I first learned to make this brioche when I went to the Viking Cooking School in Franklin, Tennessee, and took their Artisan Bread class.
Quick and Easy Brioche
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 additional egg beaten with a pinch of salt
In a small bowl, heat the milk in the microwave until lukewarm (about 110 - 115 degrees F). Whisk the yeast into the warm milk, then stir 1 cup of the flour in the mixture with a spoon. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until slightly risen, about 20 minutes.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the butter, sugar, salt, eggs, and egg yolks. Pulse until the butter is finely chopped and equally distributed throughout the mixture.
Scrape the yeast mixture into the food processor and pulse 6 times to mix. Add 1 cup of the remaining flour and pulse until the mixture is smooth. Scrape down the bowl. Add the rest of the flour and pulse again until well mixed. Let the dough rest in the food processor for 10 minutes.
After the rest, start the processor and let it run continuously for 10 seconds. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. With the help of a pastry scraper, knead the dough 5 or 6 times, or until it is slightly more elastic. With the help of a pastry scraper, divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a thick even rope about 12 inches long. If the dough is too sticky to work with, refrigerate it for 20 minutes and start again.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the 3 ropes lengthwise on the sheet, with about 1/2 inch between them. Starting with the middle rope, braid the ropes toward you, pinching the ends together and gently tucking them under the loaf.
Cover the braid with buttered plastic wrap or a light kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in bulk, 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. When bread is ready to bake, brush the braid all over with the egg wash, being careful not to let it puddle in the creases of the braid. Bake until golden and glossy, about 25 - 30 minutes. Slide the parchment paper onto a wire rack to let the bread cool before slicing.
Brioche is a bread made rich with butter and eggs.
Divide the dough into 3 equal portions, then roll into thick ropes about 12 inches long.
After braiding the ropes, cover with buttered plastic wrap and let rise until doubled.
Brush the loaf with the egg wash before baking.
Slide the parchment paper to a wire rack so the bread can cool before slicing. AND, don't turn your back or leave the room, because there won't be a whole loaf to photograph if you do! The end of mine was missing when I came back for the pictures. Someone couldn't wait.