Brioche is the richest of all yeast dough’s. It can often seem intimidating but this very easy version works well and we have written it so that the dough can rise overnight in the fridge and be shaped and baked the following morning.We always serve them warm from the oven with butter and homemade strawberry jam.
Makes 15-20 individual brioches or 2 large ones
25g (1oz) yeast
50g (2oz/1/4 cup) castor sugar
65 ml (2 1/2 fl ozs/1/4 cup) tepid water
450g (1 lb/4 cups) strong white flour
large pinch of salt
225g (8oz/2 sticks) soft butter
1 - 2 beaten eggs
15-20 individual moulds or 2 large moulds
Sponge the yeast and sugar in the tepid water in the bowl of an electric mixer. Allow to stand for five minutes. Add the eggs, flour and salt and mix to a stiff dough with the dough hook.
When the mixture is smooth, beat in the soft butter in small pieces. Don’t add the next piece of butter until the previous piece has been completely absorbed. This kneading stage should take about half an hour.
The finished dough should have a silky appearance, it should come away from the sides of the bowl and when you touch the dough it should be damp but not sticky.
Place it in an oiled bowl, cover and rest it overnight in the fridge.
The following day prepare your brioche moulds. Then working quickly, remove the dough from the fridge, knock back by folding it in on itself. It is crucial you work quickly otherwise the butter will begin to melt and the dough will be too sticky to handle.
Weigh the dough into 2oz (50g) pieces and roll into balls. With the side of your hand roll each ball of dough in to a teardrop shape, do this by rolling with the pressure slightly off centre. Put the dough heavy end first into the well buttered brioche moulds. Push the 'little hat' towards the centre, leaving it just protruding above the body of the dough. Dip the thick end of a chop stick in a little flour and push it down through the dough almost to the bottom, this may sound strange but we have found it is the best method to keep the ‘little hat’ in place. Brush the top of each brioche gently with egg wash.
Allow them to prove in a warm place 45 minutes to 1 hour until they have doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 180ºC / 350ºF / Gas Mark 4. Egg wash the brioches very gently again. Cook for 20-25 minutes. Serve freshly baked with butter and homemade strawberry jam.
Large brioches will take 40-50 minutes approx. to cook. A skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean.