My first brioche was no brioche. It was not featherlight with a buttery crumb, with no need to toast or jam. It did not transport me to the boulangerie in Aix, or even the Urth Caffe downtown.
But I’m okay with do-overs. I grew up watching Flashdance. My sister and I would wrap our feet in ace bandage and act out this scene, misstep and all.
So I started over. With a little more flour and time (but still no kneading!), this brioche was a success. A short-lived one, because we ate it.
(adapted from Artisan Bread in Five with help from The Fresh Loaf)
Makes 2 loaves.
3/4 c. lukewarm water
1 pkg/2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
2 1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. honey
3/4 c./1.5 sticks of butter, melted
4 c. all-purpose flour
one more egg for the wash
In a large bowl, whisk the water, butter, eggs, honey, yeast, and salt together. With a large spatula or wooden spoon, mix in the flour just until incorporated. The dough will be very wet and sticky.
Loosely cover the bowl and let sit it at room temperature for at least 2 hours. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then refrigerate overnight or up to 5 days. Once chilled, the dough will be much easier to work with.
Butter the loaf pans and generously flour a work surface. Divide the dough in half. Work with one portion at a time to form the loaves.
Pat the dough into a rectangle a little longer than the length of the loaf pan. Roll the dough up, starting from the bottom. Pinch the seam closed. Bring the ends in towards the seam and pinch them closed.
Repeat with the other portion of dough. Place the loaves seam side-down in the pans. Let rise for at least 2 hours, or until the loaf is a little over the top of the pan.
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Brush the tops with the egg wash. Bake until the loaves are a deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped, about 25-30 minutes.
Cool in pans for 15 minutes, then remove the loaves to a rack. Cool for at least another hour before slicing.