This bread is amazing (photos to come). Traditionally this bread is what is used to make French Toast. It is sliced and dipped in 1 C of Heavy Cream and 6 eggs that have been whipped. Then cooked in a frying pan that has about 2 T of browned butter. OH MY GOODNESS. These were heavenly. It needs a little bit of sweet, but it was so good. After have Brioche French Toast, I'm not sure I can go back to the soggy unflavored sandwich bread French Toast.
This bread is very rich. The traditional recipe is not for those with high cholesterol. It was very good, baked beautifully bu t it will definitely take some practice. But so far, it has been one of the easiest breads with the best results. Peter Reinhart lists 3 different recipes for Brioche with 3 differing amounts of butter and eggs. This was the highest of both. Also traditionally shaped brioche requires a special fluted pan. I didn't have one and don't want to buy one just yet so I made loaves. I will not include the shaping instructions for the brioche a tete. If you'd like to learn, look it up or grab the book :)
Rich Man's Brioche
Makes 16-24 Petites Brioches a tete, 2-4 large Brioche a Tete, or three 1 LB loaves
1/2 C unbleached bread flour
1 T Instant Yeast
1/2 C Whole Milk, Lukewarm (90-100)
5 Large Eggs
3 1/2 C Unbleached Bread Flour
2 1/2 T Granulated Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Salt
2 C Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
1 egg, whisked until frothy for the egg wash
1. Stir together the sponge ingredients until all the flour is hydrated. Cover with plastic wrap and ferment for 20 minutes or until the sponge rises and then falls when you tap the bowl.
2. Add the eggs to the sponge and whisk (or beat on medium speed with the paddle attachment) until smooth. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, sugar, and salt. Add thsi mixture to the sponge and eggs and stir (or continue to mix with the paddle on low speed for 2minutes) until all the ingredients are hydrated and evenly distributed. Let tis mixture rest for 5 minutes so that the gluten can begin to develop. Then, while mixing with a large spoon (or on medium speed with the paddle), gradually work in the butter, about one-quarter at a time, waiting until each addition of butter assimilates before adding more. This will take a few minutes. Continue mixing for about 6 more minutes, or until the dough is very well mixed. You will have to scrape down the bowl from time to time. The dough will be very smooth and soft.
3. Line a sheet pan with parchment and mist lightly with spray oil. Transfer the dough to the sheet pan, spreading it to form a large thick rectangle about 6x8. Mist the top of the dough and spray with oil and cover with plastic wrap. Place it int he fridge and chill over night or for at least 4 hours.
4. Remove the dough from the fridge and shape it while still cold. Grease three 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pans. Divide the dough into 3 pieces and shape the dough into loaves (this was a little difficult and it did not feel like regular bread dough, do the best you can).
5. Mist the top of the dough with spray oil and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Proof the dough until it nearly fills the loaf pans. It took about 2 1/2 hours for one loaf pan and 3 hours for the other two. Gently brush the tops with eggs was. Cover the dough with plastic wrap that has been lightly misted with oil. Continue proofing until the dough fills the molds or pans. It took at least another hour.
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the middle. Bake for about 35-50 minutes for larger shapes. It should register 190 int he center. Remove the brioche from the pans as soon as they come out of the oven and cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before serving.