Ingredients.—One pound of flour, ten ounces of butter, half an ounce of German-yeast, a teaspoonful each of salt and sugar, and about seven eggs.
Put one-fourth part of the flour upon the slab; spread it out to form a well, then place the yeast in the centre, and proceed to dissolve it in a little tepid water; when this is effected, add sufficient water to mix the whole into a rather smooth paste, knead this into the form of a round ball, put it into a stewpan capable of containing three times its quantity, score it round the sides with a knife, put the lid on, and set it to rise in a rather warm place: in winter it may be put into the screen, but in hot weather the fermentation will proceed more satisfactorily if it is merely placed on the kitchen-table, or some such place of moderate warmth. This part of the operation is called setting the sponge. Next put the remainder of the flour on the slab, and spread it out in the centre to form the well; then place the salt and sugar, and a teaspoonful of water to dissolve these, after which the butter must be added; break in six eggs, and work the whole together with the hands until well mixed; first, working it between the hands, and then rubbing it with both fists held flat on the slab, and moving them to and fro, so as to thoroughly reduce any remaining lumps in the paste. By the time the paste is mixed, the sponge will probably have risen sufficiently: to be perfect, it must rise to three times its original size; when spread out on the paste prepared to receive it, it should present the appearance of a sponge, from which it takes its name. Both the above should be then immediately gently, but thoroughly mixed. A napkin must be spread in a wooden bowl or basin, some flour shaken over it, and the brioche-paste lifted into it; then shake a little flour over the paste, and after throwing the ends of the napkin over all, set the bowl containing the paste in a cool place, free from any current of air. It is usual to make this kind of paste late in the evening, previously to the day on which it is required for use. The first thing on the following morning the brioche-paste must be turned off the napkiii on to the slab; then shake some flour under and over it, and fold the paste over half a dozen times, pressing it down with the knuckles each time; put the paste back again into the bowl, in the same way as before; and about three hours afterwards, knead it again in a similar manner previously to its being baked. If the paste, when finished, appears to be full of small globules of air, and is perfectly elastic to the touch, it is certain to be well made, and when baked, will be both light and of a bright, clear colour.
If the paste is intended to be made into one brioche only, take five-sixths of it; mould this into the form of a round ball or cushion, and place it in a plain mould or paper case, described page 296 (previously spread with butter), with the smooth surface uppermost; press it down in the case with the knuckles, and, after moulding the remaining piece of paste in a similar manner, first wet the surface of the other part over with the paste-brush dipped in water, and then, after inserting the pointed end i if this into the centre of that portion of the brioche which has been already placed in the case, press the head down upon it with the back of the hand; egg the brioche over with a paste-brush; score the sides slightly, in a slanting direction;. place it on a baking-sheet, and put it in the oven (at moderate heat). As soon as the brioche begins to rise, and has acquired a slight degree of colour, let if, be covered over with a sheet of paper: about one hour will suffice to bake a large brioche of the quantity of paste described in this article.
Note.—Brioches may be varied in their form, when intended to be served as fancy-bread for breakfast, &c.; in which case, they should be moulded in the shape of twists, fingers, rings, &c. When served on the refreshment-table, at routs, public breakfasts, balls, &c, dried cherries, citron, candied-orange, or lemon-peel, pineapple, or angelica, steeped in some kind of liqueur, may be introduced; in either of these cases, previously to mixing in the fruit, part of the paste must be reserved, which, after being rolled out, must be used to enclose the other part of the brioche. This precaution is necessary to prevent the fruit from protruding through the paste, as it becomes calcined by the heat of the oven, and gives an unsightly appearance to the cake. When fruit has been mixed in a brioche, it should be (when baked) glazed with fine sugar by,the salamander. Gruyere, and Parmesan cheese, in equal proportions, are sometimes introduced in a brioche, for a second-course remove: the first should be cut up in dice, the latter grated. As in the above cases, this kind of brioche must be enclosed in a portion of the paste reserved for that purpose.
Note.—The case alluded to, page 295, is thus made:— for a large brioche intended to be served as a second-course remove, take a large sheet of Bristol board, and cut a band from this, measuring about two feet long by eight inches broad; the two ends should be sewn together with strong thread, and some small bands of paper, smeared over with flour-and-water paste, should be stuck over the sewing to make it more secure. This hoop should then be placed upon a circular piece of the pasteboard, out to fit its circumference, and both these must be securely fastened together by placing small strips of paper pasted over all round the angle of the bottom of the case; these must be placed close together, and crosswise, with one end fastened under the case, while the other is lapped round the angle, and fastened at the side.
These strips of paper, after becoming very dry, should receive another row over them, to make the case stronger.