1/3 cup warm whole milk (100-110° F)
2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 large egg
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 large eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
6 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
- Put the milk, yeast and 1 cup flour in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix together with a rubber spatula until the ingredients are well blended. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of flour over the top to cover the yeast mixture. Set the sponge aside to rest uncovered for 30 minutes.
- After the resting time the flour coating will be cracked, this is your indication that everything is moving along properly.
- To the sponge add the sugar, salt, eggs, and 1 cup of flour. Place the bowl on the stand mixer and mix on low speed for a minute or two, just until the ingredients come together. Still mixing, sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of flour.
- When the flour is incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 15 minutes, stopping to scrap down the sides as needed. During this mixing period, the dough will come together, wrap itself around the dough hook and slap the sides of the bowl. Now is not the time to leave the kitchen. Stay with you mixer, just in case is rocks right off the counter!
- In order to incorporate the butter into the dough, you must work the butter until it is the same consistency as the dough. You can accomplish this by kneading the butter a little in your hand. When it is ready, add it a little at a time to the dough. When all the butter has been added, raise the mixer speed to medium-high for about a minute, then lower the speed to medium and continue to mix until the dough begins to slap the side of the mixing bowl again.
- When you've finished the dough should feel cool to the touch and be soft and sticky. It will be clinging to the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Transfer the dough to a large butter bowl, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and allow it to rise for 2 to 2 1/2 hours at room temperature.
- Once the dough has risen, deflate it by placing your fingers under it, lifting a section at a time and then letting it fall back into the bowl. Do this all the way around the dough.
- Again cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight. During this time it will continue to rise and double in size.
- Once the second rise is complete, divide the dough into six equal portions and shape each of these into balls on a lightly floured work surface. Place two balls side-by-side into greased loaf pans. Cover the pans with plastic wrap and allow them to rise at room temperature for 2 hours or until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 375°. Bake the loaves for 20-30 minutes or until nicely browned on top.
- Cool at room temperature on a wire rack.