Simple brioche

‘Full on’ French brioche dough contains equal proportions of butter and flour, and can be rather tricky to handle. This lighter and simpler version uses half the quantity of fat and is readily achievable at home.

Ingredients

  • 5 tbsp milk, at room temperature
  • 10 g fresh yeast, or a little less than ½ packet dried yeast
  • 30 g caster sugar
  • 500 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 eggs
  • 250 g butter, diced, at room temperature, plus a little more for greasing the tin

To Glaze

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp milk

Method

Making the Brioche Dough

Mix the milk, yeast and sugar in the bowl of your mixer and leave for 10 minutes. Add the flour and salt, then run with the dough hook at low speed until a smooth paste is achieved.

Hand whisk the eggs lightly, and add to the mixer, run for a minute or so, then turn up the speed to medium. Add the butter bit by bit, continuing to beat. The resulting dough should be elastic and glossy. Transfer this dough to a large bowl, cover with clingfilm, and leave to rise for 2 hours at room temperature. When you are making bread, the most satisfying bit is punching the dough down – a culinary method for relieving the day’s stresses. Unfortunately brioche dough is altogether a more sensitive soul, and merely requires a gentle turning over to deflate it. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and place in the fridge for 4 hours (you can leave it for longer at this stage if desired).

Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and form into a log. Grease a loaf tin with a little butter and place the brioche dough in it. Make the glaze by mixing the egg with the milk and brush the top with it. Leave at room temperature for a further 1½-2 hours, by which time it will have doubled in size.

Baking the Brioche

Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7. Bake the loaf for 35 minutes. Turn out whilst still hot, and cool on a wire rack.

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