I waited until the last minute to make this brioche, but let me tell you, it was worth the wait. I only had time to make two of the breads for the Mellow Bakers this month. I’m so glad I opted to make this one. It is the best brioche I’ve ever tasted.
Brioche is a very rich delicacy. It’s not quite bread and not quite pastry, but it is all delicious! It is made with a lot butter and eggs and is very versatile. It can be shaped into the traditional tête and grande tête shapes; it can be fashioned into loaves or freestanding braids; it can be used as the base for a variety of coffee cakes; and it makes wonderful French toast.
BriocheSource: Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman.
- Bread Flour 4 1/4 cups
- High-gluten Flour 1 1/4 cups
- Water, cold 1/4 cup
- Eggs, cold 6
- Salt 1 Tablespoons
- Sugar 6 Tablespoons
- Yeast 1 1/2 Tablespoons
- Butter, cold 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks)
Make sure everything is cold. I thought this was a rather interesting step, but I mixed all the dry ingredients together (except the yeast) and put it in the refrigerator anyway. I only meant to keep it there for a few hours, but it took a couple of days before I actually got around to making the dough. I keep my yeast in the refrigerator anyway so I didn’t need to cool it off.
Mixing the Dough:
Mix all of the ingredients except the cold butter in a mixer until the ingredients are incorporated. Mix the dough until it is strong and tough. This usually takes 5 to 7 minutes in a spiral mixer. My mixer had a hard time with this so I had to use my hands to make sure everything was incorporated.
In the meantime, take the cold butter and beat it with a rolling pin until it is pliable. This part is a little bit tricky so it’s best to do this between sheets of plastic or wax paper. I used wax paper and the butter kept wanting to slide out from under the paper. I didn’t take a photo of this process because I was having too much fun and forgot.
Once the butter is pliable and the dough is strong, start adding the butter a little bit at a time until it is completely incorporated into the dough and the dough is smooth and satiny. This will take awhile, probably about 8 to 10 minutes. All that butter was giving my mixer fits so I finished mixing this part by hand as well. It was fun squishing the butter between my fingers. You ought to try it sometime!
When the butter has been incorporated into the dough, put it into a lightly floured bucket or bowl, cover and let it rest at room temperature for an hour.
Chill the Dough Overnight:
After an hour, fold the yummy dough, put it back in the container and refrigerate overnight. Degas the dough 2 or 3 times over the next several hours. If you remember that is. I put mine in the refrigerator overnight so I forgot this part. However, I did degas it when I took it out of the refrigerator to shape it.
Shaping the Loaves:
I used about 14 ounces and shaped one loaf into a round ball and placed it in my brioche pan. Then I made the topknot. I filled the mold to about 50 percent capacity so that it would have room to rise a bit.
I took some more dough and shaped it into a loaf, then placed it in a glass loaf pan.
I had just enough dough left for this cute little bun.
Proofing the dough:
When the dough is fully proofed, it is suppose to fill the mold or pan to 85 percent. This dough was so cold, it took a while to warm up to room temperature.
But it finally did reach about 85 percent capacity. Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Baking the Loaves:
Once the loaves are proofed, brush them with an egg wash and bake at 350 degrees. It took a while to bake the loaves. I had to tent them with aluminum foil partway through because they were starting to burn on top but the inside of the loaves were still gooey.
The finished loaves should have a rich and deeply golden crust and a wonderful aroma. Both of the loaves cracked a bit when they were baked and the topknot ended up sort of lopsided on this one, but they’re so good, it doesn’t really matter.
My boyfriend and I (and his dog) enjoyed eating the bun. Boy was it good! Melt in your mouth kind of goodness. So, of course we had to slice one of the loaves and have another piece. It smelled and tasted heavenly!
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