Excerpted from "The French Laundry Cookbook"—Thomas Keller
(Makes 2 loaves)
1/3 cup very warm water (110º to 115ºF.)
One 1/4-ounce package active dry yeast (not quick-rising)
2-1/3 cups (10½ ounces) cake flour
2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2½ teaspoons fine sea salt
6 large eggs, at room temperature
20 tablespoons (10 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1-inch cubes, plus butter for the pans
Chef Jean-Louis Palladin makes some of the best brioche I've ever had; this is his recipe, and it's the one we use at the restaurant. Start this a day before you want to make it, as it has to rest overnight.
Combine the water and yeast in a small bowl. Let set for 10 minutes, then stir until the yeast is completely dissolved. Set aside.
Sift together the flours, sugar, and salt into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the eggs and beat for 1 minute at low speed, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed. Slowly add the dissolved yeast and continue beating at low speed for 5 minutes. Stop the machine, scrape any dough off the dough hook, and beat for another 5 minutes. Add the butter cubes, about one quarter of them at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each addition. Once all the butter has been added, beat for 10 to 15 minutes more.
Place the dough in a large floured mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place until doubled in size, about 3 hours.
Turn the dough out onto a generously floured work surface and gently work the air bubbles out by folding the dough several times while lightly pressing down on it. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
Generously butter two 8½- by 4½- by 3-inch loaf pans. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. With floured hands, divide the dough in half and shape it into two rectangles to fit the loaf pans. Place the dough in the pans and let the dough rise uncovered in a warm place until it is about ½ inch above the top of the pans, about 3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350º F. Bake the brioche until it is well browned on top and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately turn the brioche out onto a wire rack.
If using immediately, let the breads cool for 10 minutes, then slice and serve. If serving within a few hours, promptly wrap the hot bread in aluminum foil and store at room temperature until ready to use. If freezing, immediately wrap the hot bread in foil and promptly freeze; when ready to use, reheat (without thawing, and still wrapped in foil) in a 250º F. oven until heated through, 20 to 25 minutes. The bread can be kept frozen for up to 1 month.
If using the brioche for croutons, let the loaf sit at room temperature, uncovered, to dry for a day.
The one in Baking with Julia is a very nice one as well. It's from Nancy Silverton.
You start it making a sponge (including warm whole milk, active dry yeast, egg and unbleached all-purpose flour).
Then the dough (sugar, kosher salt, more eggs, flour and butter).
I will fill you in on the whole thing if you so desire.
thanks for posting the recipe!! Can't wait to try it out. Is the other recipe one you make in the round-ish brioche pan (a circular loaf with a knot in the middle)? If so, I would love to give it a try as well.
thanks for your help!
The kind of brioche you are describing Bakerbebe is known as a brioche à tête.
To make it, put the dough in a brioche pan, any size work. Make a small hole in the top of the top. Shape a small piece of brioche like an 8. Stick the bottom part in the hole, what you see of the 8 will be the tête once the brioche is baked.
Thank you all for your help. Baking is my hobby and I appreciate all your expert advice!
While we're on the topic of breads, has anyone made Greek Tsoureki? I really want to make it for Easter this year. It is such a gorgeous bread! I just need to find the blood-red dye for the eggs that go in the braided loaf. Hmmm, any ideas? The recipe calls for dark-red edible dye, bright-red edible dye, and setting powder.