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Brioche

by

Yield: Makes 1 large loaf.

A bread to glorify when it gets stale! Jeannine makes 4 or 5 loaves at a time. To get just the right texture for her French Toast, she freezes the loaves, then thaws them and stores them in the refrigerator for several days. Plan ahead to make this bread; it's an overnight affair. –The Astoria, Rosendale, New York

Starter

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup sifted flour
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter, softened

Instructions:

Dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the flour and knead into a ball. It will be very sticky. Fill a large bowl with water (approximately 85° F.). Drop the ball into the water and make sure the water stays warm by adding more hot water 1f necessary. After a few minutes the ball will expand and float to the surface. Remove pat dry and put in a dry bowl. Add the butter and mix well. 'The finished starter will be very soft and wet.

Dough

Ingredients:

  • 4-1/4 cups sifted flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm milk (85° F.)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 eggs plus 6 yolks, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream

Instructions:

In a large bowl sift the flour. Make a well in the center and add the sugar, milk, salt, 2 eggs plus 6 yolks, and butter. Using one hand only, knead the dough into a wet, sticky ball. (Do not add any more flour; the dough will be very wet.) Continue kneading until the dough feels. less sticky. Move the dough to a clean, dry surface. Pick It up and slam it down hard. Repeat this several times, alternating with more kneading, until the dough becomes springy and elastic (about 10 minutes).
Place the dough back in the bowl. Add the starter and work in well. Cover with a sheet of buttered waxed paper and a dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for 2 hours. Punch the dough down and refrigerate overnight. Punch the dough down again in the morning and turn into a large, buttered pan (the dough should take up about two-thirds of the pan). Let rise in a warm place until the dough doubles in size, approximately 2 hours. Preheat oven to 450*F. Make a glaze by beating the remaining egg and heavy cream together. Brush the dough's surface with the glaze and bake 45 minutes. If the top browns too quickly, cover it loosely with a piece of aluminum foil. Remove the bread immediately from the pan and cool.
Updated Friday, October 23rd, 2009
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