Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ina Garten's Brioche

I found myself in a bit of a cooking funk last week. I just wasn't really feeling like making anything. After giving it some thought I realized that I hadn't been challenging myself. I'd just been making things that were easy or familiar so I've compiled a list of things that will test my culinary skill. I could potentially end up very frustrated and in tears by the end of this list but hopefully I'll make my way through it and be the better baker because of it. Things on the list include french macaroons, doughnuts, caramels, and peanut brittle. I've been wanting to make brioche for a while and I figured it would be a good place to start. Now that I've made it, it really wasn't nearly as hard as I would thought it would be. The only hard part was having the patience to leave it in the fridge over night. The best part of this recipe is that you don't have to go out and buy any of those silly little fluted brioche cups. All you need are two loaf pans.
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup hot water (between 100 and 120 degrees)
3 tablespoons sugar
6 eggs at room temperature
4 1/4 cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 sticks of butter at room temperature
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk or water, for the egg wash

Place the water, yeast, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix with your hands, and allow it to sit for 5 minutes, until the yeast and sugar are dissolved.
Add the eggs and beat using the paddle attachment on medium speed for 1 minute, until well mixed. On low speed, add 2 cups of flour and the salt, and mix for 5 minutes. Still on low speed, add another 2 cups of flour, and mix for another 5 minutes. Add the butter cubes and mix for 2 minutes. With the mixer still on low speed, add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour. Switch the paddle attachment to a dough hook, and mix on low speed for a final 2 minutes.
Scrape the dough into a large, buttered bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, allow the dough to sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Meanwhile, grease two 8½ x 4½ x 2 ½–inch loaf pans.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board. Cut the dough in half, and pat each half into a 6×8-inch rectangle. Roll up each rectangle into a cylindrical loaf. Place each loaf, seam side up, into a greased pan. Cover the pans with a towel, and allow them to rise for to 2 to 2 1/2 hours. They should almost double in size.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the towels, and lightly brush the top of each loaf with the egg wash. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the top springs back and the loaf sounds slightly hollow when tapped.
Turn the loaves out onto a wire rack until completely cool.