Baking is one of my favorite pastimes. I enjoy baking cookies, cakes, breads, pies, muffins, cupcakes, and much more.
During the stay-at-home order, I decided to tackle a few recipes I hadn't tried making before. One of them was French brioche. I was inspired by the brioche my husband bought a few weeks ago, which I loved. It was soft, buttery, and sweet—perfect with a cup of coffee. I thought I'd like to try making this famous French bread at home.
Bread Requires Room-Temperature Ingredients
Here is a useful tip: Whenever you are baking bread, make sure all ingredients are at room temperature. It's essential to get the temperature right because bread baking requires precision. The day I was making the dough was perfect. It was sunny and warm. Warm temperatures help facilitate a nice rise for the dough.
Time-Consuming (But Worth It)
The process of making brioche dough is similar to making croissant dough. For example, the croissant dough, or détrempe, requires that you begin a day ahead of time, as it needs to be chilled overnight. It's the same for the brioche dough. The next morning, all I had to do was take it out of the fridge and continue with the next step in the recipe.
This process is a bit time-consuming, but you will be very pleased with the result. I did forget one step, however, which was the egg-washing step. I made sure to include the egg-washing step in the instructions below so that you won't forget!
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Warm Baked Goods Are the Best
These buns and loaves are so delicious that it is difficult to resist the temptation to eat one as soon as they come out of the oven. Try to wait until they cool down a bit, first! The texture of the buns and the loaves are amazingly perfect. It's soft and light, exactly as it is supposed to be. The next day, I sliced the brioche loaf to make French toast. They were delicious. I was so happy with the result.
Let's see the full ingredients.
- 4 1/2 cups bread flour (or all-purpose flour)
- 4 large brown eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup and 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or orange essence (optional)
- Egg wash, for brushing (2 egg yolks mixed with 2 tablespoons water or milk)
- Make the sponge: In a mixing bowl, combine 1 egg, 1 cup of flour, and milk. Combine the mixture evenly by using a spatula. The mixture will be very sticky. Set aside for at least 30 minutes.
- Transfer the mixing bowl with the sponge mixture to the stand mixer. Combine remaining eggs (lightly beaten), flour, sugar, salt, and vanilla essence. Attach the dough hook and start mixing at the medium speed for 10 minutes or until it's well-combined.
- Reduce the speed to combine the butter little by little into the mixture. Continue mixing at high speed for 10-15 minutes to combine. If the dough is still sticky add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time.
- Once the dough is formed, cover the dough with cling wrap and let it sit out for 2 hours or until it's double in size. Open the cling wrap and use a spatula or your finger and poke to let the air out from the dough.
- Wrap the bowl with cling wrap again and let it sit in the fridge overnight.
- The next day: Take chilled dough out of the fridge and turn it out on a baking mat or floured surface.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Now it's time to shape the loaf and the bun. For the buns, divide the dough into equal-sized balls (I made 12 balls). Transfer them into a prepared square pan and loosely cover with cling wrap.
- For the first loaf: Divide the dough into 8 equal-sized balls and transfer them into a prepared loaf pan and loosely cover with cling wrap.
- For the second loaf: Make 5 equal-sized balls, transfer them into another prepared loaf pan, and loosely cover with cling wrap.
- Let the dough proof for 2 hours before baking.
- Before putting the buns in the oven, brush the tops with the egg wash.
- Bake the buns and loaves for 30 minutes, or until they are golden brown on top.
- Transfer buns and loaves to a wire rack, and let cool completely.
- Use a serrated or bread knife to slice the loaf. Enjoy with butter, clotted cream, or jam.
© 2020 Liza