Monday, January 7, 2013

Easy Brioche


Bread baking has always been my forte; I think back to when I was 7 years old and my mother turned over the duty of baking rolls for Thanksgiving to me and how excited I was to see everybody enjoying what I had made.  There is just something so rewarding and actually, healthier in baking your own bread.  My mother knew this and passed her wisdom on to me.

Brioche was not a bread she ever made.  Probably, like bagels, it was not in the "mainstream" diet of a middle-class family like ours.  However, when I had the opportunity to attend the CIA for pastry arts, I learned how to make this bread I had only had at fancy restaurants--it makes the best French Toast and Bread Pudding--and I was hooked.  This bread is French in origin, with the first recorded baking date of 1404.   It's said that Marie Antoinette was eating Brioche when she exclaimed, "Let them eat cake!"  The high egg and butter ratio is what fits this bread more into a pastry category and gives it the light, airy texture with it's dark, flaky crust from the egg wash applied before baking.

Taking the scariness out of attempting Brioche is what I wanted to share with you today.  The only time consuming aspect of this recipe is waiting between risings and, if you're lucky like my sister who raises her own chickens, the cost of a half-dozen eggs won't break the bank.  In spite of that, it is a wonderful bread and I was thinking with these cold, dreary days it would be a delightful treat with a cup of tea by the fireplace.

Easy Brioche
6 large eggs
1 T. salt
1 lb. 2 oz* King Arthur all-purpose flour (Plain Flour)

5 T whole milk, (warm 30 seconds in the microwave)
1T + 1 1/2 tsp. dry active yeast or 1/2 ounce of cake yeast

12 oz. (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature (I used a higher fat content from a European butter)

1/4 cup superfine sugar (if you can't find this, place granulated sugar in a food processor and pulse several times to create a finer granule)


extra butter for the bowl and baking pans
1 egg yolk + 1 T whole milk for the egg wash

Equipment needed: stand mixer with a dough hook, loaf pan, individual Brioche cups or 1 large Brioche baking pan

  •  Day 1 - I usually start the process about 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon

Whisk the six eggs and salt in the bowl of the stand mixer, using a large balloon whisk.  Place the bowl on the mixer with the dough hook.  Turn the mixer on speed #2 and add the flour--(*if you don't have a scale to weigh your flour, it corresponds to approximately 3 1/2 cups + 1 1/2 tablespoons of flour).  Continue mixing until a "dough" comes together.

 Meanwhile, proof the yeast in the warm milk, then add it to the flour/egg mixture.

 Next, mix the superfine sugar and the softened butter together in a small bowl.  Start adding it to the flour/egg/yeast mixture, about a tablespoon at a time while the mixer is running on speed #2.  This should take about 6 to 8 minutes to add gradually, allowing the butter mixture to be incorporated into the batter.

You will definitely see the "dough" change more into a "batter!"  Use a spatula or scraper to bring the dough together and place into a large bowl that has been buttered.


Place plastic wrap over this dough and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 2 hours.  I usually place a cotton towel over the bowl to hold the heat in.
Once the dough has doubled, gently, using a scraper, deflate the dough, turning it over.  Add a fresh piece of plastic wrap, that has been sprayed with a baking spray, and place the bowl in the refrigerator over night for its cold rising.  This rising is what brings the dough together and makes it less sticky!

  • Day 2 - in the morning
Remove the bowl from the refrigerator and allow to sit, still covered, about 30 minutes to adjust to the room temperature.  Lightly flour your bread board (or counter)--try not to over flour and this will result in a tough dough! and turn out onto your work space.

Divide the dough in half.
I was baking a loaf and individual Brioches.  With one half, divide into 8 pieces for a typical loaf of Brioche.

Lightly roll pieces into balls, placed side by side

Whisk one egg yolk with 1 T milk and lightly brush the balls.  Place a piece of plastic wrap, that has been sprayed with a baking spray, over the pan.

The second half, I divided into 12 pieces so I could make a dozen mini Brioches.
Cut about 1/4 of the dough off each ball for the "top-knot".  Roll the larger piece into a ball, then press an indentation into the center and place the rolled small ball into that center.


Brush these individual Brioches with the egg wash and cover them also with the plastic wrap that has been sprayed.  Allow to rise until doubled in a warm place-- 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  Place the egg wash in the refrigerator, covered, to brush again after this rising.

Just before the Brioche has fully risen, preheat your over to 350F-degrees. Lightly brush the loaf and individual Brioches with the egg wash, once again.  Bake the individuals about 18 to 20 minutes until a dark, golden brown.
Continue baking the Brioche loaf about another 15 to 18 minutes, until it's also golden brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing...if you can resist.

In December, I was lucky enough to win a Give-Away on Knatolee's blog--honey and homemade soaps.   I decided to make some honey butter to slather on my brioche with a cup of tea.
I wish you were all here to have tea with me and we'd chat about what the New Year will bring.  I'll just have to close my eyes and imagine.  Enjoy!


 




 
  


32 comments:

  1. My dear friend....you do make it look easy and oh so yummy!

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    1. Trust me, it is easy...just takes waiting time. I'll make some when we get together:-D

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  2. Brioche ,to me, is being twelve years old on a school trip to Paris. Breakfast every day was brioche dunked into HUGE bowls of chicory coffee.
    Bon appetit!
    Jane x

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    1. My mother used to tell me that her best recollection of dessert was bread that her grandmother made with fresh milk poured over it and a sprinkling of sugar. I just know that brioche is one of the best things I've ever had, XOXO

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    2. My Mum had that when she lived in Wales as a child...it was called 'pobs'
      Jane x

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    3. My great grandmother was Irish and I'm sure she introduced my mother to this bread dessert. All I know is that she loved it!

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  3. It doesn't look easy to me... I'm challenged. But it does look delicious. I'm still trying to imagine a seven-year-old making rolls for Thanksgiving. You were obviously a wunderkind!

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    1. I actually owe it all to my parents who gave me self-esteem that I could attempt anything. How can a kid go wrong with that kind of support!
      BTW...it is very easy, I promise, XOXO

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  4. You are a baking machine my friend! These look so good!

    hugs, Linda

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    1. Someone once said, "it's not work if you love what you're doing!" Believe me, I would rather be baking than doing anything else...except playing with my grands and working in my garden, XOXO

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  5. Oh my GOSH, Susan. Those look utterly yummified. Your family is SO LUCKY! Susan

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    1. Thanks sweetie--maybe one day I'll be back in Massachusetts and we can bake together. I would love that, XOXO

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  6. I have always enjoyed making homemade bread...nothing tastes better. I just want to eat it all hot out of the oven! Winter is a great time to bake! Save me one...or two! Hugs!

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    1. I know it's all I can do to let it cool--there's nothing better than homemade bread and these cold, rainy days just call for it, XOXO

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  7. You make brioche look easy--I've never made it but am willing to try anything. As I tell my daughter the ingredients to making bread are not that expensive, give it a chance. Well I guess the European butter is pricey but so tasty! xoxo ♥
    Martha Ellen

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    1. Honestly, you could probably get a good brioche with Land O'Lakes butter, but Plugra or Irish Butter is soooooooo good-it's worth the expense! XOXO

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  8. I wish I were there to have tea with you, as well! These look gorgeous.

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  9. I came from Vee's blog. The bread looks so wonderful, I can almost just taste it. Well, I wish I could taste it...any left? :)

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    1. Baking bread not only makes the home smell wonderful, but the memories of baking with my mother always come flooding back, XOXO

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  10. Oh, I would have loved to have tea with you Susan.The brioche looks divine. I love the little baking forms.

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    1. I got the forms at King Arthur Flour and I guess I should, one day, invest in some good ones to reuse. When you come to the Pacific Northwest this summer, we will have to get together for some baking, XOXO

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  11. Susan - Thank you so much for posting this tutorial. Brioche is my favorite bread of all times & even here in Portland is not easy to find so you have inspried me to try making it myself. Last month I toasted cubes of brioche and made a pumpkin, eggnog, cranberry & maple syrup bread pudding. It was the best thing I had the entire Holiday season. I can't wait to try your recipie so I can produce my own deliciousness. Also, if you live near a Trader Joes I bought the Kerry butter there and it was less expensive than regular butter at my chain store supermarket ($2.39). This bread is both light & rich tasting at the same time. Everything you make with it will be kicked up several notches. Can you tell I'm a fan? Thanks again Susan & Happy New Year to you and your family.

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    1. I am drooling over your description of the bread pudding you made. I first had a Brioche bread pudding in New Orleans and was in heaven. It DOES make a difference and I was happier than a pig in a mud hole when I learned how to make it myself. It is easy, easy, easy...just the wait time is hard, but if you start it in the late afternoon, it won't seem so bad. Happy Baking, XOXO

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  12. I got so carried away that I forgot to ask if Rapid Rise Yeast could be used in this recipie? Thanks

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    1. I used "Saf-Instant" baking today that I get through King Arthur Flour (or I think Costco carries it too). In class, we used cake yeast and I prefer the results to the dry yeast,it's just I didn't have any and didn't want to venture out in the rain to get it. I'm not sure of what the results of Rapid Rise would be and since the recipe I developed calls for 6 eggs and 3/4 lb. of butter, I'm not sure I would try it--that's expensive ingredients to throw out if it doesn't work.

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  13. These speak to me, Susan...Or, maybe they are singing! Definitely on my bucket list as well. I would have to do the loaf as I don't have the cool brioche cups. I would love one (or 2) these morning, with butter AND honey. :) Have a wonderful week, my friend! Lv, me

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  14. Oh my goodness! Looks Wonderful!

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  15. Susan, you know that I am a firm believer in homemade bread. Your briche bread and the loaf look fantastic. Kerrygold is my favourite. Good butter makes a difference.

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  16. Just catching up on blog reading! Such a nice surprise to see my honey in your photo. It looks humble with your beautiful tea set. :) I'm glad it's being put to good use!

    Quelles belles brioches!

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  17. Not only are you talented, you are patient. I need more patience to be a good baker.

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