I’m a weekend warrior when it comes to cooking and baking. My work schedule during the week is hectic: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. which leaves me little time or desire to do anything when I get home at night (between 6:30 and 7 p.m.).
Because of that, I spend most my free time on the weekends baking and cooking. Nerdy, perhaps. But I know very few people in Portland other than my sister and Rachel, who goes to school down in Corvallis, an hour and a half drive from Portland. Incidentally, I happen to see Rachel more now than I did when we lived 45 minutes away from each other when we both lived in So Cal.
The first time I heard of Brioche bread was when I worked at the Cheesecake Factory. Brioche was used in a lot of their dishes: French toast, Monte Cristo sandwich, chicken salad sandwich (which if you haven’t had, you should try — it’s to die for), and even the burgers come on Brioche buns.
When I saw this recipe in Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, I knew I wanted to try it. The bread lived up to my every expectation. Dense, buttery goodness. A must try!
- 1 1/2 c. lukewarm water
- 1 1/2 T. instant yeast
- 1 1/2 T. Kosher salt
- 8 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 c. honey
- 1 1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted, plus butter for greasing the pan
- 7 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
- egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 T. water)
- Mix the yeast, salt, eggs, honey and melted butter with water in a mixing bowl.
- Mix in the flour using a spoon, food processor or heavy-duty stand mixer.
- Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately two hours.
- The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise or refrigerated in a lidded container and used within 5 days.
- When you’re ready to bake, grease a 9x4x3″ nonstick loaf pan. Dust the surface of the dough with flour and cut off a hunk of dough approximately the size of large orange or grapefruit. Dust the chunk of dough with flour and quickly shape the dough into a ball. Stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the dough a quarter of a turn. Elongate into an oval and drop into prepared pan. Allow to rest and rise for one hour and 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Using a pastry brush, brush the top crust with egg wash.
- Place the bread in the center of the oven. Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes, until medium golden brown. Due to the fat in the dough, brioche will not form a hard, crackling crust.
- Cool before cutting or eating.
Though often thought of as a sweet bread, I find the overwhelming flavor to be butter. I think this bread would be great as French toast or any kind of sandwich you could imagine. For me, this recipe yielded two very substantial loaves of bread and 12 dinner rolls. (I made the dinner rolls in a cupcake/muffin tin. If you’re making rolls, they only need to bake for 20 to 25 minutes. They taste best fresh out of the oven!)