Extra time:8hr rising ›
- In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Make a well in centre and mix in the eggs and yeast mixture. Beat well until the dough has come together, then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and supple, about 8 minutes.
- Flatten the dough and spread it with one third of the butter. Gather into a ball and knead well. Repeat this twice to incorporate the remaining butter. Allow the dough to rest for a few minutes between additions of butter. This process may take 20 minutes or so.
- Lightly grease a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat. Cover with cling film and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour
- Deflate the dough, cover with cling film, and chill in the fridge for 6 hours or overnight. It needs time to chill in order to become more workable.
- Lightly grease two 900g loaf tins (or see footnote to make rolls). Beat the egg yolk with 1 teaspoon of water to make a glaze.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces, form into loaves and place into prepared tins. Cover with greased cling film and let rise until doubled in volume, about 60 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200 C / Gas 6.
- Brush the loaves (or rolls) with the egg wash, then transfer to the preheated oven to bake until a deep golden brown. Start checking the loaves for doneness after 25 minutes (and rolls at 10 minutes). Let the loaves cool in the tins for 10 minutes before moving them to wire racks to cool completely.
To make brioche rolls...
Called brioche a tete, you can also make individual rolls. To do so, grease muffin tins or fluted brioche molds. Divide the dough into the right number of portions for your tin. To shape the rolls, divide each piece again in portions of about 2/3 and 1/3. Roll each portion into balls. Put the larger piece into a plug and insert it in the hole so that it makes a small round, sitting on top of the first piece. Leave the brioche for 30 minutes, or until the base has risen to the edge of the pan. Brush with egg wash. Bake until deep golden-brown, checking after 10 minutes.
To use a stand mixer...
To make brioche in a stand mixer, combine the water, yeast, flour, sugar and eggs in a mixing bowl. Mix on low speed with the dough hook until the dough is fully developed, 10 to 15 minutes, scraping the dough down occasionally. With the mixer running, gradually add the softened butter a tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition. Place the dough in a greased bowl and proceed with the recipe.