Saturday, March 14, 2009

Brioche Bread

Just couple of days ago I posted the recipe for the brioche french toast, and I realized that it's not easy to get brioche bread in the grocery store or even bakery, for that matter. They just don't make it. Since I really want to make that french toast recipe tomorrow or on Monday, and it looks like I will be making Brioche bread tonight. Brioche is a type of enriched french bread, with high egg and butter content, and that is what gives the bread the rich taste. The outside is usually dark, and tender from the egg wash that is applied before baking. This type of bread is very popular in Europe, I remember my grandmother used to make brioche bread, it was always gone so fast - everybody loved it. Brioche can be made in many different forms: rolls, loafs and braided - which is what I remember from Poland. The delicate and little sweet flavor of braided brioche bread is what I am looking for right now. I researched for the right recipe on the net and there are several variations of them, but all of them consist of flour, water, yeast, sugar, eggs and butter!

The recipe I choose is by Barefoot Contessa - Ina Garten. She lived in Paris and I trust her with recipes. Let's say - everything I've made from her recipes is always outstanding.

1/2 cup warm water (110 to 120 degrees F)
1 package dried yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
6 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
4 1/2 cups unbleached flour
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk, for egg wash

Combine the water, yeast, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (If the bowl is cold, start with warmer water so it's at least 110 degrees when you add the yeast.) Mix with your hands and allow to stand for 5 minutes until the yeast and sugar dissolve. Add the eggs and beat on medium speed for 1 minute, until well mixed. With the mixer on low speed, add 2 cups of the flour and the salt and mix for 5 minutes. With the mixer still on low, add 2 1/4 more cups of flour and mix for 5 more minutes. Scrape the dough into a large buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

The next day, allow the dough to sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Meanwhile, grease 20 mini brioche tins. Set aside. {This recipe is for Brioche rolls, but you can make 2 loafs of bread, or any other shape you want}

Place the dough in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, add the softened butter in chunks, and mix for 2 minutes, adding additional flour as needed to make a ball. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and divide the dough into 20 (1 3/4-ounce) balls and place them in the tins. Cover the tins with a damp towel and set aside to rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. When the rolls have risen, brush the top of each with the egg wash and bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops spring back and it sounds slightly hollow when tapped. Turn the rolls out onto a wire rack to cool.

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