Making brioche for the family is a labour of love, not a difficult one, but one that takes time and an early rise in order to bake for breakfast. The end result, light, buttery brioche that you tear apart and enjoy, they deliver a great deal of love.
For the Dough
500g of Strong white flour
300g soft unsalted butter
6 medium eggs
30g of caster sugar
7g of fast action dried yeast
1 tablespoon of milk
Using an electric stand or bowl mixer, combine all of the ingredients apart from the butter on a slow to medium speed until you have a soft and sticky dough, continue to mix for 4 to 5 minutes to develop the gluten.
You need to make sure the butter is very soft before adding to the dough in order to achieve complete incorporation. Adding 1 tablespoon at a time with the mixer on medium speed, add the butter until it is completely incorporated. You should have a very soft and shiny dough with strong gluten development, i.e. nice and stretchy as you take out the dough hook and clean off the dough.
Leave the dough in the bowl, covered, at room temperature to rise for 3 hours. When the dough is more than doubled in size take a wooden spoon and deflate the dough so that it forms a compact round mass at the bottom of the bowl again. At this point place the bowl in the fridge covered with cling film and leave overnight or a minimum of 8 hours.
It is important at this point to prepare the moulds for baking your brioche before hand. I use dariole moulds roughly 6 centimeter diameter. I butter them, then dust them with flour before tapping out the excess.
Placing the soft dough in the fridge serves two purposes, firstly the flavour develops but equally important it stiffens up the dough and allows for it to be handled easily.
Take the dough out of the fridge and tip it out onto a well floured surface. It will be cold and firm enough to handle but it should still allow you to stretch and fold the dough two or three times before forming into an oblong shape and dividing it into 24 equal parts placing. working quickly so as not to warm up the dough too much, form each piece into a ball shape and pop into the bottom of each buttered and floured mould. I place the moulds on a baking tray and leave covered with a kitchen towel to rise until at least doubled in size, 2-3 hours.
Heat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade and bake the brioche until golden brown, around 15-17 minutes. The brioche will rise considerably during baking. Leave the brioche in the moulds for 15 minutes before unmoulding.
This dough can be used to make other shaped loaves of course, just remember the dough will need to rise until more than doubled in size, so allow enough space for this.
This dough would be impossible to handle without the long period in the fridge because it is so soft, so work quickly when shaping in order to avoid it softening up too much.
Many recipes suggest glazing the tops of the brioche with beaten egg before baking, I find this rich dough already comes out shiny enough for me after baking so I omit this step.
I have 8 dariole moulds that are 6 centimeter and 8 that are 8 centimeter, I use these but for simplicity I have written instructions for using 24, 6 centimeter moulds. It would also be possible to use muffin moulds.