I'm thrilled to report that I finished writing my bread book over the weekend. I just have a few more recipes to test, all of them in the Panasonic bread machine I ordered from Amazon a few weeks ago. I've been pleasantly surprised by the results of my first experiments. The breads have a ridiculous shape (the top of this one is sunken not because it was baked with too much yeast, but because I crushed it with the handle of the bread pan when I was trying to remove it from the machine), but I've enjoyed eating them all. The one I baked this morning was my favorite. I cut a few slices for the teenager, who was home from school early because of parent-teacher conferences. She made a pressed sandwich filled with turkey, cheddar, and bacon for herself, "Just like the one I ate at Panera." I'll cut the rest of the giant loaf in half, then cut each half into 1-inch-thick slices, and freeze for the morning after Thanksgiving, when there will be Brioche French Toast for everyone.
Bread Machine Brioche
Makes one towering loaf
I'm not sure how many of you own a bread machine, so this is for the friendly couple who sat next to me and a friend at the Dockside (26 Bay Street) last week. As I chattered on about t my new machine, they turned to tell us that they had worn out their first one from years of use and were impatiently awaiting the arrival of the replacement. I wish I had brought some of my sourdough with me. Maybe they would have accepted it.
3 ½ cups unbleached bread flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt or kosher salt
6 large eggs
1/4 cup water
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1. Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bread machine pan. Add the eggs, water, and 4 tablespoons butter.
2. Place the bread pan in the machine, making sure it snaps into the machine properly. Close the top lid.
3. Place the yeast in the yeast dispenser and close the lid. (If your machine doesn’t have a yeast dispenser, place it in the machine first, before the remaining dry ingredients.)
4. Make your selections on the control panel of your machine. Depending upon how many options your machine has, choose the following: a bread program (basic), a bake program (bake), and a crust color (light). Press start.
5. 10 minutes into the kneading cycle, open the lid and add the remaining butter, a few pieces at a time, until it is all incorporated. Close the lid and let the machine finish kneading the bread.
6. When the machine signals that the bread is baked, promptly open the lid and remove the bread pan, using oven mitts. Overturn the bread onto a wire rack. If the kneading blade remains the bread, remove it with metal tongs.
7. Turn the bread upright and cool completely before slicing and serving. Brioche will keep for up to 2 days, wrapped in plastic, at room temperature.