There is this certain sense of joy and satisfaction whenever you make your own bread. Although seemingly daunting at first, baking bread at home is equally fun and relaxing. It is a great skill to have, and an addictive activity. Many people have the misconception that bread making is difficult. In reality, it is not. It is just time consuming. Which makes it the perfect activity for days when one has to stay indoors.
Plaited brioche is absolutely delicious and can be eaten on its own, as a sandwich or fried like a French toast. A simple but indulgent way to enjoy brioche, is to slice it and spread it with a thick layer of butter. The difference between brioche and normal bread, is the fact that brioche contains eggs and butter, which gives it a much richer taste and flavor. Therefore, brioche can be considered somewhat in between a pastry, and a regular bread. A rather fabulous combination.
The important aspect when making brioche, or any other bread, is to be patient and not to rush. Take your time to enjoy and relax while making it, and be pleasantly surprised with its wonderful results.
1 ½ cup (192 g) bread flour
1 packet (7 g) active dry yeast + 2 tbsp warm water
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs (approx. 60g each)
45 g white sugar
2 tsp vinegar
3 tbsp water
100 g unsalted butter – cut into cubes and soften at room temperature
Pour dry yeast into a small bowl and add in 2 tbsp warm water. Allow it to stand at room temperature for 5 mins or until you see bubbles.
In a stand mixer mixing bowl, add in flour, salt, eggs and yeast. Use a spatula and mix everything together until just combined. Let it hang out at room temperature while you prepare the sugar syrup.
In a small saucepan, add in sugar, vinegar and water. Bring to boil and simmer for 5 mins.
Turn off heat and let it cool for 5 mins.
Pour syrup into the dough batter and attach the dough hook.
Turn on your mixer and whisk at medium speed until a lumpy dough forms, approx. 5 mins.
With the mixer still on, add in the softened butter cubes, a few at a time and whisk until the dough no longer feels sticky.
*The initial process will look very wet and sticky and that’s okay. It’ll come together eventually. Do not be tempted to add in more flour.
Take a small piece of dough and stretch it gently. If it does not break so easily, your dough is ready.
Light grease a large bowl all over with some oil and place the dough inside.
Cover with a cling wrap and set it in a warm spot. I like to place it in an oven.
Allow the dough to rise for 1 hour or until it doubles in size.
Place the whole bowl into the fridge and let it rise for at least 12 hours or preferably overnight.
The next day, take the dough out of the fridge and separate into 3 equal pieces.
Roll each piece into long strips, about two times the length of an 8-inch loaf pan.
Gather one side of the three ends together and form a braid.
Tuck the ends together and place into a greased 8-inch loaf pan.
Cover and let it rise for another 2 hours or until it doubles in size.
Preheat oven to 190°C/375°F.
Brush the top gently with egg wash, avoid deflating the dough.
Bake for 20 mins or until the top is golden brown.
Let it cool on a wire rack for 10 -15 mins before unmolding.
Wrap unfinished portion with cling wrap and place into a plastic bag. The brioche keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days.