Look at that. The brioche is sitting there like a cherubic little baby in its blanket. Is the most precious sight in the whole world, I tell ya.
In my cookbook, I mention(in great detail I might add) how much I thoroughly enjoyed my first taste of authentic French brioche on a visit to Paris. Sitting at the classic café with my au lait, I nibbled at my petit brioche in a vain attempt to make it last longer than it could. Times like those help me deal with the multiple deployments and crummy assignments. The military has afforded my Soldier, and now the Wonder Twinks, and I with many travel opportunities like our trip to the City of Love.
Brioche is God’s gift to the bread world. Really, I have a love affair with it. For example, have you ever loved a food so much that you wanted to rub it against your cheek? I may, or may not, have done that once or twice with a slice of this brioche. Are those judgey eyes I feel on me…you’re not judging me, are you, friend? I should hope not.
Brioche is, plain and simple, eggs and butter and a some other stuff. It is one of the richest breads you can make and it can elevate so many other dishes with just the addition of it. I have used brioche as the foundation for my bread pudding, my stuffed french toast, cinnamon breads and babkas. It’s just a blessing to my soul, brioche is.
I love brioche so much, in fact, that I was willing to knead a batch of brioche dough for TWENTY minutes because my KitchenAid decided to punk out on me. Granted, I’ve had the thing for seven years and have used it nearly every day, but it could’ve totally waited until after I’d incorporated the butter to abandon me. So selfish. Tennis elbow and carpal tunnel weren’t enough to deter me from kneading that baby to perfection, though. I had an amazing time devouring that loaf, I tell you what.
Without further ado…because you need to get on this. Here’s my gift to you!
Yield 2 loaves
This recipe makes two loaves of brioche. Eat one right away and wrap the other in plastic wrap and freeze for up to two months.
1 cup whole milk, warmed to 110°F
1oz active dry yeast
1/4 cup honey
10oz bread flour
4oz granulated sugar
4 tsp kosher salt
8 large eggs
2lb all purpose flour
8oz unsalted butter, at room temp
1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp of water (egg wash)
First, in your mixing bowl, make the sponge by dissolving the yeast in the warmed milk.
Add the first measurement of honey and the bread flour and mix until it is well combined.
Cover with a clean, dry towel and allow to rise until it has doubled in volume (about 1 hour).
Now to make the dough: add the sugar, salt, and eggs to your risen sponge. Mix in all but a handful of the flour.
Gradually add the soft butter to the mixing dough, about 2 tablespoons at time.
Knead with your mixer's dough hook (or your hands if your mixer punks out like mine did- look at the shamed mixer...look at it!!) until the dough forms into a ball. The dough should not feel sticky, instead it should have a smooth, satiny appearance. Use the reserved flour while kneading to prevent sticking.
Cover the bowl once again and place in a warm place to rise (about 1- 1 1/2 hours) until doubled in size.
Once your dough has finished rising, punch it down to dispel the gases. Separate your dough into two halves. Separate one half into eight equal portions. Cupping the dough, form it into a ball. Place the ball into a greased loaf pan.
Repeat until all the dough has been placed into the pan. Allow to dough to rise another 30 minutes to an hour. Begin preheating your oven to 375°F.
After the dough has risen its final time, snip the tops with a pair of scissors. Follow with a light brush of the egg wash. Bake the loaves in the heated oven for 35-40 minutes. If you find that the bread is browning too much, place a tent of aluminum foil over it to slow down the browning process.
Remove the pans from the oven and allow to cool for five minutes before removing the bread from the pans and allowing to cool completely. Rub on face as needed.