What better to serve at a decadent Academy Awards party than a decadent loaf of buttery brioche? I barely tasted the brioche, so quickly it disappeared from the party platter. Janelle and Lorraine were especially fond of the bread—rumor has it they had a little shoving match next to the oven over a slice. Nothing pleases me more than shoving matches in my kitchen over the products of experimental recipes. The clear winner: Janelle, starring as Bradley Cooper.
3 1/4 cups unbleached bread flour
1 tablespoon package yeast (or sourdough starter)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoons salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened and cut into 16 tablespoon sized pieces
3 large eggs
½ cup ice water
1 egg, whisked until frothy, for egg wash
Add the flour and salt to the yeast and set aside. Chill a standing mixer in the freezer for 15 minutes. To make the dough, add the eggs to the water and the sugar and whisk (or beat on medium speed with the paddle attachment) until smooth. Add this mixture to the sponge and eggs and stir (or continue to mix with the paddle attachment on low speed for about 2 minutes) until all the ingredients are hydrated and evenly distributed. Let this mixture rest for about 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 as the dough will cling to it. The dough will be very smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator overnight.
Line a pan with baking parchment and mist lightly with spray oil. Flatten the dough into an 8-inch square about 1 inch thick and roll it into a log and place in the parchment-lined pan. Let rise at room temperature at least 4 hours.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Brush the loaf with egg wash right before it goes in.
Place the loaf pan in the oven and immediately turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake until the internal temperature is 190 degrees, about 55-60 minutes.
Cool on wire rack completely before slicing. Or don’t, if the wolves are hungry.
5 stars. I endured a rather lengthy lecture on brioche from fellow Beer Church member, Sebastian. He quizzed me on the brioche ingredients, an examination I seem to have failed. Sebastian, you’ll just have to sample my brioche. I know you say there should be 3 sticks of butter in a proper brioche…well, prove it. Being French counts for nothing. Show me your brioche (gauntlet thrown)!