Of the various kinds of baked and fermented breads I have never seen one like the Brioche!For one it uses eggs for all steps – starter,dough and finish and the eggs give it a lightness,texture and crumb which nothing can replicate!For all those of you who bake cakes with eggs you will swear by the lightness cakes with eggs have over eggless cakes.The eggs give the same lightness to this bread and its absolutely delicious – white and soft in the centre and a lovely golden crust envelopes it which is positive heaven to bite into!
There are 2 methods for making Brioche and I have selected the more difficult of the two so that once we get the hang of this we would be easily following method 2.This recipe is adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s book THE BREAD BIBLE
This recipe uses eggs and nothing else can be substituted as there is nothing like an “eggless brioche”
However taken into account that ingredients must be measured to the gram and exactly followed as mentioned!
Preparation Time : 2.5 days
Makes : 1 loaf
For the starter :
1/2 cup all purpose flour/maida
1 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tbsp water
1/4 tsp Instant yeast
1/4 tsp active dry yeast activated in 1 tbsp lukewarm water and 1 tbsp sugar
For the bread :
1 cup plus 1 1/2 tbsp all purpose flour/maida
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1 1/4 tsp Instant yeast
1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast activated in 2 tbsp lukewarm water and 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
113 gms (measure the quantity) unsalted butter – melted till soft
2 eggs – cold/refrigerated
For the glaze on top :
1 tbsp cream
Make the starter :
Mix all the ingredients and crack the egg into the mix.Use a food processor or stand mixer or in the absence of these a hand whisk and mix well for 2 – 3 minutes.Pour the starter into a big container as it will rise in volume and refrigerate for at least 8 – 10 hours.
Make the dough :
Take out the starter 2 hours before making the dough and pour it out in the mixing bowl.In another bowl mix the flour,salt,yeast and sugar and whisk well to combine.Sprinkle this mixture over the starter and keep the bowl covered for 2 hours or more till the starter bubbles through the flour.
Take the eggs directly from the refrigerator and crack them in.Mix well till the flour is well moistened.Knead for 10 minutes till smooth and there is a shine to the dough.However it will be very sticky and please do not add any flour to the dough as this is how Brioche should be.Ideally a for processor or stand mixer will make things much easier for you but I made it manually.Now add the butter 1 tbsp at a time mixing very well.The dough will cling to your fingers but as I said this is how Brioche should be!
Grease a bowl with butter or oil and put the sticky dough into it.Cover with clingfilm and let rise for 45 minutes – 1 hour.Refrigerate after this for 1 hour.
After the first hour of refrigeration,punch the risen dough back and refrigerate for a further 3 – 4 hours till firm.Lightly flour your countertop and take the cold dough onto it.Flatten into a rectangle and fold like and envelope.the vertical sides overlapping each other then the horizontal sides the same way.Roll into a cylinder and again flatten into a rectangle.Flour your hands if the dough sticks.Repeat the folding step 2 more times.Roll into a cylinder and put in the greased bowl.Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for 24 hours or till 3 days.
Make the bread :
Preheat oven to 200°C for 20 – 25 minutes.Prepare a loaf pan.Take out the cold dough from the refrigerator and repeat the folding step using very little flour on the countertop and over your hands.Roll it into a cylinder and put it into the loaf pan.Cover with clingfilm and let it rise in a warm place till it comes to the level of the pan.It will take 2 – 2.5 hours.
With a sharp knife or a pair of greased kitchen scissors make 3 diagonal cuts over the loaf.This helps the bread to stay in shape and not open up.
Mix the egg and cream together in a small bowl.Brush the top of the bread with one layer.Then after 5 minutes when the first layer dries up,brush another layer.Now the bread is ready yo go into the oven.
Bake for 15 – 17 minutes till a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.Take out the bread and keep it in the pan for 10 – 15 minutes.Then take it out on a wire rack to cool.
Serve warm with butter or jam.Makes great Garlic Breads,french toasts or breadcrumbs!
Served with butter..