Bake Club: Brioche
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Bake Club: Brioche
Yield: Makes 1 loaf
1 packet active dry yeast
⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon water, warmed to “bath” temperature
1 tablespoon sugar
4 ea large eggs, out of the fridge
3 cups flour (half bread flour if you have it!)
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
12 Tablespoons butter, out of the fridge, cut into small pieces (1 ½ sticks)
1 ea large egg for egg wash
+stand mixer is a MUST in this recipe (the heat of your hands will melt all the butter in the recipe otherwise!)
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together yeast and warm water until yeast is dissolved and bubbly. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of sugar, stirring until dissolved. Let mixture sit a few minutes to “wake up”
Whisk in the eggs until combined. Add the flour, the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar and salt with the dough hook in hand, bring the mixture together to a shaggy state. Secure the bowl on the mixer with the dough hook attachment and mix on low speed until the mixture comes together into a clean mass of dough, about 2 minutes.
Set a timer for 7 minutes and allow the dough to continue kneading on low speed for the entire time to maximize gluten development.
At 7 minutes, begin adding the butter pieces, a few at a time, being sure pieces are incorporated before adding more. This takes 10-15 additional minutes. The dough will begin crawling up the hook and/or stick to the sides of the wall. In either case, turn off the mixter and scrape down before continuing on. I usually have to stop and scrape down 5-7 times. Once all of the butter is fully incorporated, the dough will be consistently rich in a yellow/orange color, glossy from the eggs and butter, and also a bit “sticky” to the eye and touch. (If you’re concerned about gluten formation, pull a small ball away from the dough mass and stretch it out into a spider web thinness to observe gluten strands. I’ll show you this as we bake together!)
Lightly grease a medium bowl with oil or the butter paper and knock the brioche dough out into it. Cover with plastic and refrigerate 12 hours for flavor development and easy handling. I call this “overnight”, but feel free to split over an am/pm baking sesh.
On day 2, grease and flour a 1-lb loaf pan. Knock the dough out onto a clean and lightly floured surface. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a 8x5-inch rectangle (longwise facing you), then roll the dough up (think cinnamon bun technique!) into a perfectly eggy, buttery log.
Tuck the tails of the log and place dough prepped pan, seam down. Cover with a towel or the same plastic wrap from the fridge and place in microwave on off for 2 hours where the dough will rise above the pan (but not double in size like traditional bread dough).
Heat the oven to 375F (this bread’s calling card includes a very toasty brown ring round its edge) and make sure you have a single rack ready that’s not too close to the bottom or top heat source of your oven. Whisk an additional egg with a splash of water to make egg wash and brush or massage the surface of the dough loaf with the mixture (this will produce the most marvelous glossy shine out of the oven!) and bake loaf for 60 minutes (or internal temp 195-200F). 50 minutes in, when the bread is close to finished, I like to carefully remove it from the pan and knock on it- looking for a hollow sound like choosing a cantaloupe and leave the loaf to finish its final 10 minutes out of it’s pan.
Cool loaf out of pan completely, 6 hours or so, before slicing or wrapping to share. If you cut in too soon, the steam still trapped inside will make the bread gummy, or wrap it too soon and the steam will make the outer crust soggy.
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