Brioche Loaves - Part Two

Mike’s Brioche loaves came out so good that you don’t even need any butter or jam on the slices to eat them. The crust is crispy but thin and the inside just melts in your mouth. I am so impressed both with the recipe and Mike’s skills. The recipe was pretty easy to follow. There are several steps but each one takes very little time. The hardest part is waiting for the dough to rise because you can’t wait to bake it and have a slice.

This is a Barefoot Contessa recipe and I was never a big fan of Ina Garten but I am retracting all the previous and rather nasty statements that I’ve made about her (all my nasty remarks about everything else still stand). We’ve done a few of her recipes and they have all come out exactly like she claimed that they would. I picked up a copy of “Barefoot in Paris” at the library and it is full of wonderful recipes and lots of pictures. I am definitely a visual person so if the dish looks good then I’ll give it a try. This book meets all of my tough standards for visual stimulation, ease of recipes and variety of dishes. If you can get a copy, try the Herbed-Baked Eggs. They are delicious and come out perfect every time. I passed the recipe onto my friend, Joann and she loved them too.
Brioche Loaves
Makes 2 loaves
½ c warm water (110-120 degrees)
1 pkg dried yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
6 extra large eggs at room temperature
4 ¼ cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk, for egg wash
Combine the water, yeast and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (make sure the bowl is not cold particularly if it’s metal) Mix and allow to stand for 5 minutes until the yeast and sugar dissolve. Add the eggs and beat on medium speed for 1 minute, until well mixed. With the mixer on low speed, add 2 cups of the flour and the salt and mix for 5 minutes. With the mixer still on low, add 2 more cups of flour and mix for 5 more minutes. Still on low speed, add the soft butter in chunks and mix for 2 minutes, scraping down the beater, until well blended. With the mixer still running, sprinkle in the remaining ¼ cup of flour. Switch the paddle attachment to a dough hook and mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Scrape the dough into a large buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
The next day, allow the dough to sit at room temp for 1 hour. Grease two loaf pans. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and cut in half. Pat each portion into a 6x8 rectangle, then starting on the short side, roll each rectangle into a cylindrical loaf. Place each loaf, seam side up, into a greased pan. Cover the pans with a damp (linen or flour sack) towel and set aside to rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, 2-2 ½ hours.
Preheat the over to 375 degrees. When the loaves have risen, brush the top of each with egg wash and bake for 45 minutes or until the top springs back and it sound slightly hollow when tapped. Turn the loaves out onto a wire rack to cool.

There it is folks. It was pretty easy and the results are well worth the effort. Our loaves didn’t look quite as pretty as Ina’s but they are delicious. In fact, I think I’ll go make a piece of toast now. Source: Barefoot in Paris-Easy French Food You Can Make at Home by Ina Garten. Published 2004 Clarkson Potter/Publishers New York, New York.


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