Ode to the Golden Brioche Loaf

 

img_8260-2.jpg

I can’t believe that I lived almost 28 years without eating a loaf of brioche. Okay, I didn’t actually eat an entire loaf, although I was tempted to. I have had brioche rolls before, but never the actual bread. I was seriously, seriously missing out. This brioche dough was a component of the Brioche Raisin Snails that was made for this week’s Tuesdays With Dorie, however only half of the dough recipe was needed. I used the other half to make a loaf of Golden Brioche. One and a half sticks of butter in one loaf of bread? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why this bread tastes so amazing!

First, let me thank Dorie for providing such amazing direction in all of her recipes. It’s like she’s standing right next to you, telling you exactly what you should expect at every stage of the recipe. And she has been dead-on every single time. It’s quite reassuring to know that things are moving along as they should. Using my KA to pull this dough together was fairly easy, although incorporating all of the butter did take some time, as it took awhile for each piece to fully meld into the dough/batter. By the time I was done my KA was smoking hot (okay, she didn’t really smoke) and I could only touch the top with a towel! The first rise took just a bit longer than Dorie’s estimates (we keep our house pretty cool), and it stopped rising in the fridge somewhere between an hour and an hour and 30 minutes.

After resting in the fridge overnight, I took the dough out and wow was it dense and hard. I feared that it wasn’t going to budge during its next rise. It certainly took some time, but after 2.5 hours my four little rolls had grown into each other and puffed up to fill the loaf pan. I just love the seemingly magical qualities of yeast. Does it amaze anyone else? It is so neat to me that you mix all this stuff together and it just puff and grows. Baking with yeast is a very fulfilling activity for me :)

A quick egg wash and into the oven for 30 minutes… and then, oh the golden buttery glory! I actually restrained myself and let this cool for the full hour (confession: I was actually waiting for my camera battery to charge) and then sliced into it. One bite and I was hooked. I managed to restrain myself for the rest of the day and then made myself an egg, bacon, and cheese sandwich on it for dinner. I quickly sliced, wrapped, and froze it to ensure that I didn’t actually consume 1.5 sticks of butter in one day.

img_8253-2.jpg

Do you see that crust? You can see the buttery, flaky goodness. The ends were like eating croissants… mmmmm… Go make one!! You won’t be sorry!

Golden Brioche Loaves

Yield: 2 (8x4-inch) loaves

Prep Time: 12 hours

Cook Time: 30 to 35 minutes

Total Time: 12 hours

Ingredients:

2 packets active dry yeast
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch water
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature but still slightly firm

For The Glaze:
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water

Directions:

1. To Make The Brioche: Put the yeast, water and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and salt, and fit into the mixer with the dough hook, if you have one. Toss a kitchen towel over the mixer, covering the bowl as completely as you can- this will help keep you, the counter and your kitchen floor from being showered in flour. Turn the mixer on and off a few short pulses, just to dampen the flour (yes, you can peek to see how you're doing), then remove the towel, increase the mixer speed to medium-low and mix for a minute or two, just until the flour is moistened. At this point, you'll have a fairly dry, shaggy mess.

2. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, set the mixer to low and add the eggs, followed by the sugar. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough forms a ball. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter in 2-tablespoon-size chunks, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding the next. You'll have a dough that is very soft, almost like batter. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.

3. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl (or wash out the mixer bowl and use it), cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes, depending upon the warmth of your room.

4. Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap to the bowl. Cover the bowl with the plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. Slap the dough down in the bowl every 30 minutes until it stops rising, about 2 hours, then leave the uncovered dough in the refrigerator to chill overnight.

5. The next day, butter and flour two 8 1/2-x-4 1/2-inch pans.

6. Pull the dough from the fridge and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Cut each piece of the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into a log about 3 1/2 inches long. Arrange 4 logs crosswise in the bottom of each pan. Put the pans on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat, cover the pans lightly with wax paper and leave the loaves at room temperature until the dough almost fills the pans, 1 to 2 hours. (Again, rising time with depend on how warm the room is.)

7. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

8. To Make the Glaze: Beat the egg with the water. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the tops of the loaves with the glaze.

9. Bake the loaves until they are well risen and deeply golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the pans to racks to cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pans and turn the loaves out onto the racks. Invert again and cool for at least 1 hour.

(Source: Dorie Greenspan "Baking: From My Home to Yours" pages 48-50)