you make my belly happy
buttery and sweet
Is that the first haiku you’ve read about brioche? It’s definitely the first I’ve written.
This was my first time making brioche. It was actually a byproduct of making sticky buns. The recipe said to “reserve half of the dough for another use”, since I was already making the dough, and had already resigned myself to spending the day baking, (and I have a jar of jam in my refrigerator from Bouchon) my “other use” was a loaf of bread. A loaf of rich, buttery, brioche to be exact.
rich and slightly sweet
with a moist and tender crumb
my new love, brioche
Even though I got tired while I was making it, and I thought my Kitchen Aid was going to start smoking from how hot it was getting, I will admit part of that may be do to my inability to read directions clearly. As I was making the dough, I remember thinking that it couldn’t possibly be worth the effort… that I would never make it again. Screw this bread.
As I was eating the bread, however, I was in pure bread bliss. Bread Heaven, if you will. It’s so good. I sliced it and, even though I could’ve easily taken down the whole loaf by myself, I wrapped it tightly and stuck it in the freezer to use for weekend breakfasts.
After making my own loaf, I can’t imagine making french toast or bread pudding out of it. All that hard work to make such a delicious loaf of bread, just to soak it in egg and fry it in a pan? Sacrilege. Blasphemy even. I don’t know how people do it. I assume when you make it a lot, you probably get used to it and get into a rhythm, but for now I can’t imagine eating it any way but plain, or perhaps lightly toasted with a slight smear of heavenly Bouchon jam. I don’t want any flavors overpowering my buttery, rich, slightly sweet new love, brioche.
Brioche – makes 2 loaves
[ Printable Recipe ]
- 2 1/2 cups (350 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
- 2 1/4 cups (340 grams) bread flour
- 1 1/2 packages (3 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast or 1-ounce (28 grams) fresh cake yeast
- 1 3/8 cups (2 3/4 sticks; 310 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 10 to 12 pieces
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (82 grams) sugar
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 6 eggs
1. Using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the all-purpose flour, bread flour, yeast, sugar, salt, water, and 5 of the eggs. Beat on low speed for 3 to 4 minutes, or until all the ingredients are combined. Stop the mixer, as needed, to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure all the flour is incorporated into the wet ingredients. Once the dough has come together, beat on low speed for another 3 to 4 minutes. The dough will be very stiff and seem quite dry.
2. With the mixer on low speed, add the butter, 1 piece at a time, mixing after each addition until it disappears into the dough. Continue mixing on low speed for about 10 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. It is important for all the butter to be thoroughly mixed into the dough. If necessary, stop the mixer occasionally and break up the dough with your hands to help mix in the butter.
3. Once the butter is completely incorporated, turn up the speed to medium and beat until the dough becomes sticky, soft, and somewhat shiny, another 15 minutes. It will take some time to come together. It will look shaggy and questionable at the start and then eventually it will turn smooth and silky.
4. Turn the speed to medium-high and beat for about 1 minute. You should hear the dough make a slap-slap-slap sound as it hits the sides of the bowl. Test the dough by pulling at it; it should stretch a bit and have a little give. If it seems wet and loose and more like a batter than a dough, add a few tablespoons of flour and mix until it comes together. If it breaks off into pieces when you pull at it, continue to mix on medium speed for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until it develops more strength and stretches when you grab it. It is ready when you can gather it all together and pick it up in 1 piece.
5. Put the dough in a large bowl or plastic container and cover it with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the surface of the dough. Let the dough proof in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or up to overnight At this point you can freeze the dough in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
TO MAKE THE LOAVES
- To make two brioche loaves, line the bottom and sides of two 9 by 5 inch loaf pans with parchment, or butter the pans liberally. Divide the dough in half and press each piece into about a 9-inch square. The dough will feel like cold, clammy Play-Doh. Facing the square, fold down the top one-third toward you, and then fold up the bottom one-third, as if folding a letter. Press to join these layers. Turn the folded dough over and place it, seam-side down in one of the prepared pans. Repeat with the second piece of dough, placing it in the second prepared pan. (Pardon the poor lighting, the sun was not out yet)
- Cover the loaves lightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to proof for about 4 to 5 hours, or until the loaves have nearly doubled in size. They should have risen to the rim of the pan and be rounded on top. When you poke at the dough, it should feel soft, pillowy and light, as if it’s filled with air – because it is! At this point, the texture of the loaves always reminds me a bit of touching a water balloon.
- Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a small bowl, whisk the remaining egg until blended. Gently brush the tops of the loaves with the beaten egg.
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the tops and sides of the loaves are completely golden brown. Let cool in the pans on wire racks for 30 minutes, then turn the loaves out of the pans and continue to cool on the racks.
The bread can be stored tightly wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.