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Sprinkle the yeast over the hot water, add the salt and sugar, and let yeast dissolve and rise in a soft mass on top of the liquid.  This will take 5 minutes or so; prepare rest of ingredients while yeast is proving itself.

*1 package (1/4 oz) dry active yeast
*3 Tb hot water (not over 110 degrees) in a cup
*1/4 tsp salt
*1/2 Tb granulated sugar

Pate a Brioche
From The French Chef Cookbook by Julia Child
Page 228

Made by Cheri
The very special, unbelievably light and airy texture of brioches is due to the large amount of butter and eggs worked into their yeast dough.  Delicious with breakfast or tea, eaten plain or with jam, brioches may be baked in loaf or muffin tins, formed in the traditional cylinder shape with round headpiece, or baked in a ring.  Stale brioches may be sliced and toasted, or hollowed out and used as edible containers for sauced foods.

For a 6 - 7-cup baking mold, or 8 muffin cups
1.  Preparing the yeast

 


2.  Mixing and kneading the dough

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brioches are lighter in texture if the dough has two risings before its final rising in the baking molds.  For the first rising, set at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or longer, until dough has risen by at least 2/3 and retreats slightly to the pressure of your finger.  (Because of high butter content, rising temperature should not be over around 70 degrees; let rise several hours in refrigerator in hot weather.)
Remove from bowl, punch down, and knead fora  moment.  Replace in bowl, sprinkle lightly with flour, and set in refrigerator for 4-5 hours until doubled in bulk.  (If left overnight, cover with a plate and weight to prevent overrising.)  Do not allow dough to rise more than double or yeast will overferment; before forming dough, punch down again.  (Dough may be frozen.)

 

3.  Rising

 

 

 

4.  Forming brioche en couronne (ring-shaped brioche)

 

 


5.  Glazing and clipping

 


6.  Baking

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Bake in middle level of oven.  Small brioches are done in about 15 minutes, when nicely browned and easily unmolded.  Large brioches bake for about 20 minutes until risen and beginning to brown, and should finish cooking at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.  Ring brioches take 20-30 minutes, until a knife or straw comes out clean.  The center frequently closes in as the brioche bakes.  If brioche browns too much, cover loosely with aluminum foil. 
When done, cool brioches on a rack for 15-20 minutes before serving.  Baked, cooled brioches may be frozen.  Defrost and reheat for a few moments in a 350-degree oven.

 


 

Blend flour, sugar, salt, eggs, and dissolved yeast in a mixing bowl with a rubber spatula, then turn out onto a pastry board or marble.  Begin lifting dough and throwing it roughly down on teh board with one hand; it will be very soft and sticky.  Continue lifting, throwing, and scraping dough back into a mass; when dough has enough body, begin kneading with the heel of your hand.  After a few minutes of vigorous work, dough should have enough elasticity and body so that it barely sticks to your hand; it is now ready to receive the butter.  Soften the butter by beating it with a rolling pin, then smearing it out on your board with the heel of your hand until it is perfectly smooth and about the same consistency as the dough.  Take a 2-Tb bit in your fingers and work it into the dough by beating, stirring vigorously, and smearing the dough around on the board.  Dough will seem ropy and stringy, but smooths out as it absorbs the butter.  Continue working in butter by bits until all has been incorporated and dough again barely sticks to your hand.  Then place dough in a clean bowl, sprinkle top with a teaspoon of flour, and cut a cross in the top with scissors (to help in rising).  Put bowl in a plastic bag or cover with a damp towel. 

2 cups (9 oz) all-purpose flour (measure by dipping dry-measure cup into flour; level off excess with straight-edged knife)
*1/2 Tb granulated sugar
*3/4 tsp salt
*3 eggs (U.S. Graded "large")
*1 1/2 sticks (6 oz) chilled butter

When brioches have risen, beat 1 egg in a bowl with 1 tsp of water and paint the brioches with the glaze.  Brioches are now to be clipped with scissors to help them shape up nicely while baking.  For the ring brioche, clip top at 1-inch intervals, making cuts about 1-inch deep and pointing scissors toward outside of ring at a 45-degree angle.

Ring-shaped brioche may be formed in a buttered and floured 4-quart ring mold, or may be shaped by hand.  For hand shaping, knead the doug into a smooth ball.  Make a hole in the center with your finger and twirl the dough around your finger, inserting more fingers and finally your hand as the inner circle widens.  Continue widening inner circle, finally using both hands; object is to make a doughnut 8-10 inches in diameter.  Rinse a baking sheet in cold water, shake off excess, and place brioche upon it.  In about 10 minutes, when dough has relaxed, you may widen the circle more.  Let rise to almost double (an hour or more).

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