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Egg Bread Recipe & Video

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Egg Bread is an enriched bread, which means it contains eggs and butter. It is a beautiful bread with its glistening golden brown crust and its three strand braid. Inside this white bread has a buttery rich flavor and a soft and tender texture. It's delicious buttered. It's a great bread to use for sandwiches and it makes really good toast. It can also be used to make bread pudding. 

 

When I took a bread class at the San Francisco Baking Institute (SFBI), this is one of the breads we made. Before this class I had never used a Pre-Ferment when making bread. A Pre-Ferment is a starter, which is really just a small amount of bread dough that is made the night before and left to ferment overnight. What I like about adding a Pre-Ferment to your bread dough is that it's a simple way to add both flavor and texture.

As far as ingredients go, this bread is made with bread flour. For the yeast, I like to use SAF Red and Gold Instant Yeast. Both of these yeasts give a good rise and they don't need to be activated before adding them to the bread dough. However, if you want to substitute active dry yeast for instant yeast, use an equal amount, and you need to first activate the yeast in warm water before adding it to the dough. To do this, heat the water called for in the recipe to lukewarm. Stir in the active dry yeast and let it sit until foamy (about 5 to 10 minutes). Dried milk powder is used in this recipe as it enhances the color of the crust, adds flavor, and helps to keep the bread moist. For the salt I like to use kosher salt. I like to use superfine white sugar as it dissolves easier into the dough. You can make superfine sugar by simply processing granulated white sugar in your food processor until finely ground. There is also butter in this dough, and I like to use unsalted butter. And lastly we need water. I like to use cold (from the fridge) filtered water.

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Pre-Ferment: In a medium sized bowl, stir the flour with the yeast and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the water. Stir until all the flour is moistened.

Then lightly oil a medium sized bowl. Place the dough into the bowl and flip it over so the top of the dough has a light coating of oil (this will prevent it from drying out). Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit (ferment) at room temperature for one hour. Then place in the refrigerator overnight (about 12 to 14 hours).

Egg Bread: In a large bowl, stir the flour with the yeast, salt, and dried milk powder. Remove the Pre-ferment from the refrigerator and cut into small chunks. Pour the cold water into the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook. Then add the Pre-ferment, eggs, and the flour mixture. Knead the dough on 1st speed for five minutes. Increase your mixer speed to 2nd speed and continue to knead the dough for two minutes. Next, with the mixer on 2nd speed, gradually add the sugar over five minutes. Finally, add the butter and continue to knead the dough, on 2nd speed, for another two to four minutes or until the dough cleans the bowl and is smooth and elastic. You can check to see if the dough is fully kneaded, using the 'windowpane' test. To do this, start with a small fistful of dough. Gently stretch it. For a fully kneaded dough you should be able to stretch the dough, without it tearing. If the dough tears easily, then knead for another minute or two. (See video for demonstration.) 

Place your dough in a large bowl that has been lightly oiled. Turn the dough once so the top of the dough has a light coating of oil (this prevents a crust from forming on the top of the dough). Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature (about 73 - 76 degree F) (23 - 25 degree C) for one hour.

Turn out your dough onto a lightly floured surface. You want the top of the dough to now be on the bottom. Lightly flour the top of your dough and with the palms of your hands flatten the dough slightly to break any large air bubbles. Then divide the dough into 6 equal sized pieces (about 150 grams each). When you divide the dough use a pastry scraper or knife and cut, don't pull or stretch, the dough.

Take one piece of the dough and, on a lightly floured surface, pat into a 6 x 4 inch (15 x 10 cm) rectangle. Have one short side nearest to you, and then, fold over the top third of dough (like you're folding a letter) and gently seal (this also increases the surface tension of the dough.) Then take the top of the dough and fold it to the bottom edge of the dough and seal. On an unfloured surface, place the palms of your hand on the top of the dough and gently roll it back and forth to seal the dough and create tension. Place the log of dough (seam side down) onto a lightly floured baking sheet. Repeat this process with the other pieces of dough. Then cover with plastic wrap and let sit for about 30 minutes at room temperature. 

You will need a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or lightly oiled.

Place the cylinders of dough, upside down, onto your unfloured counter. Then with the palms of your hands, gently roll the dough back and forth until it's about 14 inches long (35 cm).

Take three strands and make a three strand braid, making sure to seal the top and bottom edges (see video for demonstration). Place the braid on your baking sheet and repeat with the other three strands. Cover loosely with plastic wrap that has been lightly oiled or sprayed with a non stick cooking spray. Let proof at room temperature (about 73 - 76 degree F) (23 - 25 degree C) for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (The dough is full proofed when you lightly press into the dough, your finger will leave a slight indentation.)

Then preheat your oven to 350 degree F (180 degree C).

When your Egg Breads are ready to bake, remove the plastic wrap. Make an Egg Wash by whisking the egg yolk with the cream. With a pastry brush, lightly brush the tops and sides of the Egg Breads. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.

Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until your breads are golden brown. If you tap the bottom of the bread it will sound hollow. About halfway through baking, turn your pan front to back to promote even baking. (The internal temperature of the baked bread should be about 205 degrees F (96 C).) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. This bread can be stored in an airtight bag for about three days or it can be frozen for a couple of months.

Makes 2 - one pound (450 gram) loaves of Egg Bread.

View comments on this recipe on YouTube

Pre-Ferment (Starter):

1 cup minus 2 tablespoons (115 grams) unbleached bread flour

1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) SAF Red instant yeast

1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) kosher salt

1/3 cup (75 grams) cold filtered water

Egg Bread:

3 cups (390 grams) unbleached bread flour

1 1/4 teaspoons (4 grams) SAF Red or Gold instant yeast Available on Amazon #ad

2 teaspoons (8 grams) kosher salt

2 tablespoons (15 grams) dried milk powder

5/8 cup (150 grams) cold filtered water

Pre-Fermented dough (see above)

1/4 cup (65 grams) cold eggs (about 1 1/2 large eggs)

1/3 cup (65 grams) superfine white sugar

3 1/2 tablespoons (48 grams) cold unsalted butter

Egg Wash:

1 large egg yolk (17 grams)

1 tablespoon cream

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