So, a few of you have been asking where I’m going to be going to college next year.
After sleepless nights full of worry over my plans, I’ve finally made a decision. It was definitely tough – choosing between the high-ranked, “name brand” school that didn’t feel quite right and the small, little-known university on the outskirts of Seattle.
At first, I thought I would for sure be going to the first school. Ranked 17th in the country by U.S. News & World Report, located in Nashville, Tennessee, it was a dream that I got in. However…as much as I loved it, the majors didn’t draw me in, the party scene was definitely not my style, and it just didn’t feel right.
My little school in Tacoma, Washington, however, felt perfect. Small classes, small school, sincere people, and a beautiful campus…moments after stepping onto campus I felt at home.
I was torn between was I was expected to do and what I really wanted to do. However, I sucked up what people thought and went with the school I knew I would be happy at, so starting on August 19th, 2011, I’ll be officially attending the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA.
Boy am I excited.
And the food? I’ll be getting to Seattle as often as I can to go to Pike’s Place and try all the amazing restaurants in the city. I’m pumped.
Beyond pumped. So what better way to celebrate a college committment than fresh, homemade brioche?
No better way.
This stuff is good. I use the King Arthur’s Flour recipe, and it’s truly the best I’ve tried. I just made buns and a loaf, but I’m sure this would be amazing turned into cinnamon rolls as well. I made some french toast with it and it was beyond heavenly.
The bread also freezes beautifully, so don’t bother cutting the recipe in half, just freeze the extra loaf!
Brioche & My College Decision
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk optional, but recommended
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast**
- 3 large eggs*
- 1/4 cup lukewarm water
- 10 tablespoons butter room temperature
1. In a stand mixer or bread machine (programmed for dough), mix together all of the ingredients to form a smooth, shiny dough. Don't worry; what starts out as a sticky mess becomes beautifully satiny as it kneads. This dough takes longer than most to develop, so be prepared to let the dough knead for up to 15 to 20 minutes in a stand mixer. Also, I don't recommend trying to knead it by hand. If you're using a bread machine, let it complete its kneading cycle, then continue as directed below.
2. Form the dough into a ball (it'll be very soft), place it in a greased bowl, cover the bowl, and it let rise for 1 hour. Then refrigerate the dough for several hours, or overnight. This will slow the fermentation and chill the butter, making the dough easier to shape.
3. Divide the chilled dough into 12 pieces to make mini-brioche; leave it whole for one large round brioche; or divide it in half for two 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaves. Or, be like me and divide it in half, turn one half into a loaf, and the other into mini-brioches.
4. Place the dough into the greased pan(s) of your choice, cover lightly, and let rise for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until it's doubled and looks very puffy. If you're making two loaves, it's fun to make simple three-strand braids, and set them in the loaf pans.
5. To bake a large, round brioche: Place the pan into a preheated 400°F oven. After 10 minutes, reduce the oven heat to 350°F and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes more. Check the brioche after 15 minutes; tent with aluminum foil if it appears to be browning too quickly. Brioche should be a deep brown when done, should sound hollow when tapped, and will read 190°F at the center using an instant-read thermometer. (It's easy to underbake, since it browns so quickly!) Remove the brioche from the oven, and after 10 minutes remove it from the pan to cool completely on a rack.
6. To bake the mini brioches: Place the pan(s) into a preheated 375°F oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes (tent after 10 minutes if they're browning too quickly). Remove from the oven, let stand for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack.
7. To bake the loaves: Allow the loaves to rise till they've nearly reached the rim of the pan, about 3 hours. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 40 to 45 minutes, tenting with foil after 15 to 20 minutes.
*Use 3 large eggs + 1 egg yolk, if desired — this will allow you to brush the leftover egg white on the loaf if you're planning to garnish it with sugar.
**You can use active dry yeast here instead - just stir it in with the water and sugar and let sit until foamy, 5-10 minutes, before adding all other ingredients and proceeding with recipe.