Friday, December 23, 2011

Brioche Loaf for Sandwiches and French Toast

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...My family loves really good French toast and to be honest with you they're more than a little spoiled, at least at this time of year. I have a lovely recipe for French toast that I'll happily share with you, but the only thing that really sets it apart from others you have seen, is the bread I use to make it. At Christmas time, I whip out eggs and lots of butter and make a loaf-shaped brioche that is used to prepare holiday sandwiches and French toast. There will be a second, more classic brioche, served for breakfast on New Years day, but Christmas and French toast have become a tradition in our home and this bread is where it starts. If you have an electric stand mixer and can wait 24 hours before baking the dough, the bread, while not easy to make, is doable. It also helps to be a little crazy, but we'll talk of that another day. You also will be asked to put your creative instincts aside. Even small changes to this recipe can be disastrous, and, I know from experience, that you will be tempted to make them. Please don't! This recipe was developed by Sally Darr for Gourmet magazine about 10 years ago. It works if you follow it. Here's the deal. The magic that will transform the sticky mass you've created into a workable bread dough, occurs in the refrigerator, not on the bread board. The addition of more flour might make a workable dough but it will not make brioche. So, I'm going to ask you to suspend belief, and trust me on this one. That shaggy mass will turn into brioche without the addition of extra flour and you will love its crust and crumb. Here's the recipe. I double-dog dare you to give it a try.

Brioche Loaf...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Gourmet magazine and Sally Darr

Brioche Starter
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup warm milk or water (105 degrees F)
1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour (sift before measuring)
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon hot milk or water
3 large eggs
1-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour (sift before measuring)
1-1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch slices and well softened
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream

1) To make starter: Stir milk and sugar together in a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast over mixture and let stand until foamy, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir 1/2 cup flour into yeast mixture, forming a soft dough, and cut a deep X across top. Let starter rise, covered with plastic wrap, at room temperature, 1 hour.

2) To make dough: Combine salt, sugar, and hot milk in a small bowl and stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Fit mixer with whisk attachment, then beat 2 eggs at medium-low speed until fluffy. Add sugar mixture and beat until combined well. With motor running, add in order, beating after each addition: 1/2 cup flour, remaining egg, 1/2 cup flour, about one fourth of butter, and remaining 1/2 cup flour. Beat mixture 1 minute. Remove bowl from mixer and fit mixer with dough-hook attachment. Spread starter onto dough with a rubber spatula and return bowl to mixer. Beat dough at medium-high speed 6 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic. Add remaining butter and beat 1 minute, or until butter is incorporated. The dough will be a sticky stringy mass at this point. This is normal, so not to worry. DO NOT add more flour. Lightly butter a large bowl and scrape dough into bowl with rubber spatula. Lightly dust dough with flour to prevent a crust from forming. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise at room temperature until more than doubled in bulk, 2 to 3 hours. Punch down dough and lightly dust with flour. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill dough, punching down after first hour, at least 12 hours. Dough may be chilled up to 3 days. Punch down dough each day.

3) To form and bake brioche: Butter a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Remove dough from refrigerator and turn onto a well floured surface. Flour your hands and form dough into a 9-inch log. Transfer to pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place until dough has more than doubled in bulk, about 2 hours. Adjust rack to middle of oven before preheating to 375 degrees F. Mix egg yolk and heavy cream together in a small bowl. Brush over surface of bread. Bake loaf until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Cool bread in pan on a rack for 20 minutes, then turn out onto rack and allow loaf to cool completely, about 1 hour. Yield: 1 loaf.

One Year Ago Today: Lemon-Mint Snap Peas with Edamame

Two Years Ago Today: Savory Mushroom Puff


Angie's Recipes said...

That's a gorgeous brioche loaf! I would love them for the breakfast with a glass of soya milk now!
Happy Holidays!

natalia said...

Ciao ! What a lovely recipe ! I know I'll trust you and enjoy it soon !!! Baci e Buon Natale !

Kelly said...

I adore brioche. It is my go to dough for sticky buns because it makes them so incredibly decadent and supple. There really is no other bread that compares to its texture and flavor. It has been far too long since I've made homemade bread and given the chill in the air there seems no better time. Happy holidays.

Bildretusche said...

I really love your recipe.
Thanks for sharing..

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Ginny Hartzler said...

It looks so good, now I want your french toast recipe!

Pondside said...

What a great photo of your brioche loaf - makes me wish for a slice right away! I don't know if I'll try it, although if I were to give it a go it would be from your recipe. I've found that following your recipes always gives me a good result.

Diane said...

We use brioche most of the time for toast it is yummy. Joyeux Noël et bonne année. God bless Diane

Red Nomad OZ said...

OK. I think we need to see photos of your family to prove that this endless procession of FAAAAABULOUS food hasn't made them unbearably fat!!

Martha said...

My family LOVES french toast! I may just have to try this! Thanks for the warnings about not deviating :) Have a Blessed Christmas!!

Rita said...

French toasts make me very happy; must try them with this bread.

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

I am sure your family is spoiled more than just at the holidays Mary. You are a fabulous cook and who wouldn't love to live in your house.

I would never attempt this lovely brioche as I am not a baker, but what a treat.

Merry Christmas to you and your family. May the new year bring good health and happiness.

Unknown said...

What a beautiful loaf of brioche, Mary!! How about I just come to your house instead of trying to make it? I know it won't come out looking like that! lol

Merry Christmas to your and yours!!!

Arlene Delloro said...

Mary, you've inspired me to make brioche again. Many years ago I traveled to NYC for several weekends to take a class at the New School in croissant and brioche. The fact that both are labor-intensive has kept me from making them for a very long time, but I remember what incredible bread pudding can be had with stale brioche. Merry Christmas.

Ale said...

That's a very good recipe!!! Wonderful photo, it's really tempting!!!
I wish you a Happy Christmas! :)

Unknown said...

HI Mary. My kids love brioche but I am still intimated with making yeast breads. That is one of my cooking goals in 2012.

Happy Holidays to you!


Tanya - Three Square Meals said...

I have been searching for a great, not good, brioche loaf recipe. Can't wait to try it!

June said...

I accept that double dog dare. Can't wait to make it and I imagine some really happy diners on Sunday morning. Thanks Mary. You're the best. Joyeux Noel!

Manasi said...

that is one gorgeous loaf!
I'd love to eat a slice slathered with butter.. and another toasted and slathered with butter!
Merry Christmas!

Katarina said...

This is a lovely recipe! Happy Holidays!

Ks Gal said...

Egg yoke? lmao

Ks Gal

David said...

Mary, We've never made or even had a brioche loaf and we love French toast! Thanks for the recipe and I'm wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

That Girl said...

Baking bread is such a relaxing activity. Perfect during the hustle/bustle of holidays.

Floreal said...

I wish you FELIZ NAVIDAD, and very happy new year!!!! I adore this broad for breakfast!

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

I'm a little crazy too, so this is something I would actually do. My assignment for Christmas dinner is to make my challah bread. I'll have to make the dough the day before and let it rise overnight like you did here. Thanks for the warnings about messing with the recipe....that is good to know!

Priya Suresh said...

Prefect looking brioche..fabulous.

D said...

Beautiful brioche and a reminder to make one. Mary, we hope you and Bob have a wonderful Christmas and may 2012 be filled with many blessings for you and your family.

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

I would definately love to try the brioche recipe. I love making breads & having that wonderful aroma fill the house! Merry Christmas, Mary!!

Joanne said...

French toast is generally good no matter what but the quality of the bread can take it from good to GREAT! This looks perfect!

Velva said...

I shy away from making bread dough now (smile). The photo is beautiful and I love, love french toast. Can I just pull-up a chair at your table?

Happy Holidays to you and your family.


Pam said...

What a great brioche, Mary! Have a blessed Christmas!

tender b. said...

I'd imagine this would make a beautiful French Toast.

What's Baking?? said...

Gorgeous looking loaf!

Grub said...

I make a brioche loaf in my breadmaker, takes all the effort out of it. Makes amazing french toast the next day too. Even old breadmakers without a brioche cycle can probably make it, if you just figure out what time the second knead takes place and add the extra butter then. Probably use the rapid loaf cycle for this.

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