Brioche has been a staple of French cooking for hundreds of years. All that practice makes perfect!
Brioche is made as buns or a loaf and is great with butter and jam and even spready with a soft cheese. It’s the ultimate snack food for the French – a sort of cakey-bread. Here’s a recipe for brioche for you to make at home:
Ingredients for one brioche loaf
220g plain flour
1 tablespoon caster sugar
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs, beaten
60 ml whole milk, warmed
75g unsalted butter cubed, room temperature
Few drops of vanilla extract
1 egg, beaten
1. Mix the yeast with the warm milk and 1 teaspoon of sugar and leave for 10 minutes in a warm place. You’ll see that the yeast will become frothy.
2. Sift the flour into a large bowl with the salt and the rest of the sugar, add the yeast mix, 2 beaten eggs and vanilla extract. Mix on a low speed. When the dough starts to clump together, swap the paddle attachment for a dough hook and mix for 2 minutes until the dough is firm and elastic.
3. Add half the butter at little bit at a time while the mixer is set to a medium-low speed. Fold the dough over on itself so you get the butter thoroughly mixed in. Then add the remaining butter as before and mix for 3 minutes at medium-low speed.
4. Scrape the dough hook and the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix again until the dough is smooth, soft and shiny, about three minutes. You’ll hear the dough slap against the sides of the bowl when it’s ready. Do the “windowpane test” – take a small ball of dough, flatten it and gently stretch. If it doesn’t break but is thin enough to see through – you’re ready.
5. Put the dough into a clean bowl and cover it with oiled cling film and leave to rise in draught-free place for 1 to 1.5 hours or until doubled in size.
Then take the dough, give it a punch several times to expel the air and knead lightly for 2 minutes.
6. Shape the dough into a rectangle and put it in a buttered loaf tin. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm, draught-free spot until doubled in size, usually about 30 minutes up to an hour.
Preheat the oven to 200˚C, (400˚F/Gas Mark 6)
7. Brush the top of the brioche with the beaten egg and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top of the brioche is a rich, golden brown.
If you want to create the traditional “bubble shape”, when the dough has risen, make cuts with a sharp pair of scissor. Snip three times on each side and twice at each end. The cuts should be about 1 inch deep. This allows the brioche to rise around the cuts.
8. Turn the loaf out and it sounds hollow when you tap the bottom – it’s done! Put it back in the tin upside-down to crisp the base for 5 minutes
Leave to cool and then feast on your brioche loaf. It’s very moreish and utterly delicious.
More delicious French recipes on the blog:
Moules Frites – the ubiquitous taste of summer at the seaside in France…
Pancakes – French crepes – here’s a fail proof recipe…
Gougères – cheesy balloons that everyone loves…