Brioche

One of the richest breads you can possibly make as it includes large amounts of butter and eggs, this is also one of the tastiest. Brioche is a staple food for brunches. It isn’t difficult to make, but can be a little messy. You can shape brioche in several forms. One of the traditional forms is in a brioche mould, with a little “head” of brioche on top. You can also, as I have done in this recipe, fill a springform or loaf tin with the little brioche balls, which will rise and bake together into a tear-and-share.

Ingredients:

  • 500gr bread flour
  • 50gr sugar
  • 10gr dried yeast
  • 10gr salt
  • 7 eggs (350gr, without shells. Use leftover egg for the egg wash)
  • 250gr butter, cold and cubed

Makes 1 large loaf or 16 rolls

Recipe:

Combine the dry ingredients together. Add the eggs and combine with a wooden spoon until a coherent dough forms. Tip the contents of the bowl out on your work surface and clean the bowl out with a dough scraper. Work the dough until the gluten have developed and you can stretch the dough to form thin, see-through membranes. For details on kneading and the gluten membranes, see the White Bread recipe or the Techniques section.

When the gluten have developed, the dough will have become much less sticky. This is the time to add the cubes of butter. Knead the butter into the dough until it is well combined and the dough is smooth.
Place the dough back into the mixing bowl. Cover the bowl and leave to rise until doubled in size. As the dough is so rich, the yeast is retarded and rising will proceed slower.

Now, many recipes say you should knock back the dough, form it into a ball and leave it to rise again overnight before forming it into the final stage. I leave out this step. It is up to you to decide whether or not you want to do an extra rising stage (bread does usually turn out somewhat better with an extra, long rise), but I am very happy with the results with just 1 rise. It also depend on when you want to serve the bread. Leaving the dough to rise overnight will give you the benefit of being able to provide very fresh brioche for brunch the next day.

Divide the dough into 16 equal balls. I do this by forming the dough into a tight ball and cutting it into wedges with a dough scraper. You start with cutting the dough into equal quarters and then each piece in half and then in half again.
Form each piece into a tight ball. You can do this the easiest way by pushing out the dough, then folding the sides into the center until it’s a tight dough. Flip the ball over. Shape your hand into an open claw, with your fingers pointing down and slightly inwards. Place your hand over the dough as to form a cage. Move your hand in circles over the countertop, effectively rolling the ball of dough around in its cage. You will get quite handy and quick in this with practise.
Place the balls into a buttered springform tin with a diameter of 25cm. If you work in a symmetrical way, your bread will turn out symmetrical too (so place 4 balls along the sides at 90 degree intervals, place 2 balls in between each balls, 8 in total. Position the last 4 balls in a square in the center).
Cover the springform loosely and leave to rest until the brioche is doubled in size. Due to the dough being very rich, this may take up to double the time of a regular loaf.

Brush the brioche with egg wash. Be gentle, you don’t want to push down the dough.
Bake the brioche for 40 minutes on 180°C.

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