Once the holiday season starts, so does my baking special breads. Brioche is one favorite bread in our household, because it is similar to the Filipino ensaymada. Brioche is a specialty bread. It is sweet flavored and yellow-colored because it has butter and eggs in its dough. The exquisite light, fluffy quality is unlike anything else.
I’ve been in search of the best brioche recipe and found an easy to follow one in the White Dog Café cookbook . Like the ensaymada recipe I bake, this brioche dough needed to be refrigerated overnight. Patience is a key ingredient when baking brioche. The ingredients are easy to find. But the process, though lengthy, is easy. And once baked, the rewards are immense.
When the loaf came out of the oven, the brioche was golden and perfect. The buttery aroma was all over the household. The brioche loaf slices were moist and flavorful the first and second day. But by the third through the fourth day, the brioche’s texture was just perfect for making French toast and a superb bread pudding. And for Thanksgiving, this was exactly what I baked.
Brioche Bread Loaf
- 3 Tablespoons whole milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 Tablespoon and 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 3 whole pieces eggs
- 3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 13 Tablespoons cut into 1-inch cubes, room temperature butter (unsalted)
- 1. Warm the milk to about 110 F (should feel warm enough to the touch). Pour the milk into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the yeast and the 1 and ½ teaspoon sugar and stir to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes to proof.
- 2. Add the eggs to the bowl. Mix with a dough hook if you have one, or standard beaters on low speed for 1 minute. Sift together 2 cups of the flour, the salt, and the remaining 1 Tablespoon sugar.
- 3. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough forms a ball that cleans the sides of the bowl, 4 to 6 minutes. Continuing on low speed, add the butter cubes, 1 at a time, waiting until each cube is fully incorporated before adding another. Mix for 2 minutes more; the dough will be loose, not stiff. Slowly add the remaining cup of flour, and beat until the dough cleans the side of the bowl again. Transfer the dough to a large buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
- 4. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. It will have risen slightly overnight. Punch down the dough and press it into a buttered 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Cover with a towel and set the pan in a warm, draft-free spot to rise until it is twice the original size, for 2 to 3 hours.
- 5. About 15 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350 F.
- 6. Bake on the middle rack of the oven until cooked though and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. The loaf will pull away from the sides of the pan when it is done. Turn the loaf out of the pan and let cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Use immediately or wrap tightly and refrigerate for a few days, or freeze for up to 2 weeks.
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