Thursday, November 19, 2009

Brioche



To me, brioche is like a cross between a loaf of bread and a criossant. The dough is enriched with butter, eggs, and sometimes milk. I used the recipe from Beth Hensperger's Bread Bible.
(This was only after trying Wolfgang Puck's recipe from Modern French Cooking for the American Kitchen...this book is not very well edited, I do not recommend it for the home cook! Let's just say I had a botched batch ;) )

From what I have read, the key is to keep the dough cold because the butter in it needs to be kept cold. The dough is also pretty sticky. I was worried when I made this batch because I thought that it would be impossible to shape it due to stickiness, but when the time came to shape it, the dough was not as sticky and it was very easy to shape.
The brioche pictured above is a "Brioche Nanterre." This is how I shaped it:






If you stagger the dough balls, you get a more braided look in your finished brioche. I find this more appealing than lining them up straight. Since I do not own a brioche pan, I chose this way of shaping the dough.

!I can't wait to smear this stuff with butter, honey, jam, Nutella... etc!
I don't mind having leftover brioche a few days later either because it's great in french toast and bread pudding.

Brioche recipe (taken from The Bread Bible): *yield: 2 brioche nanterre

4 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp (1 pkg) active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup water, 120 degrees
6 eggs
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened but still cool and cut into small pieces

In a stand mixer w/ paddle attachment, combine 1 cup flour and all the salt, sugar and yeast.
Add the water and mix at medium high speed until smooth ( 2 mins). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add 2 more cups of flour. Add the butter, one piece at a time and beat until smooth. Lastly add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour. (*at this point I switch to the dough hook attachment).
Pour the dough into a greased rising container, cover tightly w/ plastic wrap, and allow to rise at room temp until doubled in bulk, about 3 hrs. Once it has risen, gently deflate it by pressing on it with a spatula. Cover it and allow it to proof overnight in the refrigerator. (*8-12 hrs...although I let mine go for about 15 hours and it was fine)

Remove from the fridge and dust a work surface with flour. Grease two loaf pans. Turn the dough out onto your work surface and cut it in half (*w/ a bench scraper works best). Roll each large piece into a snake and cut each snake into 6 pieces. Shape each of those and form into balls. Place the dough balls 6 to greased loaf pans as in the photo above.
Allow to proof for 1 hour covered in plastic wrap. 20 mins prior to the hour, preheat the oven to 375.
Mix one egg yolk with 1 Tbsp whole milk and brush the dough.
Bake for 30-40 mins, turning in the oven halfway through to ensure even browning.

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