Brioche for a #SundaySupper Bucket List

#sundaysupper
I’ve really enjoyed all the top 10 lists, resolutions and reflections being posted by the blogs that I follow. I love seeing their lists of blow-my-mind recipes. I nod along as I read the thoughts bloggers have about their blogs, their achievements, and their reasons for doing what they do. One of my favourite posts is I Am Baker’s Why You Should Never Start a Food Blog (definitely worth the read!). Since I’m not a thoughtful or introspective person, completely lacking in self-awareness, I didn’t write a post like that to commemorate the changing of the year. And I don’t feel I’ve been blogging long enough to write an analysis of my experience or my all-time favourite recipes thus far.

Instead of writing resolutions (as if I have the discipline to follow through!), I want to compile a culinary bucket list for 2013 of recipes that I’ve been longing to tackle but have always been too intimidated (read: lazy) to make.

The Sunday Supper gang has taken on this culinary challenge for our first post of 2013 – we’re all featuring recipes that are on our own personal foodie bucket lists. The first thing that came to mind when I heard about this week’s theme is something that I love to eat, am jealous when other people make it at home, but I’ve been too chicken to try myself: BRIOCHE. Delicious, buttery, pillowy soft brioche.
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The recipe I’m using is Dorie Greenspan’s from my beloved copy of Baking From My Home to Yours. Seriously, this woman can do no wrong! The only two ways to make this bread is either in a stand mixer or by hand. Dorie warns against using a hand mixer because the mixing will probably wear out the motor. She’s not kidding – my Kitchenaid mixer was burning hot from the workout it was getting. If one of your resolutions is to get more exercise this year, then maybe you ought to opt for making this by hand 😉
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Brioche Loaves (source: Baking From My Home To Yours pages 48-50)

Makes 2 Loaves
Baking time: 30 minutes
Prep time: dough should be made day ahead and baked the next day. I took about 18 hours from start to finish.

2 packets active dry yeast (or 4 1/2 teaspoons if using from the jar)
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch water
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature but still slightly firm

For The Glaze:
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water

Put the yeast, water and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and salt, and fit the mixer with the dough hook. Toss a kitchen towel over the mixer, covering the bowl as completely as you can to contain the inevitable flour explosion. Turn the mixer on and off a few short pulses, just to dampen the flour (go ahead – you can peek to see how you’re doing), then remove the towel, increase the mixer speed to medium-low and mix for a minute or two, just until the flour is moistened. At this point, you’ll have a fairly dry, shaggy mess.
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Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, set the mixer to low and add the eggs, followed by the sugar. Increase the speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough forms a ball.
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Reduce the speed to low and add the butter in 2-tablespoon-size chunks, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding the next. You’ll have a dough that is very soft, almost like batter. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.
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Ok, I need to interject here. My butter was at room temperature but still firm, as required. It was also cut into little cubes approximately 2 tablespoon sized. It took forever for it to get incorporated into the dough! I think I stood there for about 30 minutes, patiently waiting for the 3 pieces of butter I had in there at any given time to be fully incorporated. Maybe I didn’t have the speed on high enough (I had it at about speed 4 and felt that it was pretty fast). I didn’t mind though – it was nice to stand there and mindlessly gape at the dough being churned by my mixer.
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Transfer the dough to a clean bowl (you don’t need to oil it – the dough is buttery enough that it won’t stick much), cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes, depending upon the warmth of your room.
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Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap to the bowl. Cover the bowl with the plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. Slap the dough down in the bowl every 30 minutes until it stops rising, about 2 hours, then leave the uncovered dough in the refrigerator to chill overnight.

This was an unbelievably soft, silky dough.  It looks almost like ice cream!

This was an unbelievably soft, silky dough. It looks almost like ice cream!

The next day, butter and flour two 8 1/2-x-4 1/2-inch pans.

Remove the dough from the fridge and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Cut each piece of the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into a log about 3 1/2 inches long. Arrange 4 logs crosswise in the bottom of each pan. Put the pans on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat, cover the pans lightly with wax paper and leave the loaves at room temperature until the dough almost fills the pans, 1 to 2 hours.

Divide into two.

Divide into two.

Divide one half of the dough into four.

Divide one half of the dough into four.

Roll into little logs and place into your loaf pans.

Roll into little logs and place into your loaf pans.

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Let the dough double in size.

Let the dough double in size.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. I actually baked my bread at 390 degrees F because I’ve had bad experiences with baking bread at the high temperatures the original recipes call for.

To Make the Glaze: Beat the egg with the water. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the tops of the loaves with the glaze.
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Bake the loaves until they are well risen and deeply golden, about 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the pans to racks to cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pans and turn the loaves out onto the racks. Invert again and cool for at least 1 hour.
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Have you ever seen anything as lovely? My kitchen smelled AH-MAY-ZING. Every time my fingers brushed the glossy, crispy crust, my fingers were coated with a buttery sheen. This is the softest, butteriest, lightest bread I’ve ever made, with a perfect subtle salty/sweet taste. I can’t believe it turned out as beautifully as it did (all thanks to Dorie and my mixer, of course). Each mouthful is sheer indulgence. This bread is not for the faint of heart – if you’re worried about clogged arteries, you probably shouldn’t make it (or at least give it away after you’ve had a taste…if you can).
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Check out all the other Sunday Supper bucket list items – I can’t wait to cook and bake my way through all of these in 2013!

This Week’s Sunday Supper Recipes:

Sunday Supper Specialty Breads:

Sunday Supper Main Dishes:

Sunday Supper Desserts and Snacks:

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter each Sunday. We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET and you do not want to miss out on the fun. Follow the#SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

76 thoughts on “Brioche for a #SundaySupper Bucket List

  1. Your brioche looks incredible! That golden brown top and the crumb looks great! I have Dorie’s Baking book as well and use it for everything. I can’t wait to make this recipe!

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  17. Nancy, I saw that you were making Brioche and I couldn’t wait to see how yours turned out. . WOW! Freaking beautiful. I mean, seriously, this might be the most beautiful and perfect Brioche I’ve seen. Beautiful job! I must try this just so I can have a taste!!! oh and thanks for sharing “I Am Baker’s Why You Should Never Start a Food Blog”- I never saw this. . great read!

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  23. What a beautiful bread! Brioche is also on my bucket list!!! Thank you for the step by step photos as well…you have no idea how much it helps with certain recipes. Pinned!!!

  24. Brioche has been on my list because of the mixer thing. Now that I got my stand mixer, I still have yet to make a loaf. I’m a little nervous it’ll kill my stand mixer though LOL But yours look so good I may have to try it really soon….

  25. Nancy, these look incredible! Brioche is on my bucket list for 2013 too. I think I may need to go with Dorie’s recipe after seeing how yours came out 🙂

  26. Oh, wow! A two day project. I forget what I planned for dinner, no telling what would happen with a forgotten loaf. But it looks amazing! Maybe when the girls are older we can try this. That batter looks so inviting, Mo would stick her finger in and lick it.

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  28. Gorgeously bronzed and delicious loaves. I couldn’t do it. Kudos to you my dear!! These look magnificent 🙂

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