Brioche Loaves

Fresh BriocheFrom a Croque Norvegien to an ABB&M, I’ve been in sandwich mode recently.  Which got me thinking.  Instead of running out and grabbing a new loaf of bread, maybe I could make my own.

I settled on brioche, a butter- and egg-enriched yeast bread, French in origin.  Yet, despite its French origins, the French put their brioche in the viennoiserie basket.  Unlike something in the bread basket, a viennoiserie (meaning “in the Viennese style”) boasts the addition of eggs, butter, milk, cream, or sugar, which gives it a pastry-like character.

Cooling Brioche

Viennoiseries are leavened, often layered, and commonly served in the morning.  Beyond brioche, examples include croissants, apple turnovers, pain au chocolat , pain aux raisins, and chouquettes.  When pain au chocolat and a hot tea greet you in the morning, not even a Paris subway strike can dampen your mood.

Before Marie Antoinette uttered her fateful words, Jean-Jacques Rousseau spoke of another “great princess”  (possibly Maria Theresa, the wife of the Sun King, Louis XIV) confronted with a peasantry yearning for bread.  “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche,” she said.  “Let them eat brioche.”

I second that.

Brioche Loaves

Recipe from Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris.

PREP TIME: Requires chilling the dough overnight
COOK TIME: 2 hours of self-rising, 45 minutes of baking
YIELD: 2 loaves or 24 slices

WHAT TO GRAB:
1 package dried yeast
1/2 cup hot water (Must be between 100 and 120 degrees)
3 tablespoons sugar
6 eggs at room temperature
4 1/4 cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 cup butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk, for the egg wash

Brioche Collage

HOW YOU DO IT:

PREPPING THE DOUGH

1. Combine the water, yeast, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment.  Make sure the bowl is not cold – the yeast will only react if the water is between 100 and 120 degrees.  Mix these ingredients with your hands, and allow it to sit for 5 minutes, until the yeast and sugar are dissolved.

2.  Add the eggs and beat on medium speed for 1 minute, until well mixed.  On low speed, add 2 cups of flour and the salt, and mix for 5 minutes.  Still on low speed, add another 2 cups of flour, and mix for another 5 minutes.   Add the butter in batches, and mix for 2 minutes.  With the mixer still on low speed, add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour.  Switch the paddle attachment to a dough hook, and mix on low speed for a final 2 minutes.*

*Do not feel compelled to go out and buy a fancy mixer.  I decided to do all my mixing and beating by hand.

3.  Scrape the dough into a large, buttered bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

TIME TO SELF-RISE AND SHINE

4.  The next day, allow the dough to sit at room temperature for about 45 minutes.  Meanwhile, grease two 8½ x 4½ x 2 ½–inch loaf pans.

5.  Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board.  Cut the dough in half, and pat each half into a 6×8-inch rectangle.  Roll up each rectangle into a cylindrical loaf.  Place each loaf, seam side up, into a greased pan.  Cover the pans with a damp towel, and allow them to self-rise for to 2 to 2 1/2 hours.  They should almost double in size.

BUNS IN THE OVEN

6.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Remove the towels, and lightly brush the top of each loaf with the egg wash.  Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top springs back and the loaf sounds slightly hollow when tapped.

7.  Turn the loaves out onto a wire rack until completely cool.  Then slice and serve!

Close up

SUGGESTIONS

Brioche makes an excellent Banana French Toast.  It can also be used for bread pudding. Speaking of desserts, if you add 2 cups of chocolate chips after Step 2, you can have Chocolate Chip Brioche (Brioche aux Pépites de Chocolat): a perfect treat in its own right!

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11 responses to “Brioche Loaves

  1. Your loaves look great. When we make bread, they taste good, but don’t look good. Oh well. 🙂 You can also make some great mini bread puddings with brioche…

  2. Wow, for your first foray into yeast baking, this result is seriously impressive. Not that I’m surprised.

    You can safely assume that I’ll request brioche upon my return to STL. ❤

  3. Excellent! That will give me a chance to try the chocolate chip brioche.

  4. mmm that looks so wonderful and buttery

  5. “They should almost…” what? Seems to be a phrase missing there…..

  6. Oops! I have egg(-enriched yeast bread) on my face. Problem fixed!

  7. Just discovered your site, and I am enjoying looking through the recipes. I have the book “Barefoot in Paris”, and this is one of the few recipes I’ve yet to try. After seeing this post, I want to make a few loaves right away. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Thanks so much for this post. I am trying this recipe blind at the moment, and was a little perplexed when I saw the dough quite wet after letting it sit on room temperature for 1 hour (Ina’s recipe specified that as such) and had somehow shaped it and put in the loaf pan.
    Seeing your images had assured me I have done it correctly so far. Hope the rest is as smooth as yours.

    ps: I happen to already have a KitchenAid, so the entire process last night was a breeze, but I’m with you that it could’ve been easily done by hand.

  9. Found this recipe on Gojee and my husband & I just baked it today… we used all whole wheat flour and the loaves only had to bake for about 25 minutes on 350. They turned out so fluffy and super delicious!

  10. Glad you liked the loaves!

  11. They were delicious. Thank you

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