Friday, August 27, 2010

To Brioche or not to Brioche...

What, you ask, is brioche? I'm not a particular fan of Wikipedia, but check them out for the basics on this very rich bread. This recipe comes to us from family in Yakima, Washington. I'm taking tonight's recipe straight from the guest cook. No's Friday, after all.


1 pkg. active dry yeast (1 tablespoon)
1/2 c. warm water
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/4 t. salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour, unsifted
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 Tablespoon milk

In a large bowl, dissolve yest in water. Stir in sugar, salt, and eggs. Cut butter or margarine into small pieces and add to liquid. Gradually beat in 3 1/3 cups flour, mixing until flour is evenly moistened and dough holds together. Shape into a ball and place on a floured board. (I use a pastry cloth on the dining table--the table is lower than the counter and that gives better leverage.) Knead until smooth and satiny (5 - 20 minutes), adding flour as needed to prevent sticking. (Start w/ 3 1/2 cups, use the last half cup in the kneading process....)

Punch dough down and knead briefly on a lightly floured board to release air. Divide in half and shape each half into a round loaf. Place loaves on lightly greased baking sheets; press down each loaf until it is doubled (about 45 minutes).

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 24 - 30 minutes or until crust is light brown and loaves sound hollow when tapped. Cool and racks. Makes 2 loaves.

Stir, or knead on floured board to release air. Shape dough and back according to directions for brioche a tete or petite brioches, following.

For brioche a tete, pinch off a sixth of the brioche dough and set it aside. Shape large portion into a smooth ball by pulling surface of dough to underside of ball.

Set ball, smooth side up, in a well-buttered 9-inch diameter fluted brioche pan or a 2/quart round baking pan. Press dough down to fill pan bottom evenly. Shape small piece of dough into a teardrop shape that is smooth on top. With your finger, poke a hole in center of large dough portion through to pan. Nest pointed end of small piece into hole--settle it securely, or topknot will pop off at an angle during baking.

Cover w/plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until doubled (1 - 2 hours).

With a very soft brush, paint surface of brioche with egg yolk mixture; do not let mixture accumulate in joint of topknot. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven (325 for glass pan) for about 1 hour or until well browned and bread begins to pull away from sides of pan. Let stand for 5 minutes; then carefully invert to remove from pan. Turn upright and serve warm, or let cool on rack and serve at room temp.

Parting comments from today's guest cook:

I think challah is much nicer: lots of egg, but lighter. Brioche has a certain glamour: fiction scenes set in France describe characters dipping their brioche in coffee...At least, I've read that this summer. Who wants a bread that needs dipping like a biscotti?

Stay Tuned....for Karl's famous pretzels tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment