In Search of the Perfect Brioche

When I was working for 9 Bean Rows in trade for my CSA share, I became acquainted with brioche. If you’re not familiar, it is a flaky, buttery egg bread. When toasted and slathered with raspberry jelly it easily passes for a jelly donut and is probably just as bad for your diet.

Tired of spending $5 a loaf for the stuff, I decided to make it myself. I bake. It can’t be too difficult, right? Wrong. I tried to make a loaf and it turned out horribly. Dry. Almost crumbly. It was so bad that I didn’t even note which recipe I used. It was then that my quest for a decent recipe began.

I’m still working my way through recipes, but I thought I should keep you posted in case you, like me, are on a quest for The Perfect Brioche. This recipe wasn’t bad. I would actually consider trying it again on a day when I had more time because I rushed it a little and that could have affected the final product. The texture was right, but it was dry. How can ANYTHING with almost a pound of butter in it be dry??  As a dinner roll, the bread was okay. It fared much better as toast, but its real redeeming quality was that it made the best french toast ever. Another plus? This recipe doesn’t require the shaping of loaves, you just dump the dough into a pan or muffin tins and let it rise.

This recipe is from Emeril Lagasse’s Lousiana Real and Rustic.

Brioche

Starter
3 envelopes (6 3/4 tsp.) yeast
1/2 C. warm milk (about 110°)
1 C. flour

Combine the yeast and milk.
Stir to dissolve the yeast.
Add flour; mix well.
Let sit in a warm, draft-free place 2 hours.

Dough

4 C. flour
6 eggs
1/2 C. warm water (about 110°)
3 T. sugar
2 t. salt
3 sticks butter at room temperature plus extra for greasing pans
1 egg yolk, beaten

  1. Put 2 cups of flour into a large mixing bowl. Add 4 eggs, one at a time beating thorougly with a wooden spoon after each.
  2. Add water, sugar and salt. Mix well.
  3. Add three sticks of butter and mix in with your hands until it is well blended.
  4. Add remaining two eggs and mix well.
  5. Add remaining flour. Mix well and break up any clumps of flour.
  6. Knead the starter into the dough with your hands. Continue kneading until well mixed; about 5 minutes. The dough will be sticky and moist.
  7. Cover with a clean damp cloth and let rise in a warm, draft-free place 2 hours.
  8. Butter two 9″ x 5″ x 3″ loaf pans or two standard 12-muffin pans.
  9. Punch dough down lightly and divide into baking pans.
  10. Brush tops with egg yolk.
  11. Cover and let rise until double, about an hour.
  12. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  13. Bake loaves 25-30 minutes or muffins 20 minutes until tops are golden.
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2 Comments

Filed under 101 in 1001, food

2 responses to “In Search of the Perfect Brioche

  1. Yum I love brioche. I haven’t found a brioche loaf that I’ve mastered yet but I’ve made these brioche buns a few times and they’re a mess, but really tasty. http://www.shesimmers.com/2009/05/how-to-make-brioche-hamburger-buns.html

  2. Melissa Wilson

    you should try frying some of that brioche dough sometime. it makes gooooooooood doughnuts :D

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