Brioche loaf

After making liège waffles, which is essentially brioche-dough based, I was thinking about trying my hand at making brioche bread.  I happen to see a tutorial at The Kitchn just as I was thinking this so it was meant to be.
Aside from the waffles, I have just a little experience with brioche dough from making Smitten Kitchen's chocolate chip brioche pretzels, but I wanted to make a straightforward loaf so that's what I endeavored to do.  I'm pretty happy with what I ended up with.   
Going into any kind of bread-making, I never know what to expect so I try not to expect too much!  And when the yeast actually rises, the steps fall into place, the bread bakes up, and you end up with a fresh loaf of bread - in this case, a rich, buttery, sweet bread (just like it's supposed to be) - it's a very satisfying feeling.
We enjoyed our loaf of brioche plain, toasted, with a little jam, all by itself, and...as French toast.  I added a little orange zest to the custard and served the French toast with some strawberries, which I've been buying a ton of lately.

I made a basic brioche loaf but you can shape the dough into rolls or make the classic "brioche a tete", which is like individual brioche rolls with that signature "head" on top.  The original recipe makes 2 loaves but I divided the recipe in half to make one and (luckily) it worked well.
You need time and a little patience to make brioche bread.  Plan at least a day ahead since the dough needs to rise a few times, including an overnight rest in the refrigerator.  While making the dough, the key is thoroughly incorporating a bit of the butter at a time.  The stand mixer does all the work, really.  When you're done, you have this soft, glossy dough, as shown above.  After the first rise of about an hour and a half, it should double and firm up a bit (below).
Now, you need to let the dough rise again overnight (or up to 2 days) in the refrigerator.  Then, remove it from the fridge and pat it out into a rectangle.  Divide the dough into 6 balls (in the case of my half-recipe, or for one loaf).  Tuck 6 dough balls into a greased loaf pan.
As you can see, I had some empty space in my loaf pan and was concerned about the dough not rising enough to reach the top of the pan or spreading to fill in the gaps...but it did!
About 1 1/2 to 2 hours later, the dough rises significantly and is ready to be brushed with egg wash and baked.
It goes into a preheated 350 degree oven and bakes for 30-40 minutes, until it reaches an internal temperature of 190 degrees.  If your loaf puffs up a lot during baking (and mine did), take it out and give it another light brush of egg wash all around so you have an evenly glossy top.  
I actually think my loaf turned out a tad too dark.  I tented the top with a piece of foil at the last few minutes of baking when I tested the temperature and it wasn't yet quite done; I should have tented it a bit earlier but I guess I'll settle for my deep mahogany loaf.  
The bread is so rich and buttery - it's nice to enjoy it very simply.
And that was my little brioche loaf-making journey!

Recipe:

Brioche Loaf Bread
From recipe and tutorial @ The Kitchn

- Makes 2 standard 8x4 inch loaves (I divided the recipe in half to make 1 loaf) - 

1/2 pound (16 tablespoons; 2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup water or milk (I used lukewarm water, about 110 degrees)
1/4 cup sugar
6 large eggs
2 teaspoons salt
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for the glaze

Place yeast and water into bowl of a stand mixer and allow yeast to dissolve for a few minutes.  Add sugar and eggs, stirring until eggs are broken up.  Add salt and 4 cups of the flour.  Stir until a shaggy, floury dough forms.

Using the dough hook on your stand mixer, knead dough for 2 minutes on low speed, until flour is incorporated and dough comes together in a fairly smooth ball.  Increase speed to medium and start adding butter, one tablespoon at a time.  Allow each tablespoon of butter to be fully incorporated into the dough before adding the next. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. 

Once all the butter has been added, continue to beat the dough for about another 5 minutes, until all the butter is incorporated.  At this point, the dough should look supple, glossy, and jiggle slightly when you move the bowl.  Cover the bowl loosely and let dough rise in a warm spot for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until roughly doubled in bulk.  

Once doubled, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (or up to 2 days).  Letting the dough rest in the refrigerator will improve the flavor and make it easier to work with.  (It will rise some more in the refrigerator; if it looks like it might spill over the sides of your bowl, lift the edges to degas it a bit but do not punch down.)

Grease 2 loaf pans.  Turn chilled dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat it into a rectangle.  Divide dough into 12 equal pieces.  Roll each into a ball.  Tuck 6 balls of dough into each loaf pan, staggering them slightly to create a bit of a braided look.

Cover the loaf pans loosely and let rise 1 1/2 to 2 hours in a warm spot.  Let them rise until about doubled in size and the dough looks pillowy and begin to peek over the top of the pan.  (It's better to under-proof rather than over-proof these loaves so bake them when you begin to think they're ready.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees about 1/2 hour before you think the loaves will be ready, when dough has risen to near the top of the pans.  

Whisk egg yolk and water together and use this to glaze the tops of the loaves.  Try not to leave any drips in the corners or bottom of the pans.  Bake loaves in the middle rack of the oven for 30-40 minutes, until internal temperature of the bread is 190 degrees.  If the bread rises significantly during baking, remove them from the oven and give them another light glaze all around so you have evenly glossy loaves.  (If the tops of your bread are getting too dark but not yet done, tent it loosely with a piece of foil.)

Let loaves cool for 5 minutes or so in their pans before turning out and placing on a wire rack to cool completely.  





32 comments:

  1. Monica, this is unreal! Such a gorgeously baked loaf- so soft and just dying to be slathered with butter and jam or made into French toast. Seriously drooling over here :)

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  2. This is such a beautiful loaf Monica!! I am loving the colour on the top.

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    1. I thought I should have tented the top for a few extra minutes...it was starting to get really dark...but I'm happy with it. : )

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  3. So beautifully golden brown and soft! Totally irresistible!

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    1. I'm happy I gave it a try. Thanks, Angie.

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  4. This turned out so perfect!! My bread never looks this good! LOL

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    1. No way! I'm sure yours are far better. I never know what I'm going to get and I'm usually just happy as long as it rises and tastes alright! ; )

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  5. Hi Monica, your brioche turned out perfectly, love the color and the texture. The jam looks beautiful too.

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    1. Thanks so much, Cheri. I'm glad I tried it.

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  6. I've never made brioche but it has been on my list forever! You are my hero - this is a gorgeous, perfect loaf of deliciousness. Craving french toast now!

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    1. Oh boy, I could never be your hero, Tricia! But thank you for the kind words. I have a couple of slices tucked away in the freezer so maybe there's more French toast in our future. Enjoy your new granddaughter!! xo

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  7. WOW! That looks gorgeous. I am in love with color and the texture!

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  8. Oh Monica you are making me soooo hungry for breakfast right now!!! haha Bread baking is one of my favorite relaxing activities ... and this loaf! I've never done brioche before ... must try this soon!

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    1. I would find bread-making relaxing if it didn't stress me out a little! haha!
      I wish I could get really comfortable with it but for the most part, I'm holding my breath (unless it's ultra simple/well-tested like the English muffin bread). But making bread does give you a different kind of satisfaction than baking a cake or some cookies. All good though! Have a great Easter, Ashley.

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  9. I love brioche and yours looks amazing!

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    1. I have to admit I've never been a big fan of brioche but lately, I'm totally getting it. It's a beautiful thing to savor.

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  10. I've always been intimidated by brioche, but yours looks wonderful. Great loaf!

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    1. Same here, Beth, but for me, I've been intimidated by brioche and bread-baking in general (and many other things, if we're to be honest)! It's great when a recipe works out.

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  11. Love brioche! Wish I had a couple slices to go with my coffee!

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    1. Making bread is the coolest - you can always use it, right! : )

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  12. Wow! This is just a perfect looking broiche bread, Monic. This is dinner time and I am craving for breakfast now! :)

    Anu
    http://www.mygingergarlickitchen.com/

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  13. I have never manage to make a brioche :-( Yours is so beautiful...

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    1. I'm always crossing my fingers when it comes to working with yeast. : )

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  14. What a gorgeous loaf of bread! I am going to visit my mom in a week and I always bring her a few baked treats. I am so yeastaphobic,but brioche bread is my mother's favorite. For my mom (and for the potentially beautiful bread) I am going to try this!

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    1. If ever the words of "...if I can do it, you definitely can..." should hold true, this is one of those instances. The recipe makes 2 loaves and sounds like that'd work even better for you. It's not hard at all...just all that rocking of the mixer as the butter gets slowly worked into the dough. Just think how happy your mom will be. ; )

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  15. Wow!! It really looks like your brioche came together perfectly. I'm enamored by the golden loaf top and the soft inside. There's nothing I love more than a delicious homemade brioche bread, and I really want to try it out in my own kitchen now!

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    1. Thanks - I'm happy if I inspired you in some small way. Have some brioche for me soon. ; )

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  16. Brioche is my favorite bread! That buttery and sweet soft cloud.... Yours look just how I would imagine! I have failed a few bread making attempts. But you know what? I have to try this! Hopefully I won't mess up anything this time. Wish me luck!

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    1. I hope you do try it. I can't imagine you not succeeding. Your standards are just much higher than mine! ; ) Good luck and have fun.

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