I lost the dog this morning in our 800 square foot house (there are only 4 rooms she could have possibly gone to by the way). After I zigzagged through these rooms at least 5 times – she wandered out with her tail wagging having left her newfound patch of glorious sun in Daddy’s office. This is reason number 297,234 why I am not allowed to have children, I lost a 50 lb ox of a dog in a shoebox. A cup of coffee and golden oldies on Pandora put the incident behind me.
Here she is a little while later with the sun creeping away from her.
So besides that embarrassing saga, I’ve been on somewhat of a bread kick lately. I decided for my next venture I would try making a french classic – brioche. Is it bread? Is it pastry? Is it hybrid of bread and cake? That’s up for debate I suppose, one thing is for sure – no one hates brioche. You can use the dough to make all sorts of things.
I love pulling apart a good cinnamon roll all warm and gooey, who doesn’t?! The fear with making them is that they’ll come out dry and not have a delicate texture – like Pillsbury. Of course we all know that Pillsbury accomplishes their flavor and texture using (trickery) a nonsensical amount of junk that no one should be voluntarily consuming…but I’m not here to lecture. I was curious about how they would come out using a brioche dough (incentive enough for me), so this is how I spent my labor day. Well, my labor day morning more accurately. It only took me a few minutes to make four 1-pound loaves worth and I had just enough of the required ingredients to avoid a trip to the store. Errr, well my hubby did run down to the feed store because I was short just ONE egg. Apparently, the idea of the rolls were incentive enough for him too. Go team!
This pre-mixed dough recipe comes from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day – a cookbook that I am a true believer in. Seriously, go buy the book.
1.5 C lukewarm water
2 packets of granulated yeast
1.5 tbsp Kosher salt
8 farm fresh eggs
1/2 C local honey
3 sticks of pasture raised unsalted butter – melted. You’ll need more to grease a loaf pan don’t forget!
7.5 C unbleached all-purpose organic flour
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp of filtered water)
Mix: yeast, salt, eggs, honey, and butter with the water in the bowl of your stand mixer. Turn the mixer on to the very first setting and start adding your flour, cup by cup until it is all incorporated. Be sure to scrape down the sides. This is a loose dough so don’t be alarmed by it’s appearance (I was all sorts of skeptical looking at it), cover with a cloth towel and allow to rest at room temperature until it has risen and collapsed – about 2 hours.
Now toss it in the fridge and let it chill.
The dough I made was used for two (imperfect) loaves and a batch of sinfully good caramel rolls. Here is how the bread was made:
Grease a 9x4x3 loaf pan. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and pull or cut off a grapefruit sized portion. Place it on a floured surface and shape it into a ball, elongate into an oval and drop it in your prepared pan. Let it sit for 1:20.
Pre-heat your oven to 350 – I used our little countertop Breville oven to avoid heating the house up too much. Brush the top crust with your egg wash and bake until golden, between 35-40 minutes depending on your oven.
This is how my first attempt came out, she isn’t perfect but it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Slightly sweet, delicate, moist (everyone’s “favorite” word), and rich with egg and butter, good enough to make you change religions perhaps. Why hasn’t Yankee Candle put out a “fresh baked bread” scent? I mean, they released MMM Bacon not too long ago so what gives? I guess you’ll just have to do the work and fill the house up with all the feel-good aroma’s yourself.
Once the loaf has had a chance to cool, it drops right out of the pan with almost no effort.
We housed a few warm slices with plenty of butter and honey slathered on thick but you can use yours to make french toast, croutons, bread pudding, beignets… if you are so inspired.
Happy Sunday all!