Basic Brioche dough:
1/3 cup lukewarm warm milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
3 cups all purpose flour, divided
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (only needed if making a dessert version)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound unsalted butter, softened
1 egg yolk and a little water
Combine the milk, sugar, yeast and 1 and 1/2 cup flour. Let it sit 30 minutes in the mixing bowl of a table top mixer, if you have one. This recipe is much easier to make with a mixer. It can me done by hand but it will be sticky to work with.
With the paddle attachment, beat in one egg at a time into the mixture and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla extract if making a sweet bread.
Combine the remaining 1 and 1/2 cups flour with the salt and mix well.
Attach the dough hook to your mixer. Add the remaining flour mixture and knead for 10 minutes on medium speed.
While the mixer is still kneading the dough, add 1 tablespoon of softened butter at a time, allowing each piece to incorporate into the dough before the next addition.
Place the dough in an oiled or buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm place and allow to double in size. This should take anywhere between 1 to 2 hours, depending on the temperature in your home. (See tip below.)
Once the dough rises it is ready. You may use it to bake your favorite recipe immediately, but it is much easier to work with if it is refrigerated for at least 3 hours or overnight.
You may also freeze the dough in an airtight freezer bag for up to a month.
This dough is great sweet or savory.
Proofing tip: Run your dryer with a towel in it for 5 minutes. Place the dough on the towel, in the dryer. Make sure to keep the dryer turned off while dough is inside. Crack the door open a little to release some heat. The dough should rise to double it's size in about 45 minutes. A great shortcut to use when in a hurry.