Basic Brioche Dough

Makes: 2 loaves   Prep Time: 35 minutes   Rise Time: 10 hours (total)   Bake Time: 35-45 minutes  Total Time: 11 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 3 1/4 teaspoons (1 1/2 packages) active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup + 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 10-12 pieces

Directions:

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the all-purpose flour, bread flour, yeast, sugar, salt, water, and 5 of the eggs.  Beat on low speed for 3-4 minutes, or until all of the ingredients have come together.  Stop the mixer, scrape the sides of the bowl, and then continue to beat on low speed for another 3-4 minutes.
  2. On low speed, add the butter one piece at a time, mixing after each addition until the butter disappears into the dough.  After all of the butter is added stop the mixer again, scrape the sides, and then continue mixing for 10 minutes on low speed.
  3. Once the butter is completely incorporated, turn up the speed to medium and beat for another 15 minutes, or until the dough becomes sticky, soft, and shiny.  After this happens turn the speed up to medium-high for 1 minute.  Stop the mixer and test the dough by pulling at it.  It should stretch and have a little bit of give.  If it seems wet and loose add a few tablespoons of flour and mix until it comes together.  If it breaks into pieces when you pull at it, continue to mix for 2-3 minutes.  It is ready when you can gather it all together and pick it up in one piece.
  4. Place the dough in a large bowl or plastic container and cover it with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the surface of the dough.  Let the dough proof in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or up to overnight.  At this point the dough can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
  5. If you are making anything other than a brioche loaf continue on to your recipe that calls for brioche dough at this point.
  6. To make the brioche loaves, line the bottom and sides of two 9x5 loaf pans with parchment, or butter liberally.  Divide the dough in half and press each piece into a 9-inch square.  Facing the square, fold down the top one-third toward you, and then fold up the bottom one-third, as if folding a letter.  Press the layers together.  Turn the folded dough over and place it seam-side down in one of the prepared pans.  Repeat with the second piece of dough.
  7. Cover the loaves lightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to proof for 4-5 hours, or until the loaves are doubled in size.  Position a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350°.
  8. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining egg until blended.  Gently brush the tops of the loaves with the beaten egg.
  9. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the tops and sides of the loaves are completely golden brown.  Let cool in the pans on wire racks for 30 minutes.
  10. --To make black pepper brioche loaves - After the dough has been divided in half, knead 1 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper into each half.  Then shape, proof, and bake as directed.