Monday, January 6, 2014

Brioche for Befana Day


It's 'Befana Day', as Dylan says. You can read my brief take on this baking, tipsy witch: here.

In years past, we have made Couronne De L'Épiphanie, a Spanish Epiphany bread, and Dreikönigskuchen, a German one. This year, I opted to make some brioche dough rolls. And while we slathered them with homemade marscarpone and Aunt Jenn's homemade cherry jam for breakfast, I will fill them with gelato for dessert tonight!

Brioche is fairly easy to make, but it's time-consuming and required me to get up at 3:30 this morning, and again at 4:30am, to get it on the table by 7:30am. But this pillow-soft, golden-hued bread is worth it!

1/2 C warm water
1 T active dry yeast
3 T organic granulated sugar
6 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
4-1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 t sea salt
10 T butter, at room temperature
splash of olive oil
1 egg mixed with 1 T heavy cream, for egg wash

Combine the water, yeast, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Let bloom for 5 minutes. Add the eggs and beat on medium speed until well mixed. With the mixer on low speed, add 2 C of the flour and the salt and mix for 5 minutes. With the mixer still on low, add the remainder of the flour and mix for 5 more minutes. Scrape the dough into a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

This is what the dough looked like in the morning.

The next morning, allow the dough to sit at room temperature for 1 hour. I don't have any brioche tins, so I opted to use a muffin baking dish. Butter the hollows of a muffin baking stone. Set aside.

Add the softened butter in chunks, and mix for 2 minutes. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and divide the dough into balls and place them in the hollows. Cover the dish with a damp towel and set aside to rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. When the rolls have risen, brush the top of each with the egg wash, sprinkle with some more granulated sugar, and bake for 25 minutes, or until the tops spring back. Turn the rolls out onto a wire rack to cool.

Buona Befana!

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