I have made brioche a few times now. Thankfully, each time successfully. I came across the recipe in Artisan Bread In Five Minutes A Day by Jeff Hetzberg and Zoe Francois and wondered how good it could be. You weren’t slowly and painstakingly adding butter. It is almost embarrassingly easy. In fact total mixing time is 1 minute.
The answer is it is stunning. I have made the brioche and the challah from this recipe book a few times now. My personal preference is to save the seriously butter and egg rich brioche for enjoying on it’s own as a loaf or as Brioche a Tete, and use the challah in sweet rolls where there is a whole lot of other butter rich madness going on. That said I think this challah is really nice as a stand alone enriched bread.
Another real advantage of this recipe is it is not temperamental if you make a half batch (which I give the quantities for here). This amount is perfect for a batch of sweet rolls of choice. In fact, I will follow up this post with the challah in action. To be continued.
So here is the recipe for the No Knead Challah (half batch).
220ml lukewarm water
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1 1/2 tsp table salt
2 eggs lightly beaten
60g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter or oil if making dairy free
60g (1/4 cup) honey
420g (3 1/2 cups) plain flour
Mix the yeast, salt, eggs, honey, and melted butter with the water in a large bowl. Make sure the yeast dissolves.
Then mix in the flour without kneading using a spoon.
You can use your food processor or mixer but this dough is very much like a batter and only takes 1 minute.
Prepare a plastic container (minimum of 2.5l size for a half batch 5l for a full batch. I always grease the inside of the container to ensure I don’t deflate the dough when I am trying to turn it out. Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temp until dough rises and starts to collapse (approx 1-2 hours).
Look at the textural changes after just 1 hour on the bench.
Refrigerate in a lidded container overnight and use in the next 5 days. If you need to store it longer than that freeze the dough in an airtight container for up to a month. The flavour develops over time which for me is more important in brioche that stands alone than challah which is working to contain all the gooey goodness.
This dough is easy to work with when still cold. With the amount of butter in it, I wouldn’t let it get warm before shaping it.