Welcome back loyal MGK readers! I know its been a long long time and for that I sincerely apologize. But I figured that the best way to make up for a more-than-month-long hiatus was to feature some truly exceptional recipes on the blog for my first week back and the recipes coming up this week certainly are that. Theyre all great on their own, but put them all together and you get the worlds greatest ham sandwich the Croque Monsieur. Now thats something we can all get behind.
Every good sandwich starts out with really great bread. My taste for the Croque Monsieur is a little non-traditional, but thats ok. Everybody has their own tastes and preferences, right? And I think that the buttery-sweet flavor of this brioche pain de mie is just perfect set against the salty flavor of ham, nuttiness of béchamel, and richness of melted cheese.
Like most breads, this one starts with yeast. Lots of it. A full tablespoon to be exact. Proof it, then mix it with flour, salt, sugar, butter, eggs, and some other stuff and youll get a delicious, sweet, eggy brioche! Promise.
Well, OK I cant really prooooomise you that this bread is gonna turn out (it was pretty touch-and-go there for a while in my kitchen) but if you can coax it and cajole it a little bit, its well worth the effort. Although I would certainly recommend planning at least a day ahead so that you dont have to get up at 3am to remove the dough from its chill in the fridge like I did.
This is a stand mixer dough, for sure. Although I will say that I had to take it out and knead it by hand for a while myself since my dough hook was no longer penetrating the dough there in the middle. It starts out as kind of a mess (see above) then transforms into a grainy mass (see above, again) and then finally after probably 20-30 minutes of kneading finally settles into this glossy, uniform ball.
This is what I was doing at 3am forming the chilled dough into little loaves and putting them into loaf pans and then putting those loaves into the oven to proof for the remainder of the night so that they were ready to egg wash at about 7am.
But when I pulled THESE out of the oven some 45 minutes later, the drudgery of all that work seemed worthwhile.
I mean, JUST LOOK AT IT! The color! The crust! And if only I could describe the sweet eggy bready smell that this will fill your house with! Glorious. Just glorious.
The texture of this loaf is actually much different than any other brioche Ive tried. Its closer to a pain de mie which, in France, is similar to our white sandwich bread. But this is no Wonder Bread. Its a delicious and sweet treat for amazing french toast, simple bread and butter or best of all! croque monsieur. I hope you enjoy it!!!
Brioche Pain de Mie (Sweet and Buttery Sandwich Bread) Recipe
- 1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 10 tablespoons butter, softened at room temperature
- 1 egg white (for egg wash)
- Proof yeast in a stand mixer by adding yeast, water and sugar to bowl and allowing to rest for 3-5 minutes or until yeast becomes foamy and bubbly.
- Attach dough hook to stand mixer.
- Add eggs to yeast mixture and mix at medium speed until all of the wet ingredients are well combined.
- Add all remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix, beginning at a low speed moving up to a higher speed, for approximately 20-25 minutes or until the dough is smooth and glossy. If the mixer is not able to fully incorporate the dough, remove the ball from the mixer and knead on a clean countertop by folding the dough in half and, using the heel of your hand, pressing outwards along the center of the folded dough. Then, turn the dough 1/4 of a turn and repeat until smooth.
- Place the kneaded dough in a greased bowl for up to 3 hours or until dough has doubled in size. Time for this process will vary depending on the temperature of your ingredients, heat of your room, etc. If your dough is not rising, try covering it with a dampened towel and placing it inside your oven WITH THE HEAT TURNED OFF.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, place it in the refrigerator for 5 hours or overnight to chill.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and form into a loaf shape. You may also cut the dough in half and form into two loaves. Place the loaf or loaves into greased pans and set aside to rise for 3 1/2 to 4 hours or until doubled to tripled in size. You may also place the dough in an oven that’s turned off or you can preheat your oven to its lowest temperature, turn the oven off, and place the loaves inside if you’re having trouble getting the dough to rise.
- Brush the tops of the loaves with a whipped egg white mixed with about a tablespoon of water.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place loaf or loaves into the oven for 15-20 minutes uncovered. Check dough for color at the end of the initial baking period. If the loaves are deep brown-red in color, tent them with foil and continue cooking for an additional 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees.
- Remove from pan(s) and cool on a wire rack before slicing. Enjoy!