In a previous video recipe I demonstrated how to make amazing hamburger brioche buns. But the dough used in that recipe isn't limited to just hamburger buns, it also makes a great loaf of bread. When sliced it can be used for toast points, French toast, or a world class grilled cheese sandwich. When cubed it can be pan fried as croutons, and any left over portions of the loaf can be placed in the food processor, finely chopped, and dried for homemade bread crumbs.
In fact, when holiday season rolls around, you can be sure we'll be drying out cubes of this bread to make stuffing. The possibilities truly are endless.
- Scald milk by placing in a sauce pot and bringing to a simmer. Be careful not to allow the milk to boil over. Cool to 100°F/37°C
- Dissolve yeast into warm milk by whisking vigorously.
- Once yeast is dissolved into milk, whisk in eggs until fully incorporated.
- Add bread flour and diastatic malt powder and mix with dough hook attachment. Once no more dry flour is visible, turn off mixer, cover mixing bowl with plastic wrap, and allow to rest for 30 minutes (autolyse).
- After 30 minute rest, mix in sugar, and salt.
- Continue to mix with the dough hook, adding one pat of whole butter at a time, until the butter is fully incorporated.
- Once butter is incorporated, continue to knead with dough hook on medium speed for 10-15 minutes, or until the dough is cohesive and passes the windowpane test (see video for visual cue).
- Remove dough from mixing bowl, round, and place in a plastic container that has been sprayed with non stick spray.
- Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, then refrigerate overnight (anywhere from 12-16 hours).
- The following day, remove dough from fridge and scale dough into 155-160g portions.
- Flatten portioned dough on the work surface into a roughly shaped disc. Fold each edge of the disc into the center, pinching the seems together, forming a strong crease.
- Bench rest seem side down while forming the rest of the brioche balls.
- Round dough by pressing the seem side into the table while making a rounding motion. This will give you a tight skin on the top, which will lead to better oven spring.
- Place 3 balls of dough in a 9X5" loaf pan (see video for more details).
- Cover with plastic wrap and allow to proof at room temperature for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size.
- Once proofing is complete, brush the tops of the dough with egg yolks that have been mixed with a small splash of water.
- Bake in a convection oven at 375°F/190°C for 25-30 minutes, or until the top of the bun is a rich golden brown, and the internal temperature is between 200-205°F/93-96°C.
- Let cool at room temperature for at least an hour before slicing.
- For a longer shelf life, allow the bread to cool completely to room temperature and then wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
A lot of bread recipes that use milk will call for it to be scalded first (heating to a temperature of 180°F/82.2°C). This serves to deactivate the whey protein in the milk, which can weaken gluten structure, leading to a denser loaf. To achieve optimal oven spring, and to make the dough much easier to work with during the mixing and forming stage, scalding the milk and described in the above instructions is highly recommended.
For best results, allow your butter to come to room temperature, and incorporate it one small pat at a time. The butter will have a tendency to ride up the side of the mixing bowl. When this happens, simply stop the mixer, and hand mix the butter back into the dough using the dough hook attachment.
MIXING BY HAND
Although the instructions use a stand top mixer, I actually prefer to mix this dough by hand. Once the mixing technique is mastered it can actually be faster than a mechanical mixer and the ingredients will be better blended. The specific technique used to hand mix this dough is called "frisage" and is demonstrated in this video here.
Chilling the dough in the refrigerator overnight accomplishes two things. First, the slower fermentation will help to add complexity of flavor, yielding a tastier loaf of brioche. Second, because this dough has a high fat content, it will be extremely hard to handle and form at room temperature. This is why the dough is portioned and formed as soon as it is removed from the fridge.
For added flavor and convenience, you can delay the fermentation a second time after forming; simply cover the loaf pans with plastic wrap, and instead of allowing the loaves to proof at room temperature, place in your refrigerator for up to 16 hours.
When removed from the refrigerator, if the dough has already doubled in size, bake immediately as instructed above. If it has yet to double in size, leave covered at room temperature until the dough has finished proofing, and then bake.
When using this method, you may find that the yeast activates unevenly when baked directly from refrigeration, giving you certain portions of dough that rise faster than others. Best case scenario would be to pull the dough from the fridge once it's risen 1.5X its original volume, and then allow it to rise to a total of 2X its original volume at room temperature before baking. This "tempering" at room temperature will lead to a more even oven spring.
SKIPPING THE OVERNIGHT REST
If you're in a hurry, this brioche bread can be made in one day by omitting the overnight rise.
- After mixing, allow the dough to proof at room temperature for about 1 hour.
- Place in your fridge and chill for 2-3 hours.
- Pull dough from the refrigerator and form into loaves immediately as instructed above.
- Proof at room temperature until doubled in size, and bake according to the temperatures given above.
USING DIASTATIC MALT POWDER
An optional ingredient in this dough formulation is diastatic malt powder. I sometimes find that this scares people since they aren't familiar with the term, but it really is a normal and natural dough enhance. Diastatic malt powder is created by first allowing barley to sprout, after which it is dried and ground into a fine flour.
This releases and enzyme that when hydrated will help break up the starch in flour to simple sugars that yeast can more readily consume. This in fact happens naturally, all-be-it at a much slower rate, when flour is hydrated by water in any bread recipe. The addition of diastatic malt powder allows for more starch to sugar conversion which results in a superior oven spring, moister crumb, and a more shelf stable product.
However, this recipe will still be awesome without the addition of diastatic malt powder, so feel free to leave it out for sake of convenience or if you happen to be afraid of big words.