As charming as he was, we had to eat that brioche. And he was mighty tasty.
BRIOCHE RECIPE (Peter Reinhart):
1/2 cup unbleached bread flour
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm whole milk
5 large eggs, slightly beaten
3 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg, whisked until frothy, for egg wash
- Stir together the flour and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the milk until all the flour is hydrated. Cover with plastic wrap and ferment for 20 minutes, or until the sponge rises and then falls when you tap the bowl.
- Add the eggs to the sponge and beat on medium speed with the paddle attachment until smooth. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add to the sponge and eggs and mix for 2 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes to allow the gluten to develop. Then, while mixing on medium, add in the butter one quarter at a time, allowing the butter to be fully assimilated before adding more. Continue to mix for about 6 minutes more. You will need to scrape down the sides of the bowl during this time. The dough will be very soft and smooth.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment and mist lightly with spray oil. Transfer the dough to the sheet and spread it to form a large rectangle, about 6 inches by 8 inches. Mist the top with spray oil and cover the pan with plastic wrap. Put this in the refrigerator and chill at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- Remove from the fridge and shape while very cold. If it warms up or softens, return it to the fridge. No matter what shape you do, only fill the molds or pans half way to allow for expansion during proofing.
- Mist the top of the dough with spray oil and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Proof the dough until it nearly fills the molds or loaf pans, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Gently brush the tops with egg wash. Cover the dough with plastic wrap that has been lightly misted with spray oil. Continue to proof for another 15 to 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400F for petites brioches a tete, or 350F for larger shapes. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes for petites brioches a tete, or 35 to 50 minutes for larger shapes.
- Remove the brioches from the pans as soon as they come out of the oven and cool on a rack for at least 20 minutes for small brioches and 1 hour for larger shapes before serving.
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