Brioche

Brioche fresh from the oven.
Brioche fresh from the oven. Photo: Mark Chew

Brioche is a classic old-fashioned French bread, laden with as much butter and egg as it can carry. It is delicious toasted and served with terrine or pate, with herb-flecked scrambled eggs or gently melted Comte cheese and sauteed mushrooms, or turned into a decadent bread and butter pudding.

Ingredients

25g (1 tbsp) castor sugar, plus 1 pinch extra

260g unsalted butter, softened

14g (2 sachets) dried yeast

2 tbsp milk

5 x 55g eggs, at room temperature

450g plain flour

10g (1 tsp) salt

1 tbsp sesame seeds

Method

1. Add 25 grams of sugar and the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment until pale and creamy, about two minutes. Remove from the bowl and set aside. Add the yeast, milk and a pinch of sugar to a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Add four eggs, keeping one aside to glaze the rolls, and whisk until combined.

2. Sift the flour and salt into the bowl of the stand mixer. Pour in the milk and egg mix while mixing on medium with the dough hook. Continue mixing for eight to 10 minutes until smooth – you may need to scrape the dough down the hook every now and then. Once the dough is a smooth mass on the end of the hook, add about two tablespoons of the creamed butter while mixing. Keep adding the butter in batches until well incorporated. Continue to mix for about five minutes until the dough is shiny and elastic. Place the dough in a large greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside until it has doubled in size, about two hours. The room temperature will naturally alter the required proving time, just don’t get it too warm or the butter will melt out of the dough.

3. Knock back the rested dough with your fist, cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface – it should now be firm but quite malleable – and divide into 12 80-gram portions. Shape the dough into buns by rolling under your palm in a circular action until even and smooth. Flip one bun over and flatten out a little into an elongated oval. Roll one edge in towards the middle and press the seam together along the length of the roll where it meets the other edge. Flip so that the seam is on the bottom and place on a lined baking tray. Repeat for all the dough, spacing out the rolls evenly on the tray. Cover the shaped dough with a damp, lightweight tea towel and set aside until doubled in size, about two to three hours.

4. Preheat the oven to 200C fan-forced (220C conventional).

5. Beat the remaining egg and glaze the top of the proved rolls. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds and bake for about 16 minutes until a deeply golden caramel – cooking time will naturally vary depending on the oven, so watch carefully. Cool on a wire rack before using. 

Edited extract from Karen Martini’s New Kitchen. Pan Macmillan, $44.99