Que nous mangons de la brioche!
Some French aristocrat famously wondered what all the fuss was that the peasants were running out of bread. "Why don't they eat brioche?" (mistranslated as "let them eat cake!") this person asked him or herself. This statement was inaccurately pinned upon poor little Marie Antoinette who was guillotined as a symbol of the downfall of the Ancienne Regime during the French Revolution. Anyhoo, this stuff is fantastic. There's a reason why it is a staple of Parisian patiserries.
Ingredients (for 6 people):
- 350 g of T55 gruau flour
- 175 g unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 40 g of fresh baker's yeast or 10 g. of active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons of water
- 4 whole eggs
- 50 g of powdered sugar
Preparation the night before (optional: this can be done all at once, by substituting a 40 minute warm rising time instead of a long slow fermentation in the fridge overnight. Longer fermentation generally causes breads to taste better and gives more interesting texture)
Mix flour, salt, sugar, eggs, melted butter, and yeast (proof baker's yeast in the water previously). Work the dough well with your hands in a rough fashion. The dough needs to stay very soft, so don't worry if your hands get messy. Place the container in the fridge overnight.
The next morning:
Flour up a workspace, place the dough on the surface, work the dough roughly, slapping it against the table to activate the yeast after its near dormancy in the fridge. Form the dough into a ball, and then slice into four with a knife.
Roll the quarters into balls, and place into brioche baking cups or cupcake or roll tins.
Allow rise until at least doubled in volume. For best results, place in a 90-100 degree humid chamber. You can also place under a moist very light towel in the over on a bread proofing setting. Before baking, pre-heat the oven to the desired 475 degrees F.
As an artistic flair, you may want to snip the surface with scissors, place signature slashes, or even paint on eggwhite and sprinkle a topping.
Bake the brioche until it is golden brown, which will probably take about 20 minutes.
Enjoy eggy, buttery, amazingly light and soft awesomeness.
For dough working technique, you may want to watch this video: