I made Brioche before following the Baking Illustrated recipe, which uses only half the yeast and is, in bulk, half the amount of this one. This recipe could feed a small village for breakfast. Lots of butter, lots of lift. Also different is the traditional shaping of various brioches (about which The Village Baker goes into great detail). The word tete I had to look up because I took Spanish, not French, and it means head (though I admit, I was expecting to find it translated to teet). The brioches a tete look a bit titillant. They are the bread equivalent of nipples of Venus in the truffle world.
Brioche a Tete
Adapted from The Village Baker
4 packages of yeast (4 cups sourdough starter)
½ cup warm water
6 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp salt
½ cup sugar
3 sticks of butter (holy moley!)
¼ cup cold milk
Glaze: 2 eggs whisked with 2 tbsp milk
Mix flour, salt, and sugar together. Beat the eggs separately. Make a fountain with the flour mixture, setting aside a ½ cup. Mix the eggs into the fountain and the yeast until homogenous. Then add the softened butter by stretching and folding the dough on a worktable. When butter is incorporated and dough is soft and shiny, add the milk on the table into the dough, a few drops at a time, crashing it in. Knead in the remaining flour mixture.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl and let rise for two hours until it has doubled in volume.
Punch dough down and wrap it in plastic, let it rise in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 hours. It should be cut and shaped into different brioches after it has been removed and allowed to warm for about 40 minutes.
To shape Brioche a Tete, take a piece of the dough the size of a grapefruit, or three the size of tangerines to make petite brioche a tete, and make a small head , like a little snowman head on the ball of dough. Run a finger around the neck of this little nubbin and push the head into it. Set each roll into an individual mold, like a muffin tin if you don’t have classy brioche molds (I don’t).
Glaze immediately after it has been shaped. Let rise for another 2-3 hours. Glaze again before baking in a preheated oven at 385 degrees for 15-17 minutes. The brioche should be golden brown. If they feel a little moist underneath when you place it on the cooling rack, allow to bake for a few more minutes.
These we brought with us last weekend to Chicago en route to Cincinnati, and they went to the lovely Luikart family. The marathon went well and Cincinnati, I’m convinced, is a Portland, OR of the Eastern Midwest. Gorgeous green hills, winding river, and funky fun neighborhoods—we could live there to be sure. 5 stars for the brioche and 5 stars for a safe return last night at 3a! Izzy the contortionist at a pitstop in Chicago: