My yeast fear has completely abated and I now want to bake bread all of the time! While I do plan to go back and make up the breads I missed, I decided to jump in and make brioche before attacking the next recipe.
Brioche evokes images of tender buttery rolls that are splendid with jam or, gasp, Nutella. Since making this brioche intersected with the brioche tart that Tuesdays with Dorie was making, I decided to make the BBA brioche and defer making Dorie's for another time.
Before I got bitten by the yeast bug, I used to read my fellow bakers post that they whipped up a batch of brioche to use for... I thought they were insane overachievers. Wasn't something as ethereal as brioche the result of a full weekend of work, nurturing and coaxing? Uh, no. It's so easy even I can do it wrong and still get a great loaf.
Let the yeast proof with some milk and flour.
Combine the flour, yeast mixture and eggs and beat until combined, then add the softened butter a little at time. Beat with the paddle attachment of your mixer (I'm not yet brave enough to knead my doughs by hand) for about 8 minutes, spread on a sheet pan and allow to rest in the fridge for at least 4 hours or over night. Divide the dough and shape as desired.
Since my brioche pans haven't arrived yet, I made one loaf, two tartlets and stuck 13.7 ounces of dough in the freezer (can you say "sticky buns?") My loaf proofed in the oven on the dough proof cycle. developing a large blisterish thingy on it. I'm not sure what causes that, maybe adding 50% more yeast than needed?
I only made one mistake. Although I was making the middle class brioche, I referred to the rich man's brioche when measuring the yeast. The rich man's brioche requires more yeast due to the higher percentage of butter. I'm happy to say that this didn't ruin my brioche, but it did give us quite a laugh as it was baking. M. said it looked like I had a turkey in the oven. When I took it out of the oven, M. asked me how long we had to wait to have a piece. When I told him an hour, he let me know that it was unreasonable to expect him to wait that long for something that smelled so good. We cut it after 30 minutes, and it was rich, light and airy. I explained the difference between rich man's, middle class and poor man's brioche, and he was surprised that we weren't eating the rich man's. It was such a big hit that I'll be making the rich man's and then the poor man's. I think middle class is the way to go, but you won't find me complaining about eating more brioche.
Delicious, but not beautiful