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!
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
440g strong white flour
30g fresh yeast
60ml whole milk
8g sea salt
4 large eggs
1 beaten egg, to glaze
Cream the yeast with the milk until completely dissolved. Place the eggs, sugar and the yeast and milk mixture together in the bowl of a standing mixer. Using a paddle attachment mix thouroughly together for 2 minutes, until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Mixing on a low speed, gradually add the strong white flour gradually to the egg mix. Mix on a low speed for 2 minutes, until the dough comes together. Switch the paddle attachment for a dough hook and continue to work the dough on a medium speed for 10 minutes to give it elasticity.
Cut the butter into approximately 20g pieces and add these to the dough, mixing well between each addition. Add the salt and continue to mix the dough on a medium speed for 5 minutes until smooth, shiny and any remaining lumps of butter are completely gone.
Transfer the dough to a greased bowl and leave to rise in a warm place, until doubled in size. Once proved, knock back the dough and chill in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours, or overnight, to firm up the dough and make it much easier to shape.
Two Ways to Shape the Loaf.
Measure out 440g of the brioche dough and roll into a rectangle about 0.5cm thick, trim the dough to fit the length of a 1lb loaf tin. Place the trimmings at the top of the dough and roll the rectangle to a tight cylinder, pinching the seam to seal the dough together. Place the dough in a greased 1lb loaf tin, cover lightly with cling film and leave to prove for approximately 2 hours or until doubled in size
Measure out 440g of the brioche dough and cut into 8 – 10 pieces.Roll each piece into a smooth ball and place side by side in a greased 1lb loaf tin.Cover lightly with cling film and leave to prove for approximately 2 hours or until doubled in size.
Pre- heat the oven to 200ºC and once the brioche has doubled in size, lightly glaze with the beaten egg. Bake in the oven at 200ºC for 15 minutes, then turn down the oven to 180ºC and continue to bake for a further 30 minutes. Once cooked, turn out the brioche on a wire rack and leave to cool.