Unfortunately, this loaf takes two days to make. Fortunately, it doesn't take much time the first day and the second day is mainly the rise. I love the Huckleberry Cookbook by Zoe Nathan and had seen a recipe there for a delicious Christmas breakfast...cranberry syrup over brioche French toast. No doubt you saw it on my blog before the holidays and I promised I'd post the recipe for the brioche loaf. I've made individual brioche, but never a loaf. It's not the prettiest loaf you've ever seen...but divine tasting. My rise went quickly because I have a proofing setting on my oven and after two hours, it was practically overflowing my loaf pan. I have a feeling Ms. Nathan uses a loaf pan made especially for brioche which would get the height I didn't get without the overflow. Doesn't matter, it was an awesome loaf...from the Christmas French toast, to our traditional Christmas brunch souffle, to sandwiches, to bread pudding, to just plain toast. We loved it. Worth the effort, I assure you.
From Huckleberry by Zoe Nathan
3 tablespoons whole milk
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 ¾ cups bread flour
¼ cup + 1 teaspoon sugar
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
5 eggs, beaten
1 cup unsalted butter, very soft
1 batch Egg Wash
For Egg Wash:
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp heavy cream
Pinch of kosher salt
Slightly warm the milk and pour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the yeast and whisk by hand to combine. Add the all-purpose flour, bread flour, sugar, salt, and eggs. Mix on low speed until the dough comes together, 1 to 2 minutes.
Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and work the dough for 6 minutes. Pause about every minute to push the dough back down into the bowl and off the hook.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the butter, a little at a time, over the course of 2 minutes. Pause halfway through to scrape down the bowl and hook. When the butter begins to blend in, increase the mixer speed to medium-high to fully incorporate the butter and bring the dough back together, 4 to 6 minutes longer.
Transfer the dough to a greased sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Divide the dough into two equal balls, about 11 oz/315 g each. Transfer to a greased sheet pan, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate overnight.
Grease a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan. Work with one dough ball at a time. First flatten into a disc, then left an edge and press it into the center. Work your way around the circumference, pressing every edge to the center until you have a ball. Flip the ball over so the pleated side is down and the smooth side is up. Cup the dough in your palm and massage the seam side of the dough firmly against the work surface in a circular motion, allowing the friction to seal the seams. Set aside and cover with plastic wrap or a slightly damp kitchen towel while you shape the next ball.
Place the balls into the loaf pan, cover loosely with plastic, and allow to rise in a warm place until more than doubled in size, about 3.5 hours.
As the dough nears readiness, preheat your oven to 350°F/180°C. Carefully brush the dough with the egg wash, making sure the egg doesn’t pool around the edges. Bake until golden, about 35 minutes. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack.
For the Egg Wash:
Combine the egg yolks, heavy cream, and salt and whisk until homogenous. Refrigerate until needed.