Truffle + Black Pepper Brioche

Warm, tender, melty, buttery…what taste better than fresh baked bread still warm from the oven? The aroma alone that fills your home as you bake is amazing.

When it comes to cooking, baking has always been my strong suit. The precision comes easy, which is difficulty for many. What has not come easy, in my baking journey, is making homemade yeast risen bread. Yeast is one extremely finicky and easy to kill. I have read and watched countless lessons on how to bake your own bread, so I hope I can share a few tips with you so you can skip the years of struggling I endured to get yeast right.

If you’re not a baker or good at making bread, brioche is a great place to start. The recipe is almost foolproof, mainly because a lot of the work is done overnight in the fridge.

With my exuberant attempts to make bread I have learned that letting the dough rise at room temperature for twice as long does the trick. Not only does it enhance the flavor of the bread, but you do not risk killing the yeast by adding heat. I also don’t use warm liquids, again to avoid destroying the temperamental yeast. Room temperature will stills activate your yeast. Finally, make sure to place your salt on the opposite end of your yeast in your mixing bowl.

Making your own starter deepens the flavor of the bread. A starter is extremely simple to make, and it only adds a bit more preparation time to your recipe.

This recipe is extremely adaptable, you can make it into rolls, a loaf, or baguette; you can also interchange the featured addition. Cheese, dried fruit, or anything you could imagine would be delicious in this versatile bread.

This bread takes about 2 days to make.

Brioche Starter:

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons of Room Temperature Water
  • 1 Tablespoon of Sugar
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Instant Yeast
  • 1/2 Cup of Unbleached Bread Flour
  • 1 Large Egg

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl combine all of the ingredients, mix until fully combined.
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit on the counter for at least one day, but no more than two days.

Dough:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Plus 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Bread Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons of Sugar
  • 1 1/4 Teaspoons of Instant Yeast
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 2 Large Eggs at Room Temperature
  • 8 Tablespoons of Very Soft Unsalted Butter
  • 2/3 Teaspoon of Truffles in Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon of Cracked Black Pepper
  • Egg Glaze, 1 Egg Mixed with 1 Teaspoon of Milk

Directions:

1. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the sugar and yeast, last whisk in the salt.

2. Sprinkle this mixture on top of the starter. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap and let it stand for 1 1/2 to 2 hours at room temperature.

3. In your stand mixer, add in the mixture you let rise for two hours.

4. Add two eggs and mix with the dough hook on low for about 1 minute. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl with an oiled spatula and continue beating for about 5 minutes longer or until the dough is smooth and shiny but very soft and sticky.

5. Add the pepper and truffles, then the butter by the tablespoon, waiting until each addition is almost completely absorbed before adding the next tablespoon, beating until all the butter is incorporated. The dough will be very soft, elastic, and sticky.

4. Using an oiled spatula scrape the dough into a large greased bowl, and lightly oil the top of the dough.

5. Cover at let rise for at least 1 1/2 -2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.

5. Refrigerate the dough for at least 10 hours, allowing it to continue to rise in the fridge.

7. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and gently press it down to deflate it. Cut the dough into 8 pieces, and with floured hands kneed and shape into balls.

8. Grease your desired pan for baking, and arrange your dough balls within. Lightly cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise for at least one hour or until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 425°F 1 hour before baking.

9. Lightly beat together the egg yolk and milk, then brush the top of the brioche.

10. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

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