Before I attempt anything crazy like croissants, I though it wise to try my hand at a few simpler breads first.

Brioche is one of those breads I’ve seen used to make fancy french toast or bread pudding on TV, but I’ve never come across it in any of my local spots. I’d heard its a sweet, eggy, dense bread with a funny round puff on top that is generally cooked in a big fluted pan.

Three things pushed me over the edge to give it a go at home:

  1. These adorable mini-brioche pans (mama is the traditional one in the back)
  2. Cooking Light December 2010 Issue staring at me with a lightened up recipe for brioche rolls.
  3. This awesome Taylor Digital Measuring Cup Scale that my sis gave me for Christmas (just had to test it out and it worked like a charm!)

The recipe made way more dough than I needed for my 6 cute tins. Not to worry, I just put the extra dough in muffin tins and they actually turned out really similar!

Be forewarned, its not a difficult recipe, but there are several very LONG waiting periods.  I would suggest starting the dough the day before you want to eat it! It’s really an exercise in patience, not baking.

Here’s the recipe:

Baby Brioche Rolls

1 package of dry yeast (2 ¼ tsp.)
1/3 c. warm 1% milk (heated to 100°F)
15.75 oz. flour (3 ½ cups)
1/3 c. sugar
½ tsp. salt
4 eggs, lightly beaten
6 ½ tbsp.  unsalted butter, softened and cubed
Cooking Spray
1 tbsp. water
1 egg

Combine the yeast and warm milk in the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment.  Let the yeast dissolve for 5 min.

Add flour, sugar, salt and eggs to the milk mixture. Beat on low speed until smooth and scrape the bowl as needed.

Switch to the dough hook attachment and use it to knead the dough on low for 5 minutes. (It will look soft and elastic and the dough will begin pulling away from the bowl)

Add half of the butter at a time to the dough. Mix on medium after each addition until incorporated.

Knead the dough in the mixer for an additional 4 minutes until smooth and elastic again. Mine was pretty sticky at this point.

Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour. The dough should double in size and two fingers pressed into the dough leave an indention that doesn’t spring back.

Punch the dough down, cover with plastic wrap and then refrigerate for 8 hours or until morning.

Remove the dough from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature (90 minutes).

Divide it into 4 equal pieces.

Cut the dough portion into 6 equal pieces and roll them into a 1.5 in ball.  Place into sprayed muffin tins and allow to rise another 45 minutes.

Mix water and egg white and gently brush the top of each roll with the mixture. This is what gives you the pretty golden outside!

Bake at 350 in a preheated oven for 14 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire racks. Serve with butter because it tastes amazing that way!

These are totally worth the wait.  I microwaved a little butter and spread it over each one. They were fluffy, sweet, buttery, soft in the middle and chewy on the outside!  The fluff in the center slipped over to one side on several of them, so I will skip that part when I make them again.