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Enriched yeast-dough often baked in the shape of a cottage loaf, usually eaten warm for breakfast or used as toast with patés and terrines.
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For one batch (about 15 small brioches, or 1 oblong or round bread tin):
- 500g/17 oz Strong White Flour
- 2 rounded teaspoons Salt
- 30g/1 oz Sugar
- 15g (or 1 packet) of 'instant' yeast
- 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
- 6 medium Eggs
- 250g/8 oz Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
1. Sift the flour into a big bowl and make a big well in the centre.
2. Add the yeast, sugar and salt to the well – keeping each in three sepaate piles.
3. Using you fingers, dilute the yeast with the hand-hot water without sisturbing the sugar and salt.
4. Mix this in with some of the flour, and leave to rise for about 10 minutes.
5. Break in 10 of the eggs, and mix these in to the mixture, with your finger tips – the mixture can now all be amalgamated.
6. Knead until it’s smooth and elastic – adding another egg if necessary.
7. Slowly add the softened butter to the dough kneading it in until it’s all absorbed.
8. Transfer the dough to a lightly-oiled bowl, turn it over, and cover it with a damp cloth and let it ‘prove’ or rise at room temperature for about 2 hours or until it’s nearly doubled in bulk.
9. Knock the dough back again and put it into your chosen tin(s), which have been lightly buttered or lined with silicon paper. (If wanting your brioches to look traditional, pinch off a third from each piece of dough and shape both large and small pieces into balls. Set a large ball in the base of each tin, cut a deep cross in the top and nestle the smaller ball into it.)
These can be refrigerated for up to 36 hours or frozen for up to 3 weeks.
10. Allow the brioche(s) to rise in a warm place until they have doubled in size again (Chilled brioches may have risen sufficiently already).
11. Heat the oven to 220°/425°/Gas 7.
12. Brush the brioches with the remaining egg(s) and bake for 15-20 minutes for small brioches, 35 minutes for a large one, turning the oven down to 190°/375°/Gas 5 after the first 15 minutes.
When fully baked, the brioches should sound hollow when tapped.
Cool them on a wire rack.