Brioche Loaf!!

I have had Joanne Chang’s book, Flour (same name as her bakery), for what seems like ages now and I have only got around to baking from it. I have an excessive amount of baking books. 

I have seen other blogs that have a much longer list, but as I am running out of room on my physical bookshelf I am inclined to think my collection excessive. It means I still have a book or two I have never baked from and I am trying to remedy that!

The number one thing I wanted to make in this book was/is her Sticky Sticky Buns, but to do that you need to make a batch of Brioche Dough! So, here’s the recipe for the dough taken from her book. It can also be found on the Food Network USA’s website (be aware that they don't have the full directions to carry one to make this loaf, it stops at the point you would make the sticky sticky buns). This is a first time success! I am very happy with the way the Brioche turned out- very light and moreish. (is that a British thing moreish?) Enjoy!!

Brioche Dough:

  • 2 1/2 cups (350 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
  • 2 1/4 cups (340 grams) bread flour
  • 1 1/2 packages (3 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast or 1-ounce (28 grams) fresh cake yeast
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (82 grams) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 3/8 cups (2 3/4 sticks; 310 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 10 to 12 pieces
Using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the all-purpose flour, bread flour, yeast, sugar, salt, water, and 5 of the eggs. Beat on low speed for 3 to 4 minutes, or until all the ingredients are combined. Stop the mixer, as needed, to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure all the flour is incorporated into the wet ingredients. Once the dough has come together, beat on low speed for another 3 to 4 minutes. The dough will be very stiff and seem quite dry.
With the mixer on low speed, add the butter, 1 piece at a time, mixing after each addition until it disappears into the dough. Continue mixing on low speed for about 10 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. It is important for all the butter to be thoroughly mixed into the dough. If necessary, stop the mixer occasionally and break up the dough with your hands to help mix in the butter.

Once the butter is completely incorporated, turn up the speed to medium and beat until the dough becomes sticky, soft, and somewhat shiny, another 15 minutes. It will take some time to come together. It will look shaggy and questionable at the start and then eventually it will turn smooth and silky. Turn the speed to medium-high and beat for about 1 minute. You should hear the dough make a slap-slap-slap sound as it hits the sides of the bowl. Test the dough by pulling at it; it should stretch a bit and have a little give. If it seems wet and loose and more like a batter than a dough, add a few tablespoons of flour and mix until it comes together. If it breaks off into pieces when you pull at it, continue to mix on medium speed for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until it develops more strength and stretches when you grab it. It is ready when you can gather it all together and pick it up in 1 piece.

Put the dough in a large bowl or plastic container and cover it with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the surface of the dough. Let the dough proof (that is, grow and develop flavor) in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or up to overnight At this point you can freeze the dough in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Here you can choose to make 2 loafs of brioche or make 2 batches of Sticky Sticky Buns or make one loaf and one batch of sticky sticky buns and last but not least if you have her book there are several other treats you can make with this basic dough!!

To make the brioche loaf, line your loaf tin (9x5) with parchment paper or butter the pans liberally. Divide the dough in half and press with your hand into a 9x9 inch square. The dough will feel like cold clammy Play-Doh. Facing the square, fold down the top one-third toward you, and then fold up the bottom one-third, as if folding a letter. Press to join these layers. Turn the folded dough over and place it, seam-side down, in the prepared tin.

Cover lightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to proof for 4-5 hours, or until they have nearly doubled in size. They should have risen to the rim and be rounded on top. It should feel soft, pillowy, and light as if filled with air, which it is!

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350F/180C
Whisk the remaining egg and gently brush the top of the loaves.
Bake for 25-45 minutes. The time is so wide because if you bake two loaves at a time you will need longer. I however only needed 30 minutes to bake one loaf. Everyone’s oven is different so start checking it at 25 minutes. The tops and sides should be completely golden brown. Let the loaf cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes; then turn out and leave to cool completely.
The bread can be stored tightly wrapped in plastic wrap at room temp for up to 3 days. After that you can toast it or make a bread pudding! You could also keep it in the freezer for a month!

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