Rise and Shine: Basic Brioche

Making bread can be intimidating for some folks.  You may have tried it before with unsuccessful results and decided to give up completely.  You would not be alone.  With so many varieties available, it may not seem worth it to you to make it at home.  I urge you to give it just one more try with this brioche recipe.  The aroma that fills your home may well be reason enough.

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Brioche is a light and airy bread that is has a very subtle sweetness.  For me, it falls somewhere between regular bread as we know it and a croissant.  It is often used as a base for sweet breads and cinnamon rolls, but it would certainly be at home as the bread for a breakfast sandwich.

The best thing about it is that it is simple to make.  If you have a stand mixer, you are in luck.  That takes your work down to almost nothing.  All that is required is time.  You will find this dough very easy to work.  Although it doesn't seem so in the beginning, the dough is smooth and pliable without being sticky.  The finished product will amaze you.  We have made the traditional brioche a tete here, but you could certainly bake it in loaf form.  It would be perfect for French toast.

savour... the smell of freshly baked bread

Get the rest after the jump...

Basic Brioche

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Before you start:

When you begin the dough won’t look like much more than a sticky mess.  Be patient.  It gets better.

Be sure to plan appropriately.  While your effort is minimal, the overall process takes several hours.

The dough will rise very little during the time between mixing and placing it in the refrigerator.  This time is mostly getting the dough prepared for what lies ahead.

I like to let dough rise in a large glass measuring bowl so I can gauge its progress.

To prevent them from browning too quickly place a rack above your rolls in the oven.  Put an empty baking tray on it to shield the tops of the rolls.

To prevent burning the bottoms place the brioche cups or muffin tins on two baking sheets.

If you wish, you can reserve the egg white from the extra yolk you used to mix with just a little water and brush on the rolls before baking. 

The ingredients:

  • 2 ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup dry milk
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon rapid rise or      instant yeast
  • 3 large eggs plus one egg yolk
  • ¼ cup lukewarm water
  • 10 tablespoons butter at room      temperature

The method:

    1. Place all of the ingredients      in the bowl of your stand mixer.
    2. Blend with paddle attachment for      about 30 seconds on low speed just to get the ingredients mixed together.
    3. Increase speed to medium high      and beat for 10 minutes.  The dough      will look smooth and silky.
    4. Scrape the sides of the bowl      to get the dough into a ball in the middle of the bowl bottom.
    5. Replace the paddle with the      hook attachment and continue on medium low for another 5 minutes.
    6. Remove the dough and place in      a large lightly greased bowl to rise.
    7. Allow the dough to rise for 1      hour covered.  It will rise only      slightly.
    8. Move the covered dough to the      refrigerator and let it rest for at least 2 hours.  It could even go overnight.
    9. Remove the dough and split      into the sizes and shapes you need.       It will make two regular sized loaves or many rolls (approximately      12).
    10. Grease the pans of your choice      and place the dough in them.  Fill      muffin pans only ½ full.
    11. Allow the dough to rise,      covered, for 1 ½ to 2 hours.  It      will be double in size and puffy.
    12. For rolls, preheat your oven      to 375.  Bake for 25-30 minutes      until medium golden brown.
    13. For loaves, preheat oven to      350.  Bake for 40-45 minutes.  Tent with foil if necessary to prevent excessive      browning.
    14. Allow to cool for 4 minutes in      pan before turning out onto rack to cool completely.