Friday, March 25, 2011

No-Knead Brioche


Makes 4 (1 lb.) loaves
(The recipe is easily doubled or halved.)
Recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
Husband-Tested in Alice’s Kitchen

Brioche is rich with butter, egg and a touch of honey.  In this recipe, there’s no need to knead!  Just mix the ingredients together, allow to rest a bit, pop it in the fridge overnight (or up to five days) and voila!  You have enough dough to make four loaves of brioche or many other pastry recipes including Husband-Tested Brioche Filled with Chocolate Ganache.

Special Equipment:  6-8 quart plastic container with a lid (If the container is airtight, drill three holes in the lid….See photo below.); pastry brush; plastic wrap; oil spray; cooling rack


Recipe
1 ½ cups lukewarm water (about 100°F)
1 ½ Tablespoons yeast (2 packets)
1 ½ Tablespoons Kosher salt
8 large eggs, slightly beaten
½ cup honey
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus more butter for greasing the pan(s)
7 ½ cups unsifted, unbleached, all-purpose white flour, measured with the scoop-and-sweep method (plus more for sprinkling on baking day)
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon of water)

Preparing the Dough:
Mix the yeast, salt, eggs, honey, and melted butter with the water in a large plastic container. (See note above about the plastic container.)  Add the flour.  Mix with really wet hands to make sure that all the flour is wet.  Do not knead.  You’re finished when everything is uniformly moist, without dry patches.  (The dough will yield a dough that is wet and loose enough to conform to the shape of its container.)
Cover with the plastic container lid.  Allow the mixture to rest at room temperature about 2 hours.  Place the risen dough in the refrigerator overnight.  (The dough may be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days.  Beyond 5 days, freeze the dough in 1-pound portions in an airtight container for us to 4 weeks.  When using frozen dough, thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours before using, then allow the usual rest and rise times.)

On Baking Day: 
Spray a piece of plastic wrap with oil and set aside.  Grease a 9 x 4 x 3-inch nonstick loaf pan.  Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit-size) piece.  Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Elongate into an oval and place in the prepared pan.  Allow to rest at room temperature for 1 hour and 20 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 350°F. Using a pastry brush, brush the top crust with egg wash.  Place the bread near the center of the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a medium golden brown.  Due to the fat in the dough, brioche will not form a hard, crackling crust.  Allow to cool before slicing or eating.


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