Soft, light and buttery bread
Time to prepare:
Time to cook:
Ingredients (10 persons):
THE SPONGE1⁄3 cup warm whole milk (100- 110 degrees F)2 1⁄4 teaspoons active dry yeast1 large egg2 cups unbleached all-purpose flourTHE DOUGH1⁄3 cup sugar1 teaspoon kosher salt4 large eggs, lightly beaten, room temp1 1⁄2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (approx)6 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
How to prepare:
- Put the milk, yeast, egg and 1 cup of the flour in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer.
- Mix the ingredients together with a rubber spatula, mixing just until everything is blended.
- Sprinkle over the remaining cup of flour to cover the sponge.
- Set the sponge aside to rest uncovered for 30-40 minutes.
- After this resting time, the flour coating will crack, your indication that everything is moving along properly.
- Add the sugar, salt, eggs, and 1 cup of the flour to the sponge.
- Set in the mixer, attach the dough hook, and mix on low speed for a minute or two, just until the ingredients look as if they are about to come together.
- Still mixing, sprinkle in 1/2 cup more flour.
- When the flour is incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 15 minutes, stopping to scrape down the hook and bowl as needed.
- During this mixing period, the dough should come together, wrap itself around the hook and slap the sides of the bowl.
- In order to incorporate the butter into the dough, you must work the butter until it is the same consistency as the dough.
- You can bash the butter into submission with a rolling pin or give it kinder and gentler handling by using a dough scraper to smear it bit by bit across a smooth work surface.
- When it is ready, the butter will be smooth, soft, and still cool- not warm, oily or greasy.
- With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time.
- This is the point at which you'll think you've made a huge mistake, because the dough that you worked so hard to make smooth will fall apart- don't worry, don't panic- carry on.
- When all of the butter has been added, raise the mixer speed to medium-high for a minute, then reduce the speed to medium and beat the dough for about 5 minutes, or until you once again hear the dough slapping against the sides of the bowl.
- Clean the sides of the bowl frequently as you work; if it looks as though the dough is not coming together after 2-3 minutes, add up to 1 tablespoon more flour.
- When you're finished, the dough should feel somewhat cool.
- It will be soft and sill sticky and may cling slightly to the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- FIRST RISE: Transfer the dough to a very large buttered bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let it rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 2- 2 1/2 hours.
- SECOND RISE AND CHILL: Deflate the dough by placing your fingers under it, lifting a section of dough, and then letting it fall back into the bowl.
- Work your way around the circumference of the dough, lifting and releasing.
- Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough overnight, or for at least 4-6 hours, during which time it will continue to rise and may double in size again.
- AFTER THIS LONG CHILL, THE DOUGH IS READY TO USE IN ANY BRIOCHE RECIPE.
- STORING: If you are not going to use or bake the dough after it's second rise, deflate it, wrap it airtight, and store it in the freezer.
- The dough can remain frozen for up to a month.
- Thaw the dough, still wrapped, in the refrigerator overnight and use it directly from the refrigerator.
- TO BAKE IN LOAVES: Divide the dough into thirds.
- Divide each section into 6 equal pieces, and shape each piece into a ball on a lightly floured work-surface.
- Place the balls side-by-side in a greased loaf pan so that you have 3 short rows, each with two balls of dough.
- Do the same with the other two pieces of brioche dough.
- Cover the pans with plastic and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Lightly brush each loaf with egg wash, taking care not to let the glaze dribble into the pan (it will impair the dough's rise in the oven).
- Use the ends of a pair of very sharp scissors to snip a cross in each ball of dough.
- Bake the loaves for about 30 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer reads 200°F.
- Cool to room temperature on a rack.