Whenever I decide to go on a diet, something comes along and makes it impossible to carry on. Last week, it was my first brioche experiment to blame. I don’t usually crave bread, so I thought I was safe. Well, so much for that diet. As soon as I smelled the yeast in the kitchen, I knew I was in trouble. How could I ever think that all that butter wasn’t going to win me over?
Oh boy.. The instant I removed the baking pan out of the oven, its smell took my breath away. I felt weak. Then I shrugged and dove right in. The temptation was just too strong. As if it wasn’t enough, I accidentally smeared homemade apricot jam on top and gulped it down. Then, a piece of brioche fell into a huge jar of Nutella and silly me ate that one, too.
But wait, what about photos for my blog? Sh*t. I removed the second batch I was planning to freeze, waited for another two hours for it to rise and baked the second batch.
At least I took the photos on a (very) full stomach this time…
For those who haven’t heard of brioche, it is a very rich French bread. The high egg and butter content provides a rich and tender crumb. If you haven’t tried it before, you are in for an amazing treat.
Below is my first brioche attempt, but I’ve made baked many others after this one. For instance, check out this chocolate brioche, which also has a different presentation. Because of its high egg and butter content, brioche doesn’t keep well.
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 1/3 cup warm milk
- 2 envelopes active dry yeast
- 3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 large eggs (room temperature)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1+1/2 cups (3 sticks, 12 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
- Egg wash:1 egg, beaten to blend with 1 tablespoon water
- Place water, milk and yeast in the bowl of a standing heavy-duty mixer; stir until yeast dissolves and let proof for 10 minutes.
- Add flour and salt, mix on low speed just until flour is moistened, about 1-2 minutes.
- Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat in the eggs on low speed, then add sugar.
- On medium speed, beat until the dough comes together, about 3 minutes.
- Reduce speed to low. Add butter, two tablespoons at a time, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding next.
- Increase speed to medium-high and beat until dough pulls away from sides of bowl, about 10 minutes.
- Transfer the dough into a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise at room temperature until almost doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
- Punch the dough down to deflate it every 30 minutes until it stops rising (it will take 2 hours in total). Cover bowl with plastic and chill in the refrigerator overnight.
- The next day, butter and flour 2 large loaf pans (8 1/2*4 1/2 inches). Divide dough into 2 equal pieces. Cut each dough half into 4 logs. Arrange logs crosswise in bottom of each prepared loaf pan. Place loaf pans on baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for another 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 400F. Brush the brioches with the egg wash (be careful not to deflate, be gentle) and bake until they are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped, about 30-35 minutes.
- Let cool to room temperature, then run a knife around the side of the pans and turn the loaves out onto a rack.
- The loaves can also be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 2 months.