This Olive Oil Brioche Bread is just about the most magical brioche ever. I know. I sound like someone who throws hyperbole and exclamation marks all over the place. "This is the best brownie ever!" This is the best egg salad ever!" That's not me.
While I have a couple of wonderful brioche recipes in my index, for the most part, it's not one of my favorites. For one thing, enriched doughs (doughs with eggs and fats) tend to go stale pretty quickly. For another, doughs with a lot of fat can, if not done correctly, come off as greasy. I've had my share of failures.
Trust me. This dough is the exception. This dough is amazing. It also has staying power.
This brioche dough can be shaped into brioche à tête, rolls with top knots baked in a brioche mold. It can also be shaped into loaves, as the one above, or even amazing hamburger buns.
There is no getting around the fact that brioche is full of fat, typically butter. It can be very tricky, depending upon the weather and the fat content of the butter.
What's cool about this brioche is that the fat is from high quality extra virgin olive oil. The bread is originally from the south of France, where olive oil is more common and less luxurious. We could call this "The People's Brioche." No worries about fussy kitchen temperatures!
The other homage to the south of France is the inclusion of a tiny hint of citrus flavor. I used the zest of a tangelo from my garden, but you could use orange or lemon zest, some fiore de Sicilia, or a drop of orange oil.
Making this bread definitely requires a stand mixer. I have a 7 quart KitchenAid Pro, which worked beautifully. I am coveting an Ankarsum, but don't have one yet (I'd have to sneak it past Mr. Kitchen, who would definitely roll his eyes). If you have a five quart Artisan, be sure to cut the recipe in half.
Regardless, hang out by your mixer to make sure it doesn't walk away!
The other deal about this bread is the eggs. Bread geek hint: The recipe calls for 500 grams of eggs. That's about 9 large eggs. I weighed out enough eggs to come up just short of 500 grams, and made up the difference with milk.
This dough is super flexible. You can freeze it for up to a week and shape your loaves as you need them. You can also refrigerate the dough overnight to make it easier to shape.
I didn't bother to chill the dough before shaping. The dough is so buoyant and pillowy, and actually super easy to shape.
This dough involves a levain, or a sourdough, as well as a poolish. These are bread geek ingredients that sound more complicated than they are. Just go with it. And get a scale. I promise, you won't regret it.
When this bread is fresh, just slice it and spread it with jam. Leftovers are perfect for all of the usual suspects such as toast, French toast, bostock, bread pudding, and grilled cheese.
Olive Oil Brioche Bread RecipeMakes 4 to 6 sandwich loaves. I used two 10 x 5 inch pans and two 9 x 5 inch pans. I recommend using six 9 x 5 inch loaf pans if you have them.
200 grams all purpose flour
200 grams water
3 grams instant yeast
Mix the ingredients, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator over night.
1 tablespoon starter
220 grams all purpose flour
220 grams water
Mix the ingredients, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit overnight at room temperature until bubbly.
400 grams poolish
300 grams levain
1000 grams bread flour
25 grams salt
15 grams instant or active dry yeast (I used SAF Gold)
500 grams eggs (about 8 to 9 large eggs, make up the difference with milk)
240 grams milk (mine was low fat)
160 grams honey
Zest of one orange or tangelo
50 grams water
450 grams extra virgin olive oil
For the egg wash: 1 egg plus one tablespoon milk
- In a stand mixer, combine the flour, salt, yeast, eggs, milk, levain, poolish, honey, orange zest, and water and mix on low for about 5 minutes. Cover and let rest for about 20 minutes.
- Mix the dough with the spiral hook on medium to high speed for 8 minutes.
- With the mixer running on medium, and with the shield over the bowl (or you will be sprayed with oil), add the oil slowly, pausing so that the oil is absorbed. This takes several minutes. You will know when the dough is ready when it is smooth and silky.
- Allow the dough to bulk ferment (in a large bowl covered in plastic wrap) for 2 hours at 70 degrees F. Do three stretch and folds during the first 90 minutes, one every thirty minutes.
- When the dough is ready, you can shape it at this point for baking. Alternatively, you can freeze the dough for 3 to 5 hours and then move it to the refrigerator for shaping later. I shaped and baked my loaves immediately.
- To shape immediately, scrape the dough out onto an oiled surface. Divide the dough with a bench scraper and shape each piece into a loaf.
- Spray your pans/molds with spray oil and add your shaped dough. Cover with oiled plastic wrap. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F
- Let the loaves rest, covered, until doubled, about 1 to 2 hours. Just before baking, brush the loaves with the egg wash.
- Bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes, or about 200 degrees F. Tent with foil if the loaves get too dark.
- Unmold the loaves and cool on a wire rack.
Recipe adapted from Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson