Sunday, October 03, 2010

Classic Brioche Loaf

This bread is actually Part I of a cake: namely, the Caramelized Pineapple Pudding Cakes, the October 4, 2010 cake featured on Heavenly Cake Place. In the recipe for the pudding cakes, which are more like bread pudding than cake (and that's not a bad thing), Rose gives you permission to buy brioche rather than make it. But there was no way I was going to miss out on the chance to have even part of a loaf of brioche around the house. In fact, my only regret is that I didn't make two loaves, since it's a very small recipe and would have doubled easily.
Like many of Rose's bread recipes, this one starts out with a sponge. It only sounds complicated. It's simply a whisked-together mixture of, in this case, water, flour, yeast, sugar, and an egg. On top of this batter-like mixture goes flour, sugar, salt, and a bit more yeast. After a few hours, you can see the sponge start to bubble up under the flour. This is satisfying, because you know that something yeasty is going on. You can mix up the dough after a few hours or you can put it in the refrigerator to await your convenience. Although brioche has a French name, it's not at all hoity-toity. In fact, you can boss it around to your heart's content.
When you feel like it, in hours or days, you make the dough. Mix the sponge with a few more eggs and a stick of butter with the dough hook for a good five minutes. (You could do it without a stand mixture, but it would be difficult). It's sticky, but after a few more hours in the refrigerator, it becomes easier to handle.
After the dough has both risen and been refrigerated for a while, it's time to put it on a floured counter, pat it into a rectangle, and give it a business-letter turn. Repeat. Then it's wrapped loosely in plastic wrap and put back in the refrigerator. How long? Whatever fits your schedule.
This is what it looks like after some time in the refrigerator--soft and puffy. It's chilled enough so that it's pretty easy to handle.
It gets shaped into a loaf, and, after it's risen just above the top of the loaf pan, you slash it down the middle.

With an egg-yolk glaze, the loaf comes out of the oven looking super-shiny and appetizing.

The cake is going to need about 2/3 of a loaf, leaving us only a few slices to have as wonderful toast, or as just plain bread. And I mean plain: Jim had a slice with no butter, no jam, no nothing, and pronounced it rich, slightly sweet, and highly satisfying.


faithy, the baker said...

Your loaf looks beautiful! Mine turned up pretty lopsided..hahaha and you know what..after looking at how you slash your bread, i think i slashed it wrongly..i slashed it a few times vertically instead of!

Cathy B. @ Brightbakes said...

looks great...I simply NEED to make this many breads, so little time....*sigh* :)
Love, Cathy B. @ brightbakes

Melinda said...

Gorgeous, just glorious! Brioche is favourite...well one of the many favourites but a top favourite. Yes.

Vicki said...

I think this is the bread I'm going to try my hand at, since the KA does all the kneading. I really want to overcome yeast phobia. Actually, now that I think about it, it's not the yeast it's the kneading which intimidates me.

Jenn said...

Marie, I think Rose's brioche is the best in the world. I've tried other recipes but they are nowhere near as satisfying as this one. Like you I too regret making only 1 recipe of this one.