Brioche Bread

Time for another foray back into the world of bread-baking!

Brioche is a classic French bread. Its main components are eggs and butter, and boy, is it rich. This baby has a whopping total of 9 eggs (including the egg wash egg), and a full cup of butter in the batter. It is not for the faint of heart.

I’ve been looking up recipes for Brioche for years. I’ve dabbled in the “Easy” the “Beginner’s” and “So-Good-It’s-Almost-Brioche” recipes. They’ve never been the winner for me.

This recipe has it all – I loved how easy it was to follow along. A lot of brioche recipes sounded quite confusing, or needed a ton of time, or just seemed too finicky. I mean, this recipe does take quite a bit of time. All of the prep time, the rising time, and the baking and cooling time adds up to quite a chunk of your day. I was always turned off by the amount of eggs that the dough uses.

But, I don’t know what happened. I was surfing around Pinterest last night, looking for a recipe, and BANG. This brioche recipe dropped into my lap. The picture pulled me in, and I read through Marta Antonia Rivera’s blog Sense and Edibility to find this recipe. 

Suddenly, brioche didn’t seem so daunting. And I had a sudden urge that YES, I want to make brioche.

So here we are.

Not going to lie, the recipe calls for bread flour, and I only have all purpose. I know, I know, bad baker, but we buy HUGE bags of all-purpose flour from Costco, so I can never quite justify going out and buying more flour than we already have. I bake a lot, okay?

Either way, I do not have the beautiful step-by-step pictures as the original recipe did, so if you want, head over to the site linked above and check out the step-by-step, and hopefully, brioche becomes easier to tackle because of today’s recipe!

I wish you could smell this bread through your computer screen. It is absolutely divine, and so soft! Trust me, go make this. It is completely worth the effort!

Ingredients

Yield: 2 loaves of bread

For the sponge:

¼ c. honey
2 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 c. milk, warmed to 110°F
1 c. flour

For the dough:

½ c. sugar
4 tsp. salt
8 eggs (large)
5¾ c. flour
1 c. butter, cut into tablespoons

For the egg wash:

1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp. water

To make the sponge, pour the milk into a large mixing bowl. Add the honey and yeast to the milk and allow the yeast to bloom for 5 minutes. If the yeast does not get bubbly and foamy, it is dead. Open a fresh pack of yeast, and try everything again.

Whisk the flour into the yeast mixture. The sponge should look like a thick cake batter.

Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Leave in a warm, draft-free spot (like the oven with the light turned on) to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

To continue making the dough, transfer the sponge to the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix in the eggs, sugar, and salt. After incorporating, the mixture should look like a smooth, thick batter.

Slowly add the remaining flour into the dough. If it gets too hard to incorporate with the paddle attachment, switch to the dough hook.

Once the flour is incorporated, add in the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time. Add the next 2 tablespoons only when the previous 2 are completely incorporated into the batter, and save the wrapper from your butter.

Once all of the butter has been incorporated into the dough, it should be soft, smooth, and pliable. Remove the dough from the bowl, and grease the bowl with the leftover butter on the wrappers. Discard the wrappers.

Return the dough to the bowl and turn to coat in the butter lining the bowl.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel, and allow to rise again in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Once the dough has finished rising, punch the dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured countertop. Divide in half.

Preheat oven to 375°F, and lightly grease two loaf pans.

Form the two halves of dough into logs roughly the same length as your loaf pans, and place them in the greased pans. Whisk together the egg and water of the egg wash and brush the loaves with the egg wash to prevent drying.

Place the pans in a warm, draft-free spot and allow to rise until the dough is about 1 inch away from the top of the pan. This should take 30 minutes to an hour.

Brush loaves again with egg wash, and if desired, cut the tops of the loaves into a decorative pattern.

Bake loaves in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

Remove pans from the oven, and allow bread to cool in pans for 10 minutes.

Remove bread from pans, and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and serving.

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Buttery Sourdough Buns


We all know how much I love bread and all things bread related. It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything sourdough, and I had a hankering to experiment with a recipe I’ve never tried before using sourdough.

I mean, my fall-back recipe using my sourdough starter are my Sourdough Soft Pretzels, except recently, I’ve been turning them into dinner by wrapping the dough around hot dogs and then proceeding with the recipe – BAM! Sourdough Pretzel Dogs.If you think that sounds good – seriously try it! It’s FANTASTIC! It’s also my new favourite way to eat hot dogs… and I was never a hot dog fan.

But, back to all things bread and buns. The great thing about bread and bun recipes are that they take so long. However, this is also the downfall. I can’t make a loaf of bread if I’ve got school, or if I’ll be out of the house all day. However, I got up this morning, Thanksgiving Monday, and thought “I need to use my sourdough starter”. I always love looking for recipes that use the unfed “discard” part of the starter – waste not, want not. This bun recipe was great, because it uses pantry staples (if your pantry, like mine, includes a sourdough starter) and didn’t take long to whip together. I was going to spend the day lounging around the house and getting some marking done anyways, so it was the perfect thing to make… also considering it just snowed overnight! Boo. 😦


Either way – I love bread, I love buns. I’m really and truly a carb fan. This recipe is simple, and the longest part is waiting for the buns to rise. Still, one more way to use my sourdough starter, and I’m fine with that!

Ingredients

Yield: 16 buns

½ c. sourdough starter (fed or unfed)
3 c. flour
2½ tsp. instant yeast
1 tbsp. sugar
1¼ tsp. salt
1 egg
5 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
2/3 c. lukewarm water

4 tbsp. butter, melted, for topping

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook, or by hand, combine all ingredients and knead until you get a soft, smooth dough.

Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 1½ – 2 hours.

Gently deflate dough and transfer to a lightly greased work surface. Roll and pat the dough into a rough rectangle about 12″ x 16″. Brush some of the melted butter over the surface of the dough.

Starting with the long side, roll the dough into a log. Cut 16 buns out of the dough log with a sharp knife or use dental floss. Lightly grease two 8 or 9 inch cake pans, and arrange 8 buns in each pan.

Cover the pans with a tea towel, and let rise for about 1 hour, until they are noticeably puffy. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350° F.

Uncover the buns, brush with remaining melted butter, and bake for 22-25 minutes. They may only darken on the top very slightly. Remove from the oven, and turn out onto a wire cooling rack. Serve warm or hot with more butter as desired. You can also save some of the melted butter to brush over the buns when they come out of the oven.