A golden, light-in texture, slighty puffy, French cake-like, yeast-risen pastry with a high egg and butter content giving it a rich and tender crumb.
2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cool water
4 large eggs plus 1 yolk for glaze
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
- Place 1 1/2 cups of the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, water and eggs into the pan of your bread machine. Beat at medium speed with electric mixer using a dough hook (or knead in the bread machine) until smooth. Cover the mixture and let it sit for 45 minutes. Bubbles will develop, but will not change very much due to the thinness of the batter.
- Add the remaining 1 cup of flour, and beat with electric mixer (or knead in the bread machine) for 8 to 10 minutes, until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl (or bread pan) and is shiny and elastic.
- Sprinkle a work surface with the 2 tablespoons of flour. Place the sticks of butter onto the flour. Pound the butter with the side of a rolling pin until it's become a rectangle about 1/4-inch thick. Fold it over several times as you pound; making it pliable without becoming too warm or soft. Add the butter to the dough and beat until it's fully incorporated.
- Cover the dough and allow it to rise for 1 hour. It will be very soft at this point, and should have risen by about one-third.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and fold it over several times. Place the dough into a greased bowl, cover the bowl, and refrigerate it for a minimum of 4 hours, and up to about 16 hours. The chilled dough will firm up considerably.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and form it into a round loaf. Work quickly, as the dough becomes very sticky as it warms. Place the rounded loaf into a 9-inch brioche pan. Cover the dough with a light cloth towel and allow it to rise for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until it's doubled and is crowned well over the top of the pan.
- Beat the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of water, and brush all exposed surfaces with the egg wash, being careful not to let the egg wash drip onto the edge of the pan, as the bread will stick to it. Using a very sharp knife, cut four slashes into the top of the loaf.
- Bake the brioche in a preheated 375°F (190°C) oven until it's golden brown, about 45 to 50 minutes. For alighter crust, tent it with aluminum foil after the first 20 minutes of baking.
- Remove the brioche from the oven and cool it in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn brioche out of the pan, and cool completely on a rack.
Makes 1 round loaf.
Adapted recipe from The Baking Sheet (r) (Vol. XI, No. 6, Autumn 2000 issue). The Baking Sheet is a newsletter published six times a year by The Baker's Catalogue (r), P.O. Box 876, Norwich, Vermont 05055. The Baking Sheet and The Baker's Catalogue are both registered trademarks of The Baker's Catalogue, Inc.