Classic Brioche

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes

    19 ounces

    of dough

Appears in

The Baking Bible

By Rose Levy Beranbaum

Published 2014

  • About

Brioche is the queen of all breads. Golden, soft, and buttery, it can be made into a simple loaf, filled and coiled into buns, or braided into elaborate shapes. It serves in this book as the base for three marvelous breads: Monkey Dunkey Bread, Caramel Buns, and the Sugar Rose Brioche.

Plan Ahead Make the dough 1 day ahead.

Ingredients

Dough Starter

Sponge

VOLUME WEIGHT
water, at room temperature (70° to 80°F/21° to 27°C) 2 tablespoons (30 ml) 1 ounce 30 grams
sugar 1 tablespoon 0.5 ounce 13 grams
Gold Medal bread flour (or half other brand bread flour, half unbleached all-purpose flour), see Note ½ cup (lightly spooned into the cup and leveled off) plus 1 tablespoon 2.5 ounces 71 grams
instant yeast ¼ teaspoon . 0.8 gram
1 large egg, at room temperature 3 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon (47 ml) 1.8 ounces 50 grams

Dough

VOLUME WEIGHT
Gold Medal bread flour (or half other brand bread flour, half unbleached all-purpose flour), see Note 1 cup (lightly spooned into the cup and leveled off) plus 3 tablespoons 5.5 ounces 156 grams
sugar 2 tablespoons 0.9 ounce 25 grams
instant yeast teaspoons . 4 grams
fine sea salt ½ teaspoon . 3 grams
2 large eggs, cold cup plus 1 tablespoon (94 ml) 3.5 ounces 100 grams
unsalted butter, must be very soft (75° to 90°F/23° to 32°C) 8 tablespoons (1 stick) 4 ounces 113 grams

Method

Make the Dough Starter

Sponge

In a small bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, place the water, sugar, flour, yeast, and egg. Whisk by hand or beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes until very smooth to incorporate air. The dough starter will be the consistency of a very thick batter. If whisking by hand, at first the dough starter may collect inside the whisk, but just shake it out and keep whisking. If it is too thick to whisk, it means it has too much flour and it will be necessary to add a little of the egg normally added when mixing the dough. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

If using the Bread Machine Method, scrape the starter into the container of the bread machine. If using the Stand Mixer Method, scrape down the sides of the bowl and remove the whisk beater. Set the dough starter aside, covered with plastic wrap, while you make the flour mixture.

Combine the Flour Mixture

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and yeast. Then whisk in the salt. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the dough starter, forming a blanket of flour, and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Let it ferment for 1½ to 2 hours at room temperature, or 1 hour at room temperature and up to 24 hours refrigerated. During this time the dough starter will bubble through the flour blanket in places.

Make the Dough

Bread Machine Method Program the machine to mix for 3 minutes and knead for 15 minutes. Add the eggs and mix the dough for 3 minutes. Then let it proceed to the knead cycle for 8 to 12 minutes, or until the dough is smooth, shiny, and elastic. If necessary, carefully reach in with a plastic spatula and scrape any flour or dough that collects in the corners of the container. Add the butter all at once and continue the kneading cycle until the butter is incorporated, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides if necessary.

Let the Dough Rise

For the first rise, turn off the machine and let the dough rise (with the lid closed) for 1½ to 2 hours, or until approximately doubled.

Chill the Dough

Remove the container from the bread machine, cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for 1 hour.

Return the container to the bread machine (the plastic wrap can be left in place) and deflate the dough by pressing the Mix button or starting the dough cycle and mixing for about 30 seconds. Return the container to the refrigerator for another hour so that it will be less sticky to handle.

Stand Mixer Method Attach the dough hook. Add the eggs to the dough starter and beat on low speed for about 1 minute, or until the flour is moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Using a silicone spatula lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue beating for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and shiny but very soft and sticky. It will mass around the dough hook, but it will not pull away from the bowl completely. Add the butter by the tablespoon, waiting until the butter is almost completely absorbed before adding the next tablespoon. Continue beating until all of the butter is incorporated.

Let the Dough Rise

Using a spatula or dough scraper that has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray, scrape the dough into a 2 quart/2 liter dough rising container or bowl that has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray. The dough will be very soft and elastic and will stick to your fingers unmercifully. Do not be tempted to add more flour at this point because the dough will firm considerably after chilling. Lightly coat the surface with nonstick cooking spray and push down the dough. Cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap. With a piece of tape, mark on the side of the container at approximately where double the height of the dough should be after rising. Let the dough rise in a warm place (ideally at 75° to 85°F/24° to 29°C) until it reaches the mark, 1½ to 2 hours. (See recommended rising environments.)

Chill the Dough

Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour to firm; this will prevent the butter from separating. Gently deflate the dough by stirring it with a silicone spatula. Return it to the refrigerator for another hour so that it will be less sticky to handle.

For both methods, turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and press down or roll it into a rectangle, flouring the surface and dough as needed to keep the dough from sticking. The exact size of the rectangle is not important. Give the dough a business letter turn (fold it into thirds), brushing off any excess flour, and again press down on it or roll it out into a rectangle. Rotate it 90 degrees so that the closed end is facing to your left. Give it a second business letter turn and round the corners. Dust it lightly on all sides with flour. Wrap it loosely but securely in plastic wrap and then place it in a gallon-size reclosable freezer bag and refrigerate for 6 hours or up to 2 days to let the dough ripen (develop flavor) and firm.

Shape the Dough

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and gently press down the dough to deflate it. Press and roll the dough into a rectangle and shape it as specified in the recipe.

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