Classic buttery brioche

Brioche is a perfect brunch bread. Slightly sweet with eggs and plenty of dairy butter, it is delicious to eat straight out of the oven or with your favorite fruit spread.  Here's a wholesome recipe courtesy of Willowsford Farm.  

 

Makes 2, 9x5-inch loafs or 50 individual slider buns

INGREDIENTS
 
For the sponge:
2 ½ teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
1/2 cup whole milk (at room temperature)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
 
For the dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoon salt
5 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cold
 
For the egg wash:
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
 
COOKING INSTRUCTIONS
  1. For the sponge:  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the yeast, milk, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup flour and whisk to combine.  Cover and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  2. Using the paddle attachment, add the flour, then add the salt.  Add the 2 of the eggs and mix until they are absorbed.  At the remaining eggs one at a time, mixing in between additions until the egg is absorbed.
  3. Knead the dough with the paddle on medium speed for 5 minutes, scraping down the dough as needed. (You'll also need to hold down the mixer from time to time.)
  4. Continue with the paddle on medium speed and add the butter in 1-inch pieces, a few at a time, allowing the butter to incorporate before adding more.
  5. First rise:  Place the dough in an oiled bowl and turn the dough so that the top is coated with oil.  Cover and let rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
  6. Second rise:  Punch the dough down to deflate it.  Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight for maximum flavor.  (To save time, let the dough rise at room temperature for about an hour.)
  7. Shaping: Spray pans with pan spray.  Shape the dough into the desired shapes and place them in the pans.  (The pans should be approximately 1/2 full with dough.)
  8. Third rise or proof:  Cover the pans with a clean tea towel and let rise until double in size.  Dough that was refrigerated for the second rise will take about 1 1/2 to 2 hours depending on the size.  Dough that was at room temperature for the second rise will take 10 to 20 minutes depending on the size.
  9. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  10. In a small bowl, beat the egg and egg yolk.  Gently brush the proofed dough with the egg wash.
  11. Bake for 10 minutes and lower the temperature to 350 degrees.  Continue baking for 10 to 25 minutes, depending on the size, until well browned.
  12. Remove the brioche from the pans and cool on a rack.  

Bon appetiti!

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