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09/20/2010

~ Bread Machine Basics & My Brioche Recipe ~

PICT0009 When I want to have a slice of toast in the morning or eat a sandwich for lunch, I want it to be on "real" bread and in my mind:  brioche is the best bread known to womankind for these simple, guilty pleasures.  I have always had a knack for bread baking.  As hard as I try, I can't remember ever having a bad bread baking experience or disaster.  Some might say certain talents "come naturally", or, "she was born with it".  In my case this is partially true because my grandmother was a marvelous bread baker, but there is a bit more to the story:

6a0120a8551282970b01538f61d247970b-800wiMy grandmother was at her best in the kitchen and she loved to be there.  Everything she did pretty much revolved around food:  her backyard vegetable garden and many fruit trees; her volunteer activities at the church; she even owned and operated a "mom and pop", in-home, neighborhood grocery store.  As the oldest granddaughter (we lived about 9 miles from her), I spent countless hours each week with her.  What I considered to be "playtime" actually turned out to be hands-on culinary training.  No exaggeration here:  by the age of five I knew how to knead and when to punch down a yeast dough.  Pictured here:  My brioche, mozzarella, basil and tomato grilled cheese sandwich!

IMG_5539Those were the good old days.  In today's world, even I (who possesses the skill and desire) no longer have the time to devote the better part of one day each week to baking bread for my family.  About three years ago, this bothered me enough to buck-up, break-down and buy a bread machine. On sheer principle alone (for me who could bake bread beautifully), I almost hoped I would hate the machine.  My wish almost came true.  The first few recipes I tried out of the instruction manual, while adequate, were, let us just say, not up to my standards.  After a period of a few months, I took the machine back out of the box, gave it a permanent spot in my kitchen (where we had to maintain eye-to-eye contact with each other) and started adapting my own and my grandmother's bread recipes to the bread machine.  Brioche was first.  Without further adieu:

IMG_5526Bread baked in a bread machine is rectangular in shape.  No matter what size loaf you elect to bake (most machines give you 3 options: 1-pound loaf; 1 1/2-pound loaf; 2- pound loaf), they will all get baked in the shape of the standard-size pan that comes with that machine. 

What is wrong with that?  Nothing.  Even though bread machine bread rises nicely and browns beautifully (all thanks to the many options the bread machine makes available to you), it "plainly" is not going to win any "bread beauty contests".  This is a give-and-take you will realize is well worth the sacrifice the moment you slice and taste the bread.

This is a picture of a 1-pound loaf of my brioche.  To make it you'll need: 

Bread Machine Brioche (Ingredients) #1For a 1-pound loaf:

1/2  cup whole milk

3  tablespoons salted butter, cut into pieces, preferably at room temperature

2  tablespoons + 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

3/4  teaspoon sea salt

1  extra-large egg, preferably at room temperature, lightly beaten

2  cups + 2 tablespoons unbleached, all-purpose flour

1  teaspoon granulated dry yeast, NOT rapid-rise (1/2 packet)

For a 2-pound loaf:

1  cup whole milk

6  tablespoons salted butter, cut into pieces, preferably at room temperature

5  tablespoons sugar

1 1/2  teaspoons sea salt

2  extra-large eggs, preferably at room temperature, lightly beaten

4  1/4  cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

2  teaspoons granulated dry yeast, NOT rapid-rise (1 packet)

Bread Machine Brioche (Process) #1~ Step 1.  This is the rectangular-shaped bread pan that came with my machine.  The paddle (which will do the kneading) has been inserted into it.  The instruction manual said to always insert the paddle in this position before adding any ingredients, so I do.

 

 

 

Bread Machine Brioche (Process) #2 ~ Step 2.  As directed, cut the butter into pieces.  In all of the following "process pictures", I'll be using the quantity listed for a 2-pound loaf of brioche.  This is 6 tablespoons of cubed butter.

 

 

 

 

 

Bread Machine Brioche (Process) #3 ~ Step 3.  In a 1-cup measuring container, heat milk until steaming.  This is quickly and easily done in the microwave oven.

 

 

 

 

 

Bread Machine Brioche (Process) #4 ~ Step 4.  Add the sugar, salt and butter to the milk.  Set aside until the butter has melted or is almost melted.  If the milk is steaming and the butter is at room temperature, this will only take about 2 minutes. 

As you can see in this picture, the melted butter is floating on the top, the milk is in the center and the sugar and salt have settled on the bottom.  Using a fork, briefly whisk these wet ingredients together, so they are uniform in color and add them to the bread pan.

Bread Machine Brioche (Process) #6 ~ Step 5.  In the same measuring container and using the same fork, lightly beat the eggs.  Add/pour the beaten eggs to the wet ingredients already in bread pan. 

Always remember:  when you are making bread in a bread machine:  always add the wet ingredients first!

 

 

Bread Machine Brioche (Process) #7

~ Step 6.  Add/shake the flour into the bread pan on top of the wet ingredients.  Do not mix or stir!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bread Machine Brioche (Process) #8 ~ Step 7.  Using your index finger, make a small indentation on top of the dry ingredients (but not so deep that it reaches the wet layer).  Add the yeast to the indentation.

Note:  It is important to keep the dry yeast away from the wet ingredients until it is time for machine to knead them together, because the liquid ingredients will prematurely activate the yeast.

IMG_8027~ Step 8.  Insert bread pan into bread machine and press down until it is "clicked" securely into place.  Close the lid and plug the machine in.  Press "select" choose "white bread".  Press the "loaf size" button to select "2-pound loaf".  Press the "crust control" button and select "light crust".  Press "start".  Depending on the make and model of your bread machine, and the size of loaf you are making, the entire baking process will take about 2 1/2-3 hours. 

Walk away.  Do not lift the lid to check in on the process.  The moment t the bread is done:

PICT2706 Carefully open the lid of the bread machine.  Using pot holders or oven mitts, remove the bread pan from the machine, using its handle to lift it from the machine.  Turn the bread pan at about a 30-45 degree angle and gently shake/slide the loaf out onto its side.  Turn the loaf upright and place it on a cooling rack to cool completely.  If the kneading paddle remains in the loaf after it is removed from the pan, I find it best to cool the loaf completely before removing it.

PICT2713 This picture is of a 2-pound loaf of my brioche the moment it has been removed from the machine.  I know, I know... at first glimpse it is a bit overwhelming, but I assure you, you are going to fall in love with this bread!

Once a loaf this size has cooled:  starting at the top, slice the loaf in half to form 2 smaller loaves, about the size of 2, 1-pound loaves.  Two for one... eat one, freeze one!

If you want to serve your family the best bread on the planet, at half the cost of store-bought bread, with no more than 5-10 minutes of your time invested in the process: 

BUY A BREAD MACHINE!!! 

IMG_5517A bit about brioche:  Brioche is a soft, light-textured, sweetened, yeast bread enriched with milk, butter and eggs.  This French classic is traditionally baked in a deep, round, fluted tin that is smaller at the flat base and wider at its top, which encourages the dough to rise.  All brioche takes time to prepare, requiring three, rather than two, risings.  Brioche is usually a delicacy served warm at breakfast or teatime.  There are as many versions of brioche as there are countries, but the French brought brioche to the world's stage at Court in Paris in the 17th century when Queen Marie Antoinette (upon being told the poor people of France were rioting in the streets because they had no bread) made the infamous statement, "Qu 'ils mangent de la brioche." ("Let them eat cake.")! 

Bread Machine Basics & My Brioche Recipe:  Recipe yields 1, 1-pound loaf of brioche or 1, 2-pound loaf of brioche.

Special Equipment List:  bread machine; paring knife; 1-cup measuring container; pot holders or oven mitts; cooling rack

PICT5041 Cook's Note:  I developed this bread machine recipe for brioche to take, literally, all of the work out of making it.  The loaf shape, instead of the traditional fluted round shape, makes it simple to slice, thick or thin, for your morning tea and toast or your luncheon soda and sandwich.  My brioche makes wonderful grilled cheese sandwiches and 3-4-day old brioche makes fabulous French toast. 

The above picture is one of my favorite Summer sandwiches:  Lettuce, Tomato, Onion & Guacamole on Brioche!

Turkey Sandwich #2-a (The Evan Royster) Extra Cook's Note:  Each year when Thanksgiving rolls around, I always make 2-3, 2-pound loaves, 2-3 days prior to the holiday, to cube and use in some of my stuffing recipes.  On Thanksgiving morning, I make a a fresh, 2-pound loaf to  serve with our traditional evening feast, as well as have on hand for the best hot or cold turkey sandwiches at midnight or the next day.  This is a picture of a classic turkey club on toasted brioche... gobble, gobble!!! 

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2010)

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Agnes. Oh my -- no one has reported this happening. If your machine doesn't give you a choice between making a 1 or 2 pound loaf, perhaps the bread pan is smaller (try making the 1 pound loaf). As for the milk, in ~ Step 3: heat the milk until steaming. Hope this helps!

I followed the recipe to the T...however, at 41 minutes left, I checked through the little window, the top of the dough collapsed!!! Why? maybe my Oster bread machine can't take a 2lb recipe? One question: what temperature should the milk be at?

MaryAnne! Thank-you so much for the nice comment, and, more importantly, for the important feedback. I am sure a lot of people will be interested to know that it works well using almond milk and coconut oil!

I love this bread thank you. I am about to try making buns out of it. I need something for a brunch next Sunday. I think these will be perfect. I do use Almond Milk and Coconut Oil as I am allergic to Milk but it works really well.

Mer! In an earlier post (Culinary Q&A & Kitchen Therapy Too: 11/12/10), I posted an egg conversion chart. Here it is:

Large-Extra Large-Jumbo
1-1-1
2-2-2
3-3-2
4-4-3
5-4-4
6-5-5

I trust this is what you were looking for, and, I do hope you enjoy my bread recipe! ~ Melanie

My only issue with this recipe is finding an equivalent for the jumbo eggs. We get eggs from untreated/nonGMO chickens so no jumbo sizes typically. This recipe is worth trying to figure out the equivalent however, I have no doubt it works as written. Ive also tried it with half KAF bread flour, eliminating the extra Tablespoons. Thanks for sharing!! So glad I found it

Meghann! Thank you for your comment -- you have inspired me to try MY OWN recipe using bread flour (& just a bit less of it) in place of all-purpose flour. I love it when I learn something new! You are a dear. ~ Mel.

I came across this recipe on Pintrest, what a great recipe! I have made it several times. Only change I did (after making the recipe as is many times) was used bread flour and a wee bit less flour (just our personal taste). My kids love it and my husband likes it better than his mother's Challah. :-)

Maltilda! I would be lying if I didn't say you made my day! I made a loaf today myself. I am so happy to hear you and yours are enjoying every last bite! ~ Mel.

Wow, this recipe is on the money!!! We have never had a richer, more delicious slice of bread and can't wait to make it again. Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe!!!!

If you could weigh the flour (grams or ounces, either way) the next time you measure it out and post it, that would resolve any measurement confusion.

Natalia! I am confident in saying that I make this recipe twice weekly and the measurements are fine. It is my guess that the pan of your bread machine is smaller than mine. Try making the smaller, 1 pound loaf, and see if that works better in your machine (which I why I posted both versions). Hope this helps, and, let me know how it goes! ~ Melanie

Dear Kitchen Encounters,
it seems there is a slight problem with measurements or perhaps I know there is a difference between Canadian and American cups, dont know about European. I used American measurements and I have also BreadMan Machine that makes 2 lbs loaf, but different model. It went over and open the top lid. I like how it tastes so my only question is the measurements. I used 1/4 cup of flour less suspecting that there might be a trouble. Im going to make with only 3 3/4 cups of flour next time (that's according to Simple White Bread recipe). Could you please help me to adjust correctly the rest of the measurements? Thanks!

I'm glad you enjoyed the brioche recipe Josefina! Homemade bread is so much better than store-bought and the bread machine makes it so easy!

Thanks for your recipe it seem it is not that so hard to make,in my house i also have some bakery equipment which is really cool,baking is really a good habit.Thanks for sharing.

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