So if you're a long time reader of my blog, you'll know that I've wanted to start segueing into baking bread for sometime now. I swore in this post and that post that I will make more bread... and yet still I avoided it. So I declared November bread month. This is it guys! This month, I will do nothing but bake bread...
Then I realized it was my blog's 1 year birthday. Did I reallllyy want to bake bread for that celebration? Seemed kinda lame... Oh, and then I bought some cute little mason jars at Sur La Table — clearly, a custard/flan was in order, right? And THEN I got recruited to bake cakes for my coworker's baby shower. You can see where this is going.
So it's now mid-November and I'm finally presenting to you my first bread recipe: bubble top brioche! Why the name bubble top brioche? Because the dough is baked in a muffin tin and expands out in the oven to produce bubble tops:
Pretty cool right? Admittedly, it's a little bit hard to use for sandwich purposes, because being baked in a muffin tin results in cupcake- (or mushroom-) shaped bread:
Not great for burger buns (believe me, I tried), but perfect for french toast the next morning. Nom.
This recipe is an oldie but a goldie from the Bon Appetit online archives. I was a little bit wary of the recipe at first — a quick skim revealed that it was very time consuming, with multiple proofing, rising, and kneading times involved. Oh, and there's also a step where you have to chill the dough overnight. So let me warn you now: this is definitely not the kind of recipe you start late in the evening folks. But despite all this, the recipe was actually foolproof, producing beautiful, buttery breads that looked exactly like Bon Appetit's picture. To top it all off, slicing the bread open revealed a beautiful, bubbly, and fluffy crumb:
So without further ado, I present to you the most foolproof recipe to get bakery-style brioche... enjoy:
Bubble Top Brioche
(Adapted from Bon Appetit)
For the Bubble Top Brioche:
(makes 6 HUGE brioches)
- 1/4 cup warm water, at a temperature between 110( F) to 115 (F)
- 1/4 cup warm whole milk, at a temperature between 110( F) to 115 (F)
- 3 teaspoons active dry yeast (measured from two 1/4-ounce envelopes)
- 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the Egg Glaze:
(makes enough for 6 brioches)
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon water
For the Bubble Top Brioche:
- Combine 1/4 cup warmed water and 1/4 cup warmed milk in the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Sprinkle 3 teaspoons yeast over the mixture and stir to moisten evenly. Let stand until yeast dissolves, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.
- Add 2 3/4 cups flour and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt to the yeast mixture. Blend at medium-low speed until shaggy lumps form, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally — this should take around 1 or 2 minutes. Add 3 eggs, one at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Beat in 3 tablespoons sugar. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat until the dough is smooth — this should take around 3 minutes.
- Reduce speed to low. Add 12 tablespoons butter, one tablespoon at a time, beating until blended after each addition — this should take about 4 minutes, and the resulting dough will be soft and silky. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and climbs the paddle — this should take around 8 to 9 minutes.
- Lightly butter a large bowl. Scrape dough into the bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a warm, draft-free area until almost doubled in volume — this should take anywhere between an hour and 15 minutes, to an hour and a half.
- Gently deflate dough by lifting around the edges, then letting dough fall back into bowl, turning bowl and repeating as needed. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and chill, deflating dough in the same way every 30 minutes until dough stops rising, about 2 hours. Chill overnight.
- Butter your muffin pan. Divide dough into 6 equal pieces, and cut each piece into thirds. Roll each small piece between palms into a ball. Place 3 balls in each prepared cup — don't worry about filing the cup! As the dough rises, it'll expand out.
- Place muffin pan in a warm, draft-free area and lay a sheet of wax paper over the dough. Let the dough rise until light and almost doubled. This should take about an hour — the dough will rise half an inch to an inch above the top rim of the muffin cups).
- Preheat the oven to 400 (F). Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet. Beat together 1 large egg and 1 teaspoon of water, and gently brush the mixture (egg glaze) over the risen dough, being careful that the glaze does not drip between the dough and pan – watch out! The egg glaze dripping between the pan and dough can prevent full expansion in the oven.
- Position the baking sheet on a rack in the center of the oven. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cover with foil if the brioches are browning too quickly. Transfer pan to a cooling rack and cool for 10 minutes. Remove brioches from pan.