The process used in making brioches is more complicated than that for most bread, and particular care must be taken in the early stages. Your efforts, however, will be rewarded, because brioches are the most delicious of buns. This traditional
recipe may be used for either a Grosse Brioche a tete (grohs bree-yohsh ah tet) or the smaller individual Petites Brioches
aux tetes (p’-teet bree-yohsh oh tet). Both have the classic ‘heads’.
3 oz. butter 8 oz. flour
½ oz. yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons castor sugar 2 eggs
3 tablespoons milk
1 egg, lightly beaten Place the butter on a marble slab or on
a sheet of greaseproof or waxed paper on a board. Soften the butter by beating it with a rolling pin. Then spread it out
with the heel of your hand until it is smooth and soft. Scrape the butter off the marble, or paper, with a knife and set
it aside on a plate.
Clean the board or marble slab. Dry it thoroughly and then sift the flour on to it. Using your fingers, draw aside one-
quarter of the flour and make a well in the centre. Crumble the yeast into the well and moisten it with only enough warm
water to dissolve the yeast. Using your fingers, mix to a soft dough. Gather the dough into a ball and, with a knife, cut
a cross in the top.
Slide the yeast ball into a bowl of lukewarm water. Be sure the water is not hot, or it will kill the yeast. Set the bowl
aside for 8 minutes. In this time the yeast ball should rise to the surface and double in size. With your hand, scoop the yeast ball out of the bowl and drain it on a cloth. If your dough is not finished by the time the yeast ball is ready, cover it with an inverted mixing bowl until you are ready to use it.
Sprinkle the remaining flour with the salt and sugar. Make a well in the centre and into this break the eggs and add a little milk. Mix the eggs and milk together with your fingers and gradually draw in the flour. Continue mixing, adding
more milk if necessary, until the mixture becomes a sticky dough.
Beat the dough with the ringers of one hand by drawing the dough up and then throwing it down again on to the board.
Continue lifting, throwing, and scraping the dough back together again into a mass. After about 10 minutes of such
beating, the dough should have enough elasticity and body so that it hardly sticks to your fingers.
Now begin to work the softened butter gradually into the dough. Add only about
2 tablespoons at a time. After each addition of butter, beat the dough, mix it vigorously with your fingers and smear it around on the board. When all the butter has been incorporated, the dough should be smooth and only barely sticky.
With your fingers, mix the drained yeast ball thoroughly into the dough. The consistency of the finished dough will be
like that of stiffly whipped cream.
Scrape the dough off the board with a knife and gather it into a ball in your hands. Place it in a clean, lightly floured
bowl that is large enough to allow the dough to double in size. Cover with a cloth and put the bowl in a warm place
(80°F-85°F) for 3 hours.
For Brioche, crumble the yeast into Gather the yeast dough into a compact Break the eggs into the remaining the flour, moistening with a little ball and, with a sharp knife, cut a flour and gradually work in the milk
warm water to dissolve the yeast.cross in the top.to form a sticky dough.
Beat the dough for about 10 minutes, Gradually work the butter into the Mix the yeast ball into the dough and by drawing
it up and throwing it dough, beating and mixing it vigo- put the complete dough into a bowl.
down, until it is elastic.rously, until it is smooth.Cover the bowl and leave for 3 hours.
Place three-quarters of the dough in a brioche mould and, with your fingers, make a well in the centre.
Roll the remaining dough into a ball and firmly push it into the hole in the centre.
At the end of this time, the dough will have doubled in bulk. Push the dough down with your fist, cover the bowl with
aluminium foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight. An alternative method is to put the covered bowl
directly into the refrigerator, instead of putting it in a warm place, and leaving it to rise for at least 12 hours.
Remove the bowl from the refrigerator. The dough will now be firm enough to handle and is ready to be shaped, proved and baked.
To make a large brioche, butter a fluted 1-pint brioche mould or a baking sheet. Turn the dough out of the bowl on to a lightly floured board or marble slab. Knead the dough lightly with the heel of your hand. Form the dough into a roll.
With a knife, cut off one-quarter of the dough and roll the remaining three-quarters into a ball. Place this ball in the mould or on the baking sheet. Make a hole in the centre of the ball by inserting three fingers into it.
Roll the remaining quarter of dough into a ball and taper one side into a point. Firmly push this ‘tail’ into the hole in the larger ball.
With a knife, make a few shallow incisions in the large ball close under the ‘head’. Cover the mould or baking sheet and put it in a warm place. Leave to rise again (to prove) for 15 minutes. The proving may also be done on a rack over a tin
of boiling water.
Preheat the oven to very hot 475°F (Gas Mark 9, 240°C).
After proving, brush the surface of the brioche with beaten egg. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes until the brioche has risen and is beginning to brown. Reduce the oven temperature to moderate 350°F (Gas Mark 4, 180°C) and continue baking for 30 minutes. The brioche is done when the surface is golden brown and a knife plunged down into the centre comes out clean.
Take the brioche out of the oven and transfer it to a wire rack. Cool the brioche for 25 minutes before lifting it out of the mould.
To make small individual brioches, butter 8 small brioche moulds (fluted, deep, tartlet moulds). After the dough has been
removed from the refrigerator, lightly kneaded and shaped into a roll, divide it into 8 egg-sized portions. Cut off one-
third of each ‘egg’ with a knife and roll the remaining two-thirds of each ‘egg’ into balls. Place the balls in the moulds and make an indentation in the top of each ball with one finger.
Shape the remaining one-third of dough into smaller balls, tapering into tails, and push one into the indentation in each
large ball. Place the filled moulds on a baking sheet and prove in a warm place for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to hot 425°F (Gas Mark 7, 220°C).
After proving, brush each brioche with beaten egg. Bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes. When done, the tops will
be golden brown. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the moulds to a wire rack. Cool the brioches for 20
minutes before turning out.