Friday, November 26, 2010

Time to bake the Brioche!

Thanksgiving came and went so quickly this year!  I'm not even posting our menu because we always do basically the same spread...with variations on the turkey, stuffing, gravy, and mashed potatoes.  We always have pumpkin and pecan pies...plus another one or two desserts that try to make the yearly roster.  Occasionally a variation on green bean casserole will make an appearance.  We always have my homemade applesauce and cranberries.  My youngest sister always brings mac & cheese, sweet potatoes, and greens.  Usually broccoli salad pops up.  This year I decided I was going to focus on the breads.  Nothing else extremely exciting to share...nothing inspiring me to wax poetic.  Family, football, food...delicious, button-popping plates...but I only busted out the camera once or twice.  Can you believe it?  I made three types of rolls...and all were perfection.  Let's start with the brioche...

Brioche Rolls
recipe by Dorie Greenspan via BOM found here
makes 12 rolls or 2 loaves
(Don’t skip the overnight rest — it’s what gives the brioche its lovely texture.)

¼ c. warm-to-the-touch whole milk
¼ c. warm-to-the-touch water
3 Tbs. sugar
4 tsp. active dry yeast
2¾ c. all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
12 Tbs. (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Pour the warm milk and water into the bowl of a stand mixer, add a pinch of the sugar, and sprinkle over the yeast. In another bowl, mix the flour and salt together.

When all the yeast has absorbed some liquid, stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until you have a creamy mixture. Fit the mixer with the dough hook, add all of the flour mixture at once, and turn the mixer on and off in a few short pulses to dampen the flour. Set the mixer to medium-low speed and mix for a minute or two, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed, until you have a shaggy, fairly dry mass. At this point, what you’ve got won’t look like a dough at all — in fact, it will be pretty ugly, but that doesn’t matter.

Scrape down the bowl, turn the mixer to low, and add the beaten eggs one third at a time, beating until each addition is incorporated before adding the next. Beat in the remaining sugar, increase the mixer speed to medium, and beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough starts to come together.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the butter in 2-Tbs. chunks. I like to squeeze the butter between my fingers to soften it even more just before I toss it into the bowl. Beat for about 30 seconds, or until each piece of butter is on its way to being almost incorporated, before adding the next little chunk of butter. When all the butter is in, you’ll have a dough that is very soft, really almost like a batter. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and climbs up the hook, about 10 minutes, or a little longer.

Transfer the dough to a lightly buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave it at room temperature until it’s nearly doubled in size; it will take at least 1 hour, maybe longer, depending on the warmth of your room.

Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator until it stops rising as energetically, about 2 hours; “slap” it down every 30 minutes.

Press the plastic against the surface of the dough and leave it in the refrigerator to chill overnight. The dough is ready to use after its overnight rest (and will keep in the refrigerator up to three days).

Divide the chilled dough into 12 portions, divide each portion into 3 pieces, and shape each piece into a ball. Place three dough balls into each of 12 buttered muffin tins.  Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap/film and set aside to rise, until doubled in size, ~1½-2 hours.
When the rolls are almost risen, preheat the oven to 400° F. Brush each roll with egg wash (1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon cold water), bake for 20-23 minutes, or until risen and golden.
Cool on a rack for 15 minutes, then unmold the loaves and allow them to cool for at least 1 hour.

To make loaves: Divide the chilled dough in half. Cut each half into 4 pieces and roll each piece into a log about 3 1/2 inches long.
Butter and flour two 7 1/2-x-3 1/2-x-2-inch [or larger] loaf pans and arrange 4 logs crosswise in each pan. Cover the pans and leave them at room temperature until the dough almost fills the pans, 1 to 2 hours. Place the pans on a baking sheet, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the loaves are nicely risen and beautifully golden.  Cool as for rolls.  Let sit at least an hour before slicing.


*This post is linked to:
BYOB