Bread making season has arrived! And it won't be over for a long-long time, so I can't wait to dig into my recipes, knead, braid, proof, bake and taste the fresh and hot amazingness.
Autumn is always considered as a start of new things, we make new resolutions, start, or start over things. It was last autumn that I started to teach myself the secret of breadmaking, and during this past year I made so many disasters and so many successes that now I am ready to pick my favourites. If I needed to have a favourite to-go bread, I would definitely go with this sweet brioche bread.
I've always though this was Hungarian, but actually brioche itself has a French origin and this braided style appears in Jewish cuisine the most. We still look at it as a traditional Hungarian recipe, typically made for Easter, sometimes with raisins in it as well.
Good news is that this is probably one of the easiest bread recipes. If you are patient with kneading the dough - which is not difficult at all -, there aren't many things that can go wrong.
This recipe yields two small brioche loafs, or one large. (the one on the picture is a large one, around half a kilo)
340 g all purpose flour
34 g icing sugar
34 g soft butter
2 egg yolks
half a sachet (aroud 3,5 g) of instant dried yeast
165 ml lukewarm milk
pinch of salt
Mix the icing sugar and yeast with the milk and let it stand for a minute. Mix the salt with the flour and rub in the butter. Add the milk and the egg yolks and start mixing it with your hand. Once it all came together, transfer to a wooden cutting board or the clean kitchen counter and start kneading. Knead for 10 minutes. Put it back into the bowl and cover it with a kitchen towel, Let it proof for an hour at a warm place.
When it's doubled the size, you're ready to braid. For the braiding, divide the dough into six parts. You're going to need six parts per loaf, so divide the dough into twelve if you're making two small loafs. You can always braid it in the classic way, using only three 'strains' of dough. The method I'm going to explain is the one I made the loaf on the photos with,
While you're working with one piece of dough, always cover the rest with a kitchen towel.
Roll each piece to a long sausage. Make sure all the sausages are more or less the same length.
Dust the sausages with flour, and join three of them together at the top. Join the other three as well, and finally join the two sets of threes. You are supposed to have two sets of threes. Pull the sets apart a bit.
Cross your hands over the sausages, right above left. With your hands crossed, grab the sausage on the two ends, so the one on the far left and the one on the far right. Cross the sausages. Now your hands shouldn't be crossed anymore.
You're still holding the two sausages crossed over. Put the one down in your right hand to the immediate left - now you should have three sausages on the left side, with the one you just put down the closest to the centre. With your right hand, grab the far left one from this group and pull it under your left hand. Now put the sausage in your left hand down to the immediate right, creating again a group of three on the right side, with the one you just put down the closest to the centre.
With your left hand, grab the far right from the right side group and pull it under your right hand. Put the one in your right hand to the immediate left. Grab the far left sausage with your right hand, and pulling it under your left hand, place it to the immediate left. Continue this until the sausages are over. Push the ends together and tuck it under the bread.
When you're finished with braiding, cover with a kitchen towel again and let it proof for half an hour at a warm place.
When it's ready, mix a pinch of salt a tiny bit of water with a yolk of egg, and brush the loaf with a pastry brush. Bake it on 185 degrees for 25 minutes.
Wait for around 10 minutes before cutting and enjoying your beautiful homemade bread!