M-J's Instructions for Making Brioche

 M-J de Mesterton's Original Brioche Recipe in Pictures
©Copyright April 30th, 2011

Six eggs plus one egg-yolk, five or six cups of unbleached flour, one teaspoon of honey, one teaspoon of sugar, one half-teaspoon of salt, one half-cup of warmed buttermilk, one heaping teaspoonful of yeast, and two sticks of butter are M-J's ingredients for brioche. For a finishing egg-wash, you will need a seventh egg and a pastry-brush. Her recipe makes six brioches à tetes and eight full-sized hamburger buns. You will need a stand-mixer with a dough-hook to make M-J's brioche recipe.
Mix warmed buttermilk with yeast, add one egg, one cup of flour and the teaspoon of honey. Mix well and cover with another cup of flour. Let rise uncovered for thirty or forty minutes, until the sponge is two or more times its original size and its surface resembles cracked earth.
Adding brioche ingredients is a gradual procedure.
Begin adding flour, eggs, sugar, salt and room-temperature butter cut into small sections, in alternate measures, gradually, in the bowl of a stand-mixer. Beat the brioche dough with your dough-hook attachment until it pulls away from the side of the machine's metal bowl. Turn off the stand-mixer motor now and then to let it cool off a bit. Mind the mixer as it goes through its paces, because with this vigorous dough-beating it will inevitably move across the work-surface. Ideally, you will beat the brioche dough for thirty minutes. The French word, "brioche" refers to this process.
This is the proper texture for brioche dough. This batch is almost finished being beaten after twenty minutes. Notice the sides of the bowl; they are almost cleaned of sticky dough by the slapping motion of the process. The dough is allowed to rest for a few minutes while the stand-mixer motor cools off a little. Ten more minutes of beating will follow.

It is now time to unplug the stand-mixer, raise its head, remove its dough-hook, and then, grabbing the machine to stabilise it, bump the stationery bowl out of position with the heel of your hand against its handle. Your brioche dough can now be left to rise in this stainless steel bowl, covered loosely with plastic-wrap.
M-J's Brioche Dough Rising

After the brioche dough has risen to two times its original size, you may punch it down and form it into shapes. M-J usually lets hers rise a second time before finally shaping the brioches à tetes and hamburger buns. Once your brioche dough is in a baking- pan, let it rise to double the original size. Then use your seventh whole egg to create a final coating of egg-wash, by mixing it with a half-teaspoon of water and brushing the brioche tops with it, using a pastry-brush. 
Because of their high butter-content, greasing pans will not be necessary. Bake your pans of brioches on the center-rack a medium-hot oven (375 Fahrenheit) for about twenty minutes. The time and temperature of baking will depend upon the conditions where you live, and the phase of the moon, therefore you must keep a close-eye on the brioche while it is baking. Lower the heat to 350F if their bottoms or tops begin to darken unevenly. Serve the brioche after it has cooled for at least ten minutes. If you are serving them the next day, these gems will benefit from being warmed in the oven first. Keeping the dough for more than one day in the refrigerator will sour its taste considerably in an undesirable way. However, brioche dough freezes well. 

©M-J de Mesterton 2011

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