When the kind folks at KaTom Restaurant Supply offered to send me a silicone brioche mold  to test out, I of course said YES! (Note: They also sent me one to give away, so stay tuned for your chance to win it later this week.) This recipe was a learning experience for me, as I have never a) made a yeast bread or b) baked with a silicone mold.
As you can (or actually, can’t tell from the picture), I chose to do the brioche à tête (think round knob on the top of the loaf); my skills are obviously lacking. Also, I dumped in some mini chocolate chips (1/2 cup? 3/4 cup?), because I figured they couldn’t hurt. I mean, I like challah with chocolate chips, so what’s not to like about brioche with chocolate chips, right?
The recipe itself wasn’t difficult, there’s just lots of do this and wait, then do this and wait some more. And the recipe instructions were kind of vague at times (e.g., Fold it over several times, making it pliable without becoming too soft. What exactly is too soft?) I wasn’t thrilled with the flavor, but then again, I rarely eat brioche plain, usually it’s used for French toast and drenched in syrup. I’ll probably bring it in to my office guinea pigs tomorrow and see what they say.
On a positive note, the silicone mold is really cool. I didn’t have to grease it, and the brioche just popped right out. And it was super easy to clean–there wasn’t even a crumb, which is always a plus!
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 packet active dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 cup (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter
- Pace 2 cups of the flour, the yeast, water, sugar, and eggs into a bowl and whisk until smooth. Cover the mixture and let it sit for 45 minutes
- Add the remaining 1 cup of flour, the salt, and beat with electric mixer for 45 minutes.
- On a loured surface, flatten the butter into a rectangle about 1/4-inch thick with the heel of your hand or on a rolling pin. Fold it over several times, making it pliable without becoming too soft. Add the butter to the dough and beat until it’s fully incorporated.
- Cover the dough and allow it to rise for 1 hour.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and fold it over several times. Place the dough into a greased bowl, cover, and refrigerate it overnight. The chilled dough will be less sticky.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and quickly form it into a round loaf. Place loaf into the brioche pan. Cover with a light cloth and allow it to rise for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until it’s doubled and is crowned over.
- Beat the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of water, and brush all exposed surfaces with the egg wash.
- Bake in a preheated 375 degree F (190 degree C) oven until it’s oglden brown, about 45-50 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and cool it in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool completely on a rack.
For a classic topknot, cut off an egg sized piece of the dough when it is removed from the refrigerator, allow it to rise separately in a small bowl, and add it to the top of the main loaf just before baking.
Recipe (sans chocolate chips) from the brioche mold packaging.