Brioche is a delicious, buttery, and soft bread that is perfect for breakfast, brunch, or as an accompaniment to a hearty meal. The high fat content of the butter used in the recipe gives the bread its rich and flaky texture. The long fermentation time and slow rise process also allows for the development of a complex and nuanced flavor profile that cannot be achieved through quick bread recipes. With its beautiful golden brown crust and tender, pillowy interior, Brioche is a must-try for anyone who loves baked goods.
- 1 package (2½ tsp/7 g) active dry yeast
- 2 tbsp lukewarm water
- 250 g (2¼ sticks/9 oz) unsalted butter with a high fat content, room temperature, cut into bite-size pieces (if your kitchen is very hot, compensate by using cool butter), plus more for buttering bowlsand pans
- 500 g (3⅔ cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for work surfaces
- 55 g (¼ cups) sugar
- 7.5 g (1¼ tsp) fine
- sea salt
- 5 large eggs, room temperature, cracked into a medium bowl, plus 1 egg for egg wash
Note: YIELD produces two 9 x 5-inch loaves. The recipe should not be divided in half. If you don't want to bake two loaves in one day, freeze half of the dough or store it in the fridge for two to three days.
You will need enough dough to make two loaves for this recipe.
- Make the yeast active. Whisk the yeast with two tablespoons of lukewarm (not hot) water in a small bowl with a fork. Allow to sit for about 2 minutes until bubbly. Give the yeast mixture a quick whisk with the fork after two minutes. It has activated if it is foamy. If not, start over with a fresh batch of yeast and water that is still warm.
- Grease two large glass bowls well with a brush or a paper towel dipped in room temperature butter. Place aside.
- Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and activated yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cover the activated yeast mixture with a little flour and place it on one side of the bowl to keep it from touching the salt.
- Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds until all ingredients are thoroughly combined and the consistency is uniform. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Add five eggs and mix on low to medium speed until the dough comes together and almost all of the ingredients are incorporated (no more than three to four minutes). When the dough becomes difficult to mix with the stand mixer, it's time to add the butter.
- Attach the dough hook after the paddle attachment is removed.
- Add the butter to the dough in three to four additions with the mixer on low speed, making sure that the butter from the previous addition has mostly disappeared. If necessary, combine the dough with a rubber spatula. Keep the dough from being overworked because this will cause the butter to separate and turn oily. Mix on low to medium speed for another 10 to 12 minutes, or until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is shiny and smooth. The dough should have some resistance to the touch and not stick to your hands.
- Lightly flour the work surface. Use a rubber spatula or bench scraper to transfer the dough to the work surface. Making use of a bench scraper, divide the dough in half. After lightly flouring your hands, use the bench scraper to gently toss the dough around the work surface and into your free hand to form two ball-like shapes.
- Place the dough in the greased bowls with care. Place a clean kitchen towel over each bowl and allow to rest at room temperature (68°F to 77°F/ 20°C to 25°C) without any drafts. Allow the dough to rise for two to two-and-a-half hours, but no longer than that. The dough should have a smooth surface and some resistance, and it should be yellowish in color.
- Grease two 9x5-inch loaf pans well with a brush or a paper towel dipped in room temperature butter. Place aside.
- Dust your hands and work surface lightly with flour. Transfer the dough to the floured work surface delicately with your hands, a rubber spatula, or a bench scraper.
- Form one of the balls of dough. Flatten the dough into an oblong shape that is the same length as the loaf pan, with the long edge facing you, by working your way horizontally across the dough with one hand. While your other hand flattens with the heel, gently cradle the dough with your free hand while maintaining its position.
- About 1/2 inch on either side, fold the dough's short edges in toward the dough's center so that they become straight rather than rounded. Press lightly on the seams with your fingers, bringing the dough back to the pan's length.
- With your thumbs pointing back toward yourself and your index fingers touching the far edge of the dough, place your palms flat on the work surface. Roll the dough in a circular motion toward you and form it into a log by tucking the edges with your thumbs.
- Lift the dough log carefully and place it seam-side down in the prepared pan, cradling the heavier center. The second dough ball will undergo the same shaping procedure.
- To prevent any unnecessary movement that could cause the dough to become damaged, cover both pans with a clean cloth and place them somewhere free of drafts, ideally on your work surface. Use a plastic bag to cover the pans if your kitchen is drafty). Let the loaves rise until the dough reaches the top of the pan or just above, about 1½ hours to 2½ hours. When checking your dough, try not to remove the cloth because doing so will create a draft. Instead, check to see if the cloth has risen.
- Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C when the dough has mostly risen.
- Construct the egg wash. Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl. Brush a very delicate amount of egg wash over the top of each loaf with a pastry brush, being careful not to oversaturate the dough, which can cause the loaf to deflate or burn the top of the bread while baking.
- Make a cut in the middle of the loaf with clean kitchen scissors. Use the pan's rim as a ledge for the scissors with your free hand. Make short snips along the bread's length by guiding your hand horizontally across the loaf. To allow the dough to expand around the scoring marks, cover it and let it rise for 3 to 5 minutes on the work surface. Skip this step and bake your loaf without scoring if the dough has over-proofed.
- Bake the loaves for 35 to 40 minutes, or until they are a light terra-cotta, gold, or orange color. During baking, avoid opening the oven door because doing so could cause the bread to collapse.
- For about two minutes, leave the brioche in the pan until the surface is just cool enough to touch. To remove the bread from its mold, gently flip it over with one hand. The loaf should cool for at least one hour on a wire rack.
- Place the bread in a cloth and place it in a paper bag where it can be stored for five to seven days at room temperature. If freezing, wait until the bread is completely cooled down. It can be stored in a freezer for up to three months in a freezer bag. When you are ready to use it, thaw the loaf at room temperature.
The Enameled Cast Iron Bread Pan in these images can be found here.
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