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Brioche: My Go-To Bread Recipe

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There are so many bread recipes out there, and I have tried dozens of them over the years. They all have their place but I find myself returning to my stand-by recipe over and over again. This egg bread is sometimes called brioche or challah (although true kosher challah does not contain butter). Whatever you choose to call it, give it a try! It’s an extremely versatile dough. It makes great sandwich bread, nice shaped specialty loaves, and wonderful cinnamon rolls!

Brioche: The Recipe

The best part about this recipe is that the ingredients are probably all in your pantry most of the time!

Easy steps to homemade brioche

Ingredients:

6 Tbs. butter                                      1 Cup water

5 ½ Cups flour                                    ¼ Cup sugar

2 Tbs. yeast                                        2 tsp. salt

4 eggs + 1 yolk                                   1 egg white

  1. Gently heat water and butter to about 98-100 degrees
  2. In large mixing bowl (or bowl of stand mixer), add warmed water and butter, 2 Cups of flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Beat until dough is stiff and stringy looking—about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add eggs one at a time until combined. Mix well for about 5-7 minutes. Mixture should be nice and yellow in color and the consistency of thick pancake batter.
  4. Blend in all but ½ Cup of the remaining flour. Mix until dough forms and pulls away from the sides of the bowl (and climbs dough hook if you’re using a stand mixer).
  5. Dump onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, adding in the last ½ Cup of flour as needed.
  6. Transfer to oiled glass bowl, cover with clean, damp towel, or plastic wrap.
  7. Sit in draft-free spot and allow dough to rise until doubled.
  8. Transfer to lightly floured bowl, cut dough in half and shape into loaves or rolls.
  9. Cover and allow dough to rise until almost doubled.
  10. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove loaves and brush with egg white. Return to oven for 8-15 minutes or until golden brown and hollow sounding (may take slightly longer for sandwich loaves).

My favorite bread-making tool is a dough scraper! It’s great for lifting dough, scraping your dough board, and cutting dough into portions. It’s what I use to cut my cinnamon rolls.

Brioche Cinnamon Rolls

The sweet rich flavor of this brioche dough makes it perfect for sweet rolls. This is my family’s favorite dough for homemade cinnamon rolls. After the first dough rise, cut the dough into two pieces. Roll one piece of dough into a rectangle about ¼ inch thick. Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon mixture. Starting from the longer edge, roll into a log. Cut log into about 1” slices. Place the slices into a baking pan leaving about ½” of space between slices. Allow to rise until the slices are touching. Bake @ 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Top with your favorite frosting or glaze recipe.

Let rolls rise overnight in refrigerator. Bake them off in the morning!

I sometimes put these in a pan, cover with plastic wrap and go straight into the refrigerator with them. They will rise very slowly overnight in the fridge. Take them out in the morning while the oven preheats and you make a pot of coffee. Don’t they smell great?!

You can also freeze these cinnamon rolls before the second rise. Pull a batch out of the freezer before bed. They’ll thaw and rise overnight and be ready to bake when you get up! I’ve done this and given them frozen as Christmas gifts to family and friends on Christmas Eve.

Left-Over Brioche

Is there such a thing? Not at my house—we all love bread too much! So once in a while I make a batch just to make ‘left-over’ recipes.

  • Brioche Toast—while not strictly a left-over bread recipe, I just need to mention this. Brioche makes amazing toast! Lightly crispy and the texture is perfect for holding more butter or plenty of your favorite apple butter, pumpkin butter, or jam.
  • Brioche French Toast—Cut loaf into nice, thick slices. Soak bread slices in a mixture of 2 beaten eggs, ½ cup half and half, and a pinch of sugar. (This will be enough for 3-4 slices of bread.) Fry in a lightly oiled skillet on med high heat until lightly browned on both sides. The trick to crispy French toast without burning—after you’ve browned both sides, place in single layer on a baking sheet in a warm oven (200 degrees) while you fry the rest of the toast. The oven will finish cooking and drying the inside without burning the outside. Yum! Crunchy outside, creamy inside.
  • Brioche Bread Pudding—you’ll often see this recipe listed in indexes as Baked French Toast. Essentially it is similar. The difference is one is fried, the other baked. This works best with slightly stale bread (which we hardly ever have!). Cut the bread into large cubes—they don’t need to perfect or even. Lay them out to dry for an hour or so. Layer them in an 8 X 8 square baking dish. Make a mixture of 4 beaten eggs, 2 cups half and half, ½ cup sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, cinnamon to taste. Pour egg mixture over bread. You want the bread to really soak up the egg mixture—press bread lightly to make sure it all is in contact. Allow to sit for 20 minutes. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes. Top will be browned and crispy with a creamy interior. Try mixing fruit or nuts in with the bread before baking.

While I will probably never be a master baker, I get by well enough. I remember well how anxious I was when I attempted my first loaf. After I got that first one under my belt, I wondered what all the fuss had been about. Yeast bread really is very easy to make! Don’t be intimidated–be adventurous and give it a try. I just finished reading this book, One Dough, Ten Breads by Sarah Black (yes, I read cookbooks as if they were novels!), and I highly recommend it. The author is very good at explaining how to use all 5 senses to really understand your dough.

Share your bread-baking successes and failures with us! I’ll soon be sharing my ‘fail’ with capturing my own wild yeast to make a sourdough starter!

 

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