The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight…
It’s been a while since I baked brioche. I almost forgot how intoxicating it smelled when one is in the oven. This recipe, adopted from L’Academie de Cuisine, yields approximately two pounds of dough, which will make 4 small, 2 medium or 1 large load of bread.
- 1 tablespoon yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 4 cups (1lb) all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 eggs
- 1 cup (8oz) room temperature butter
- Proof yeast with 1/4 cup lukewarm water and a pinch of sugar. You will start to see bubbles after a while.
- Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a mixing bowl.
- Add yeast and water to flour mixture and stir together at low speed with paddle.
- When dough is stiff, add eggs gradually.
- Switch to dough hook, increase speed of mixer. Mix brioche for 10-15 minutes, until the dough starts to become smooth and elastic.
- After mixing for 10-15 minutes, add butter incrementally.
- Mix for another 5-10 minutes (for a total mixing time of about 20 minutes) until the butter is fully incorporated. When the dough finishes mixing, it will be shiny, smooth and elastic.
8. Place dough in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow dough to rise in a warm place until double in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.9. After dough has doubled in size, knock it down. Place dough in a container large enough for it to double in size. Place in the refrigerator overnight, or in the freezer, and let it rise.
10. Remove brioche dough from the refrigerator, knock down.
11. Shape cold dough as desired. Be sure to lightly flour the work surface and use well-greased molds. Molds should only be filled halfway.
12. Egg wash the dough.
13. Allow dough to rise until double in size before baking.
14. Egg wash the dough again. Large pieces should have slits clipped in them (with scissors) after rising to prevent cracking when baked.
15. Bake at 375 degrees. Baking time varies with size of piece. Small loaves take 25-30 minutes, large loaves take 35-40 minutes. Smaller pieces take 15-20 minutes. The brioche will be golden brown and will sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
The pictures above came from two batches. On the left, the dough was proofed for almost 3 hours after shaping. On the right, only 40 minutes of proofing. Personally I prefer the second one, texture-wise and taste-wise.
16. Remove brioche from molds and cool on its side or on its top.
Smother the warm brioche with fresh creamy butter and marmalade of your desire. It’s the best thing you could wish for on a cold winter morning.