Sponge: Mix 1/2 c flour & 1T instant yeast. Add 1/2 c lukewarm milk & stir. Cover & ferment 20 min., until the sponge rises & falls when the bowl is tapped. Dough: Add 5 eggs to sponge & beat well. Separately, mix 3 1/2 c flour, 3T sugar & 1 1/2 tsp salt. Add to Sponge & mix 2 min on medium. Rest 5 min. Add 2 c (1 lb!) butter, 1/2 c at a time, mixing on slow until each piece is incorporated. Mix 5 min on medium when all butter is added. The dough will be very soft, smooth and sticky. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.
Brioche: Turn the dough onto a floured surface and form into a loaf. Place in greased bread pan, cover with plastic and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 2 hours. Brush with egg wash (1 egg, frothy) and let sit 30 min. Bake in preheated 350 oven 15 min, rate and back 10 min until golden brown. Cool completely before cutting.
French Toast: Whisk 6 eggs, 1/2 c sugar, 4 c milk, 1 tsp cinnamon & pinch nutmeg. Cut brioche into 1” thick slices & place in single layer in a deep baking dish. Pour egg mix over & let stand 3 min. Carefully flip bread and let stand 3 min (or overnight). Cook over medium heat in butter until golden and crisp on each side. Keep oven-warm and serve dusted with icing sugar, with maple syrup, preserves, fresh fruit and crispy bacon.
Barry Yeo, Bliss Bakery, 1289 Ellis St, Kelowna, 778-484-5355 and 4200 Beach Ave, Peachland, 250-767-2711, www.blissbakery.ca. The Best!