I have been doing a lot of cooking/baking this year and I have enjoyed it so much. This is literally the best thing I have made from scratch all year. This recipe is from the book The Paris Pastry Club that my Aunt got me earlier this year for my birthday. I absolutely LOVED making this recipe. It was fairly easy to make and you have enough for two loaves. It's easy to put one away in the fridge and only make one. The best way to enjoy a loaf is the first thing right out of the oven as you can taste the butter. I promise you will thank me once you make this because it is literally that good.
I decided to wait to post this for Christmas because it is the perfect for the weekend. You can make the dough ahead of time and bake it on Christmas morning. If you want to take it one step further you can make brioche french toast. The minute I bit into this I declared it was the best thing I have made all year.
60g whole milk
2 vanilla pods, seeds
550g plain flour
2 teaspoons sea salt
50g caster sugar
10g fresh yeast, crumbled
325g butter diced
1 egg beaten, for egg wash
Mix the milk and vanilla seeds in a small bowl and set aside.
If you have a stand mixer, fit the dough hook and mix the flour, salt, and sugar together on slow speed. Add the yeast. Then pour in the vanilla milk and the eggs.
Switch to medium speed and knead for 10 minutes, or until the dough can be stretched without breaking. Scrape the sides of the bowl ever now and then to ensure everything is mixed together.
Alternatively, mix the ingredients by hand then turn out onto a floured work surface and knead until the dough can be stretched without breaking.
Now add the butter, one piece at a time, and then almost all of it is in, increase the speed and knead until smooth (or knead by hand). The dough should stop sticking to the side of the bowl (or work surface) and should be silky and very smooth, although somewhat tacky.
You can chill the dough overnight to make for easier shaping- perfect if you want a coffee/brioche/jam kind of breakfast. Simply transfer to a plastic container, cover the surface with cling wrap and chill in the fridge.
If you are keener on a late afternoon buttery treat, then continue by buttering 2 x 1 liter loaf tins. Scrape the dough from the bowl onto a clean and lightly flowered surface. Divide in half and use your hands to form into smooth balls. Gently roll each into a log the length of your tins and place them inside. With the back of your fingers, press the dough down to form a flat surface. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to prove somewhere warm for about 60 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 170 degrees C
When the dough has risen, brush the tops of the loaves with the beaten egg and, using floured scissors cut a line down the length of each brioche. Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of each loaf comes out clean. If they start to brown too quickly, cover loosely with foil and continue baking until ready.
If you decide to bake brioche for breakfast the next day, prepare and bake in the same way, but allow the dough longer to prove. You will probably need around 90 minutes for it to double in size.
Brioche French Toast
My personal french toast recipe is an even mixture of egg and milk. I sprinkle a little cinnamon and a splash of vanilla. The milk mixture with the cinnamon goes first followed by the egg mixture. Dip the brioche to soak up the bread completely.
Serve with your choice of fruit and syrup.