Brioche

“Ah yes, you mock me. But perhaps one day when you’ve awoken from a pleasant slumber to the scent of a warm brioche smothered in marmalade and fresh creamery butter, you’ll understand that life is not solely composed of tasks, but tastes.”

I’ve always been a sucker for a good rom-com. That’s right. Give me all the girly movies! To this day, Hallmark is one of my favorite channels for all the gooey romance! Granted they aren’t necessarily an in-depth source for culinary knowledge, but they certainly provide many an inspiration for future adventures.

In one such film was the first time I encountered brioche. When Hugh Jackman as “Leopold” Kate & Leopold, is chastising Meg Ryan’s “Kate” for mocking his worldview. He describes to her the simple pleasure of waking to the scent of warm brioche. No stranger to all things carbs growing up, I knew and loved well the scent of fresh bread. I’d heard the name before, but until more recent years, I don’t believe I’d ever had brioche. To me it was purely theoretical, yet no less intriguing.

Hailing from France and having a flour to butter ratio of 2:1, brioche is one of the most rich and decadent breads you could possibly ever eat. Croissants truly hold their own, but brioche is something entirely different. It’s rich without being dense. It’s delicate with an open crumb, yet still makes one amazing hamburger bun! Actually, the first time I believe I had brioche was when I had the Gaines Brothers Burger at Chip & Joanna Gaines’ diner Magnolia Table in Waco, TX. It’s an amazing, messy burger capped with a brioche bun. The Gaineses were onto something here…

I then started splurging on these brioche buns whenever we would make burgers. They’re unbelievably soft and so worth the extra expense. Six large eggs give this bread a wonderful rise. This dough was so voluminous it nearly overflowed the mixing bowl and then the dough nearly rose up out of the bread pans even when they were resting in the refrigerator over night! This bread definitely gave instant gratification for the work put in. It was not only very little fuss to throw together, but also turned out with a beautiful open crumb and delicious flavor all on it’s own with no help needed from any toppings.

I did enjoy a slice warm from the oven plain, but also smothered in mango-pineapple preserves. I was informed by The Mr that I need to make this bread every week from now on! This has become our new favorite/go-to bread! It totally redeemed my bruised ego from my sourdough flop last week. See my spin on a recipe from The Good Housekeeping Cookbook Bridal Edition below.

Ingredients:
3/4c whole milk, warmed to 105°-115°
1pkg active dry yeast
1tsp + 1/4c sugar
2c bread flour
2c AP flour
1tsp salt
6 lg eggs
1c (2 sticks) butter, softened & cut into pieces (DO NOT use margarine. It won’t turn out the same)

Instructions:
1) In a lg bowl of a stand mixer, stir together warm milk, yeast, and 1tsp sugar until dissolved. Let stand 5min. Mixture should smell warm and “bready” and appear foamy.
2) Stir in the remaining 1/4c sugar, 1c bread flour, and salt until well combined. Turn the mixer to low speed and beat in one egg until thoroughly mixed. While the mixer is still running, alternately add remaining 1c bread flour and 2c AP flour with remaining 5 eggs.
3) After all ingredients are well incorporated, gradually beat in butter until the dough is smooth.
4) Transfer dough into a mixing bowl that’s been lightly sprayed with Pam (or lightly greased with butter or Crisco) and cover with a damp tea towel. Let the bowl rise in a warm place (80°-85°) – the oven with the light on and the door closed should do the trick – until doubled in volume (about 2-1/2hrs).
5) While the dough is rising, spray (or grease with Crisco) two 8×4 or 9×5 loaf pans and set aside.
6) When the dough has sufficiently risen, punch the dough down and divide in half between the prepared pans. The dough will still be a little sticky. Loosely cover the pans in greased plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to rest overnight.
7) In the morning, preheat the oven to 350°. Remove the pans from the fridge and uncover. When the oven has preheated, bake the loaves on the center rack of the oven until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 25-35min should do the trick!
8) Remove the pans to a wire rack to cool for 5min then turn out of the pans and allow to cool completely on the wire racks. Enjoy slices warm slathered with “fresh creamery butter” or plain!

Everyone is baking right now it seems. What has been one of your latest creations? Drop your answers in the comments below and I’ll select one person to send a whole packet of yeast to!

Currently Reading: All-American Paleo Table: Classic Homestyle Cooking from a Grain-Free Perspective by Caroline Potter

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