. If you make this dough the evening before you want to have breakfast, you’ll be eating brioche by the next morning. Or if you use the abbreviated method, you can start early and be eating brioche toasts by brunch time. I used a 13x4” pullman loaf pan for this bad boy and you can find one on Amazon here. You can use two regular loaf pans as a substitute, but the beauty of a pullman pan is that it makes a nice, tall loaf which is great for sandwiches and slicing. And because you’ll have a bunch of brioche leftover, it is amazing for making bread crumbs for mac n’ cheese, french toast, bread pudding, grilled cheeses, and so much more.
There’s not much more I can say about this recipe except that I love it, it’s perfect for brunch, and can easily feed a crowd. What more is there to be said?
brioche with ham, gruyere and egg
- 4 thick slices brioche (recipe below)
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 12 slices good ham, none of this oscar mayer nonsense
- 3 cups shredded gruyere cheese
- 4 eggs
- salt and pepper
- greens, for garnish (pea vines, arugula, sprouts, mizuna, etc. whatever you like)
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a cast iron or nonstick pan over medium heat. Toast a slice of brioche on both sides until golden brown, transfer to a small baking sheet lined with parchment paper that can fit 4 slices. Repeat with remaining slices of brioche.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Spread each piece of brioche with a thin layer of dijon mustard. Top with 2-3 slices of ham, folded over to fit on the bread. Top each toast with 3/4 cup of grated cheese. Place in the oven for 5-7 minutes until cheese is bubbly.
- While the cheese melts, cook your eggs. I chose to poach mine, but sunny side up is great too. When toasts come out of the oven, top with an egg, greens, salt, pepper and a little drizzle of olive oil if desired.
- 155g whole milk
- 120g granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 7 eggs
- 375g bread flour
- 375g all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 454g (1 lb, 4 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
- To make the brioche bread: Mix together milk, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, until foamy. Add 6 eggs (save the last egg for an egg wash), both flours and mix until dough starts to come together. At this stage, add your salt and allow the dough to continue to mix until the salt is incorporated. With the mixer running on medium speed, add the butter, one handful at a time, until all the butter has been added. Allow the butter to be incorporated before adding another handful. Once all the butter is in, let the dough mix for another 20-25 minutes on medium speed. Brioche dough is very sticky, so keep that in mind, but we are looking for the dough to be shiny and smooth in texture. If you pull on the dough, it should be very elastic and stretchy. If the dough breaks when you pull a piece, keep mixing. Place dough in a greased container or large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm-ish location until doubled in size, about 2-3 hours.
- Once the dough has risen, grease your countertop with a little nonstick spray, as well as your hands to keep the dough from sticking. Press the dough into a 13x6" rectangle, and roll it up like a cinnamon roll log. Place the log, seam side down, in a greased 13x4" pullman pan (or you can divide the dough into two 9x5" regular loaf pans). At this point, you have two options for rising. You can either let it rise one more time in the loaf pan and bake after or you can let the dough slowly rise in the loaf pan overnight in the refrigerator and bake the next day. The slow rise will develop more flavor, but both methods produce great results. In any case, cover the dough loosely with greased plastic wrap and either let rise until the dough reaches just over the top of the loaf pan or place in the fridge for at least 8 hours (if you are using the fridge method, be sure to let the dough come to room temperature the next morning before baking).
- Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Adjust the oven rack to the lower third of the oven. Beat an egg in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon of water and liberally brush over the top of the loaf. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the internal temperature of the bread reaches 180-190 degrees F. Let bread cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before slicing. Bread is best eaten same day, but can be wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and kept in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.