Brioche

Brioche

By
From
PS Desserts
Makes
one large double loaf
Photographer
Mark Roper

Brioche is a rich, buttery yeasted bread. I like to make the most of its buttery nature as a base in my Bread ’n’ Butter Pudding, where it transforms a classic comfort food from my childhood into an elegant dessert, or in the Pain Perdu. This recipe makes a good amount of brioche, but I’m sure you’ll find a use for it (and if not just store a loaf in the freezer).

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
15g fresh yeast, (see note)
70ml warm milk
6 eggs, at room temperature
500g plain flour
15g cooking salt
30g caster sugar
350g butter, softened, (see note)
eggwash, (see notes)

Method

  1. Making the dough

    Put the yeast and milk in a bowl and lightly whisk to combine. Add the eggs.
  2. Sift the flour and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment.
  3. Pour the yeast mixture into the flour and knead on medium speed until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. This will take about 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, work the sugar into the butter until pale and creamy.
  5. When the dough starts to come together as a lump on the hook and tears away from the side of the bowl, it’s time to add the butter mixture.
  6. Start adding the butter mixture, about 2 tablespoons at a time, making sure that each addition is completely combined before adding more.
  7. Once all the butter has been added, continue to mix for 5 minutes or until the dough is shiny and elastic.
  8. Place the dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave at about 24ºC for 2 hours.
  9. After 2 hours, the dough should have doubled in volume. (If it hasn’t, leave it to prove for a bit longer.)
  10. Flip the dough over your fingertips a couple of times to knock it back.
  11. This is how the dough should look after you have knocked it back. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours, but not more than 24 hours. This second proving is important as it firms the butter and makes the dough workable.
  12. Moulding the brioche to make four small single loaves

    Lightly spray your loaf tins with cooking oil spray.
  13. Place the dough on a work surface, dust lightly with flour and divide into four equal pieces.
  14. Working with one piece of dough at a time, using your fist, punch down the dough. Keep the other pieces covered with a tea towel.
  15. Form the dough into a rectangular shape, about 2 cm thick and measuring 20 cm x 15 cm.
  16. With one of the short edges closest to you, begin rolling up the dough.
  17. Tuck in the edges as you go to prevent the pastry from blooming out when it proves.
  18. Roll up to make a neat cylinder and push the seam together to seal.
  19. This is your completed loaf. Place the loaf, seam side down, into the prepared tin.
  20. Press the dough down firmly with your fist. Then, using your fingertips dipped in flour, push the edges of the loaf downwards. This ensures that the dough rises evenly and that there are no air pockets.
  21. Lightly brush the loaf with the eggwash. Cover the loaf with a clean tea towel and leave at about 24ºC until doubled in volume. This will take about 40 minutes at this temperature, but longer if cooler. Don’t be tempted to place proving loaves somewhere warm to speed up the process as the butter may begin to soften or even melt and this could ruin the final result.
  22. To bake

    Preheat the oven to 220ºC. Lightly brush the proved loaf again with eggwash.
  23. Bake the brioche for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 190ºC and continue to bake for a further 20 minutes.
  24. Cool the brioche in the tin briefly.
  25. Unmould the brioche and cool on a cooling rack.

Notes on butter for pastry

  • My colleagues, family and friends can attest to my obsession with butter. Butter is made from cream, right? Cream is white not daffodil yellow. Butter is a fresh food and should look and smell as such. It should have a faint, creamy, slightly sweet smell. If it is rancid, yellow and sour, I don’t use it.

    Buying

    Always check the use-by date on the pack and only use unsalted butter for pastry and baking.

    Using

    It’s important your butter is at a workable temperature when making pastry. None of my pastry recipes uses cold butter straight from the fridge. “Room temperature” butter is a tricky definition as it depends on the room.

Note

  • Brioche keeps well in the fridge, well wrapped, for several days or in the freezer for several months.

Eggwash

  • To make eggwash, beat 1 egg yolk with a dessertspoon of milk.

Yeast

  • Fresh yeast is available from bakeries and health food stores in the chilled section. You can substitute 10 g dried active yeast, added with the flour.
Tags:
PS
Desserts
Philippa
Phillipa
Sibley
sweet
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