Brioche is a classic French enriched bread, usually enjoyed at breakfast. Rich, soft buttery brioche is the perfect vehicle for jam, honey, nutella, even more butter… or just on its own! Personally, I’m partial to tearing up a thick slice and dunking it my coffee.
I’ve been playing around with several brioche recipes to come up with this one. It comes together easily (although I’d recommend a stand mixer, because it takes a lot of mixing and kneading), the final dough is soft but manageable, and a long, slow proof gives it a rich flavour without being overly yeasty. I baked it in a loaf tin for easy slicing, but it just as easily makes a boule.
Makes 1 large loaf
40 minutes active time, about 12 hours resting all up, and 45 minutes baking time
35ml (7 tsp) tepid milk
10g (about 2/3 of a US cake) fresh yeast or 1 tsp dry active yeast
300g (2 2/5 cups) all-purpose (plain) flour
15g (1 rounded tbsp) granulated (white) sugar
3g (1/2 tsp) fine salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
175g (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tbsp milk, for egg wash
Heat the milk in a small bowl, add the yeast and stir to dissolve.
Put the flour, sugar and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and pour in the milk and beaten eggs. Mix on low speed for five minutes, until completely combined.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula, then mix at medium speed for about 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth.
Switch to a dough hook, and, with the mixer running at low speed, add the butter a teaspoon at a time. It will look very buttery at first, and will take about ten minutes for the butter to be completely incorporated.
When the butter is all incorporated, increase the speed and mix for about ten minutes, until the dough is very smooth and comes away from the bowl.
Remove the dough hook, cover the bowl with a damp towel and leave to rise in a warm place for about two hours, until the dough has doubled in size.
Knock the dough back by folding it over two or three times with a bowl scraper. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least six hours (overnight works well).
Remove dough from fridge and bring to room temperature for about 2 hours.
Heavily butter a 30cm (12″) loaf tin.
Scrape dough out onto work surface and knead gently into a ball, then stretch and roll into a log. Place dough in loaf tin and brush lightly with egg wash.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise for about 2 hours, until doubled in sized.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
Brush the brioche lightly again with egg wash. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 180°C (360°F) and bake for a further 30 minutes.
Let the brioche cool in the tin for five minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely before cutting.
Keeps for 2 – 3 days wrapped well in aluminium foil in the pantry.