Brioche is a dense, rich, buttery bread that is delicious in it’s own right but it is absolutely divine with a good schmear of fresh made vanilla-honey butter. I made my first loaf a few days ago and now my plan is to use the rest of it to make a delicious vanilla bean bread pudding. Brioche is the perfect vehicle for bread pudding or french toast because it can soak up so much custard. This recipe for Brioche is from Cooking with Paula Deen (May/June 2011)
:: Vanilla Bean Brioche
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
1/2 cup milk
1 package of active dry yeast
3 eggs, divided
3 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour, divided
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened and divided
1 Tbsp milk
Scrape seeds from 2 vanilla beans into milk and heat to 110 degrees F. Add yeast; let stand 5 minutes or until foamy. Lightly beat 2 eggs and stir into the milk mixture.
In the bowl of a heavy duty stand mixer, stir together 3 1/2 cups of flour, salt, and sugar. Using the dough hook attachment, gradually add yeast mixture, beating at medium speed until dough is smooth and elastic.
Cut 1 cup of butter into small pieces; gradually add to dough, 1 Tbsp at a time, beating until combined after each addition (dough will be quite sticky). If needed, gradually add just enough remaining flour to make a smooth, sticky dough.
Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning to grease top; cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 12 hours.
Divide dough into 6 equal pieces and form each into a 4 1/2 inch cylinder. Arrange dough pieces crosswise in a 9×5 inch load pan; cover and let rise 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Whisk together remaining egg and 1 Tbsp milk. Lightly brush over dough.
Bake bread for 25 minutes. Tent bread loosely with aluminum foil, and rotate in oven. Bake for an additional 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown and firm. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp Vanilla Bean Paste
Whip the ingredients until well combined and fluffy. Serve with brioche.