FIRST PART: THE SPONGE
- 1/3 cup milk
- 2 and 1/4 tsp rapid rise yeast
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups all purpose flour
SECOND PART: THE DOUGH
- 1/3 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs lightly beaten
- 1 and 1/2 c all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 and 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
FOR THE EGG WASH
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp milk
Powered by ChicoryInstructions:
MAKE THE SPONGE
In the bowl of heavy duty mixer, Add the yeast, milk, egg and 1 cup all purpose flour. Mix with a rubber spatula just until combined. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of flour over the top as if to cover mixture. Let this stand for about 40-45 minutes. There will be cracks on the flour surface at this point.
MAKE THE DOUGH
Add the sugar, salt, eggs and 1 cup of flour to the bowl with the yeast mixture. Using a dough hook, run the heavy duty mixer on low speed for about a minute , until the mixture is just about incorporated. Add the remaining half cup of flour and run the mixer in medium speed. Continue to beat, scraping the bowl as needed, for about 15-20 minutes.
Now add the butter piece by piece. Make sure that the butter is room temperature. It should be pretty soft and malleable. Beat about 5 minutes.
Place the ball of dough into a greased bowl and cover with a plastic wrap. Let stand in room temperature until the size is doubled, about 2 hours.
After the dough has doubled in size, simply lift it in sections until you have gone around the entire circle of dough, lifting and then letting it fall back to the bowl ( like deflating it but very gently. Do not punch the dough down.) Cover the bowl again with a plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator overnight. The dough will double in size again
ASSEMBLE THE BRAID AND BAKE
After the long chill, You need to divide the dough into three equal portions. Working with the dough still cold from the fridge, divide it into three equal parts. On a floured surface, roll each portion of dough into a log using your palms and by pressing it and squeezing it to elongate. Continue to roll it until it reaches about 35 inches. If the temperature in your kitchen is warm, work with the dough one portion at a time and refrigerate the other two portions. Similarly, if you feel your dough becomes warm and sticky to work with, chill in the fridge for at least ten minutes before continuing to roll it into a long log.
Now that you have three long logs, braid the dough as if you are a braiding hair. Neatly and equally space the knots as you go. Once the entire dough is done, form a circle by connecting the two ends of the braid and press the ends together to seal. Place it on parchment paper on a large baking sheet. Cover loosely with a towel. Let this rise at room temperature for about 2 hours until doubled.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Beat one egg with 1 tbsp of milk to make the egg wash. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the surface of the brioche dough with the egg wash. Bake for approx. 25 minutes or until the top surface of the brioche is lightly golden and its temperature is 200 F. I always use a thermometer to test for doneness.