I love the richness of Brioche. It is my bread of choice to eat warm from the oven with some butter, or toasted with black currant jam. There is just no substitute. It is also the bread I use when making my bread pudding. It just makes the pudding come out over the top. Makes it so decadent and rich. So many people are afraid of attempting to make their own bread, but with all the mixers coming with dough hooks, it is easier than you think. One suggestion I will make, when baking bread or really when baking anything, you will be more successful if you treat your recipes like science formulas. The exact measurements can be very important when baking. When I make bread, I tend to weigh my flour instead of measure it. Weight is more precise and you have a better chance of success if you weigh the flour. Try this recipe, I think it will become a family favorite like it is at my house.
1/2 cup of lukewarm milk
2 tablespoons yeast
1 pound 2 ounces (4 cups) all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
5 large eggs at room temperature
2 sticks butter
In a stand mixer mix the flour, sugar, yeast and salt on low speed until well combined. Add the eggs and the milk and continue to mix on low speed until combined. As soon as the dough begins to clump together, change to the dough hook. Mix on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and hook and continue to knead until the dough is firm and elastic, about 2-3 minutes more. Scrape the hook and bowl again. With the mixer on medium-low speed add one stick of butter, a few pieces at a time. Scrape down the hook and bowl. Knead again for about 2 minutes till butter looks incorporated. Add the second stick of butter, a few pieces at a time. Once all the butter is added, increase the speed to medium and knead for about 4 minutes. Scrape the bowl, hook and bottom of the bowl. Mix again for another 4 minutes more. The dough will start to form a ball and slap the sides of the bowl when it is ready. It may appear a little loose if your kitchen is on the warmer side but this is okay. Do not add more flour, if you do the brioche may turn out tough.
Turn the dough out onto a clean, lightly floured work surface. The dough will be very moist. Knead it by hand a few time and then form it into a ball. Flip it over and tuck it under itself to form a loose ball with a smooth top. Transfer the ball into a large bowl that has been lightly buttered. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. You want to develop the flavor, so put the bowl into the refrigerator overnight. The next day, remove the bowl from the refrigerator and allow it to stand at room temperature for about 2 hours. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and roll it into a log. Split the log down the center and then braid the two logs and then tuck under the ends. Place into two buttered loaf pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise for about 1 hour. It should spring back when gently poked. Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl beat one egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush the egg mixture over the top of each loaf. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Allow to cool in pans for about 10 minutes on a rack before turning out of the pan. Allow loaves to cool on rack until barely warm. Makes 2 loaves.