Last updated on February 19th, 2013
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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