Make and refrigerate (or freeze) a large quantity of brioche dough, and you can make a wide assortment of fresh goodies in little time
Things have been a bit really crazy lately, allowing not so much time to cook, let alone bake. Yet the ducks kept laying eggs, even as the days get shorter and colder. Normally they would have slowed nearly to a stop by now. The result? I’m running out of egg storage space!
So, on a stormy Sunday with no work duties(!) and a lot of studying to do, I decided to do something about it. I made up about a 4 1/2 pound batch of refrigerator brioche dough!
Brioche is a (very) enriched bread dough, with lots of egg and butter, and sweetened with a bit of honey. It’s often baked in a typical loaf shape, but can be substituted for challah, made into cinnamon rolls, or beignets filled with chocolate or jam (though that requires deep frying, a mess I seldom want to deal with).
I’m not sure yet what I’ll use this batch for. I’m thinking about filling a loaf with gianduja, similar to a french pain au chocolate. We’ll see. You can really only refrigerate it for about 5 days before you need to freeze it, and this week will be stupid busy, so most will likely end up in the freezer. I’d love to see some of your ideas! Send a comment here or in FaceBook if you come up with something fun!
Refrigerator Brioche Dough
A rich, egg- and butter- enriched bread dough similar to, but richer than, challah. You can use it in a typical loaf as a tea or breakfast bread. But it also makes the best cinnamon rolls and other pastries.
You need to refrigerate this dough until it is thoroughly chilled to become workable, and the flavor improves as it sits in the fridge. However, you must use it within 5 days, due to the raw eggs. Otherwise, make 1- to 1 1/2 pound balls, wrap them up tight, and freeze them. Thaw for a day in the fridge, then use them.
I make a bunch at a time, usually because I have too many eggs. The quantities here make about 4 1/2 pounds of dough, but for those who'd like to scale up or down, I've included baker's percentages.
Put the eggs into a large, ~6 quart, lidded bowl or other container. Beat lightly.
Add water, yeast, salt, honey to the eggs. Melt the butter, and add to the egg mixture.
Mix all of the liquids together thoroughly, then add all of the flour at once. Mix in the flour with a heavy spoon. Do not knead.
Cover loosely, and let rise at room temperature for 2 hours.
Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled before use. Keep the lid on loosely at first. After two days, you can snap the lid on tight (before then it'll likely pop the lid off or deform the container).
Use or freeze within 5 days. To use, sprinkle the surface and your hands with flour. Grab and cut off as much doug as needed. Dust with a little more flour, and shape into a ball, stretching the gluten tight as you go. Proceed according to that recipe (ie, for a loaf of brioche, cinnamon rolls, etc.)
To freeze, form into a ball the size you plan to eventually use it for, form into a ball as above, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and place in an airtight container. Freeze for up to 2 weeks. To use frozen, pull out a dough ball, and allow to thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Then proceed as usual.