Happy National French Bread Day!
To celebrate this monumental holiday, I am giving you the gift of the ULTIMATE brioche bread recipe. It is simply heaven when it comes out of the oven with a soft and fluffy texture and a sweet buttery flavor.
I mentioned this in my last bread post (if you missed it check it out here) but bread can be a bit frustrating. But that does not mean that it is impossibly hard to make! All it takes is some time (mostly passive) and a keen eye for details. This is by far the easiest brioche recipe I have ever found, and you probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen! To make this recipe even EASIER I have compiled a list of helpful hints and tips to help you along the way.
Adorable Bread Accessories
There are two types of yeast, Active dry or instant yeast. The main difference between the two is that Active dry yeast needs to be dissolved in water before using, while instant yeast can be mixed right into dry ingredients. Either works for this recipe!
Can I make this dough by hand?
You can but that does not mean you should. Trust me on this one, your hands, back, wrists, and whole body will thank you. The texture nor taste suffers if you use a stand mixer. That being said, if you do not have a stand mixer you can (see first sentence) still make this recipe by mixing by hand.
OuiPlease Favorite: Smeg Stand Mixers
This dough seems wrong.
If it’s very wet and sticky, you’re on the right track! This dough is THICK with eggs and butter which makes the dough different than other bread dough. Trust the process and have patience to let the yeast develop fully before adding in the butter. Best part about this recipe is that if you pay attention to your bread, you can’t mess it up. Too wet? Add some dry ingredients. Too dry? Add some butter or eggs? Feel free to stray away from the exact recipe and measure with your heart.
How do I know when the gluten has developed properly?
Let me show you a little secret. The windowpane test is the BEST way to test if your gluten is done yet, and its also super fun. I feel like a real chef! All you have to do is take a small piece of dough and slowly stretch it out in opposite directions: if the dough becomes thin enough to appear semi-transparent before it tears, you’re set! If your dough is struggling to pull away from the sides of the mixer, chances are you need to increase the speed and that it still needs some time. Reminder: don’t wander! You might have to hold the mixer in place as it dances across your countertop.
How should I add the butter?
S l o w l y.
And boy do I mean slowly. You should be spending at least 10 minutes on just the butter. If you add the butter in too fast, it will not mix properly and you won’t get that satisfyingly smooth, glossy, and plump.
Can I let the dough rest overnight?
Sure! If you have a little extra time the night before, the longer the dough has to ferment. A slow fermentation that helps it develop a subtle depth of flavor. You probably will not notice a big difference in taste, so do whatever is more convenient for you. You can even bake ½ and save ½ for later. To save for the next day, stop after step 3. Before refrigerating, punch down to deflate dough completely, and re-cover with plastic wrap. When you are ready to bake the bread, let the dough proof until doubled before baking, longer if needed, up to 2 hours 30 minutes.
Because of the butter, the top of the bread may burn if you have a smaller oven. The bread rises quite a bit and may come into contact with the heating coils. Feel free to try tenting the bread with foil once the top of the bread was a perfect golden brown. This is about 10 minutes in.
FOR THE SPONGE
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 packet or 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1/2 cup milk, lukewarm
FOR THE DOUGH
6 large eggs, room temperature
3 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 sticks butter, softened, plus more for pans
FOR THE EGG WASH
1 large egg
1 tbsp. water
Kosher or sea salt, for sprinkling
Perfect Loaf Pans for this Recipe
- Make the sponge: To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment, add 1 cup flour, yeast, and milk. Using a spatula, mix until well combined, then cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 45 minutes.
- Once the sponge has formed some air pockets, add in eggs, remaining 3 cups flour, sugar, and salt. Mix on medium speed until well combined, then gradually increase to medium-high speed and continue mixing until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and becomes shiny and elastic, scraping down bowl every 4 to 5 minutes, 10 to 13 minutes.
- With the mixer running, add in butter gradually, 1 tablespoon at a time, letting each tablespoon fully incorporate into the dough before adding the next, 13 to 15 minutes. Continue mixing on medium-high speed for 5 to 7 minutes until the dough passes the windowpane test. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest about 1 hour or doubled in size.
- Once dough has doubled in size, turn out onto a floured surface and punch down dough. Divide in half using a bench scraper. Cut each half into six equal pieces. Flatten each piece into a rectangle, then fold short ends in towards each other as if folding a letter. Flatten again and tightly roll into a log starting with the short end. Repeat with all pieces.
- Grease 8”-x-5” loaf pans with butter. Place 6 pieces of dough seam-side down in one straight row into each prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap.
- Preheat oven to 375°. Let dough proof until puffy and doubled in size, 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining egg and water. Brush egg wash on top of loaf and sprinkle lightly with salt.
- Bake until deeply golden on top and the center of the loaf registers between 190° and 205°, about 30 minutes.
- Let cool 5 minutes then turn loaves out onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely.
Let me know if you try this recipe by commenting below or tagging us @ouiplease on instagram!
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