One of my biggest problem with brioche is working the butter into the dough. And even though I didn’t manage to work the total amount of butter in the past, I thought it tasted quite okay. So, when I came across this recipe, I thought I might as well give it a try. And I have to say, I think I have found my perfect brioche recipe. Just the right amount of butter, maybe a tad high on eggs, but, just “poor” enough that I don’t feel too guilty eating a slice or two for my breakfast, and “rich” enough that I could eat it on its own.
To make a huge loaf (which may last more than a week)
64g (½ cup) bread flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
120ml (½ cup) lukewarm whole milk (90°-100° F)
4 large eggs
420g (3 ¼ cups) bread flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1¼ teaspoons table salt
113g (½ cup) unsalted butter at room temperature
1) In your mixer bowl, add the ½ cup flour, yeast, and lukewarm milk and stir with spoon until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 30-45 minutes until it looks frothy and risen. It should be pocked with burst bubbles. If it doesn’t seem to rise at all, put it somewhere warm (like your oven with just the light on). Don’t worry too much about how much it has risen. You just want the yeast to start working. This is now called the sponge.
2) Add the four eggs to the risen sponge and whisk until everything is combined. In a separate medium bowl, stir or whisk together the 3 ¼ cups of flour, sugar and salt. Add everything to the mixer bowl and mix until everything is combined. At this point you’ll have a dry and shaggy dough. That’s fine. Let it rest for 5 minutes.
3) Tip dough onto a lightly floured surface and start adding the butter two tablespoons at a time while kneading. Wait until the butter is completely mixed in before you add the next two tablespoons. Once all the butter is mixed in, continue kneading for about 6 minutes, until you get a smooth dough.
4) Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise for 90 minutes or until it doubles in size.
5) Take the risen dough out of the bowl and shape it into your desired loaf shape (in the picture, I was doing the 8-strand plait).
6) Cover the loaf with plastic wrap and let rise for about 60-70 minutes. Brush the tops with the beaten egg wash, if desired. I did not.
7) Pre-heat oven to 155C (with fan) and bake the loaf for 35-40 minutes until the top is dark golden brown. If you want to be really certain it is done and you have a thermometer, you can stick it in the bottom of the loaf. If the internal temperature is above 190° F, it is done. Let it cool in the pans for 15 minutes and then take it out and cool completely on a rack.
I finished baking this just before going to bed, and it filled my whole apartment with the nice brioche scent the whole night! For once, I was looking forward to waking up and having my breakfast of fresh brioche.