FOR VALENTINE’S DAY (or any day), why not treat yourself to the most luxurious bread in the world? I’m talking about buttery, eggy, Brioche. I’ve found that Julia Child’s easy-peasy recipe produces as a good a dough as any long and involved recipe. If you have a food-processor, brioche can be yours in a snap:
I’ve also baked the same brioche in my 13x4x4 Pullman pan, in order to achieve a perfectly rectangular loaf. Yes, I’m discovering my Pullman pan isn’t limited to Pain de Mie...another high-end bread. You can order a Pullman like mine from Amazon. Here’s the link: USA Pans 13 x 4 x 4 Inch Pullman, Aluminized Steel with Americoat
The Yeast Mixture:
1 package dry-active yeast
3 Tbs warm water (not over 110F)
2 tsp sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
6 oz (1 1/2 sticks) chilld, unsalted butter, cut into dice
Additions to the Yeast Mixture
4 large eggs
1/3 cup milk, plus more if needed
Special Equipment – a 4-cup measure for the yeast mixture; a food processor
1. Blend the yeast ingredients in the measure and let prove for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, turn the flour, salt and sugar into the bowl of the food processor.
2. Add the chilled, diced butter to the machine, and pulse in by 1-second bursts to break the butter into rough flour-covered granules.
3. Whisk the eggs and 1/3 cup of milk into the yeast mixture. Then turn on the machine and process this liquid in, adding droplets more milk until the dough forms a rotating ball for 8 to 10 revolutions. It should feel fairly soft.
4. After a 5-minute rest, process the dough 30 more revolutions, turn it out onto your work surface, and let it rest 2 minutes.
5. Knead the dough by hand 20 vigorous strokes, turn it into a bowl, cover, and let rise to 1 1/2 times its volume — about an hour.
6. Turn the dough out, then pat it down into a rough rectangle. Fold the rectangle into thirds (like folding a business letter); pat it out again and repeat the folding. Return the dough to the bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise again, this time to more than double (about 2 1/2 to 3 hours).
7. Form the dough into a loaf, place it in your loaf pan. If you are using a standard 8-cup pan, let the dough rise just to the top of the pan (about 30 minutes). If you are using a 13x4x4 Pullman pan, let the dough rise only to one inch from the rim of the pan (about one hour) before sliding on the lid.
9. Baking – 35 minutes at 375F. Set the pan on the lower-middle level in the preheated 375F oven, and bake for 35 minutes. Unmold; let the bread cool on a wire rack before slicing. As if you can wait that long.
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