BRIOCHE BREAD

If you like your bread, then Brioche is definitely going to be in your wheelhouse. Brioche is a dough enriched with eggs and butter, taking on a texture that is more akin to cake than it is to bread. Brioche is tender, rich and buttery all at the same time and so simple (and satisfying) to make that you’ll wonder why you haven’t been making it your whole life.

With this one brioche recipe you will have the potential to make a whole host of deliciously home-baked goodies! It makes an amazing loaf of bread, but can just as easily be transformed into rolls, burger buns, monkey bread or my favourite Nutella Stuffed Buns!

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Brioche, with its rich tender crumb, is versatile enough to be used in both savoury and sweet dishes, perfect for Bread and Butter Pudding or Pain Perdu (French Toast) but also capable of carrying a slice rich foie gras terrine or for making an amazing Croque Monsieur.

But brioche doesn’t come without a few hurdles to get over. Kneading the brioche can prove to be problematic without the use of a standing mixer, as all the eggs and butter make for a very soft and sticky dough. It can be done, just mix the dough together first, then gradually knead in the butter on a pastry board or clear kitchen surface, just be ready to get a little messy!

If you are fortunate enough to have a standing mixer, then let technology take over for this one. The sheer amount of butter in the dough prevents the gluten from developing easily, so lots of kneading is required, far more than other kinds of bread doughs. We like making a lot of things by hand but when it comes to making brioche, this is one job where we will bow down to the machines!

After all that work, the dough needs to prove and then chill in the fridge for at least 12 hours. You will find the brioche dough is much easier to handle and shape after a night in the refrigerator. This helps firm up the butter, transforming the once soft sticky dough to something far more malleable. It also has the added benefit of allowing the yeast to slowly develop and improve the flavour and texture of the brioche.

So set up the standing mixer, don your apron and turn your kitchen into a bakery for the next couple of days. The rewards of soft, rich, buttery brioche await!

— Al Brady