Serves: Makes about 1½ pounds
- ½ cup (4 ounces) warm whole milk (110° to 115°F)
- ¼ cup (1¾ ounces) sugar
- 1½ teaspoons active dry yeast, or 1⅛ teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
- 2½ cups (12½ ounces) bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, very soft (not melted)
Mix and knead the dough: Combine the warm milk and sugar in the bowl of the stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Whisk by hand to blend well. Let the mixture sit for 5 to 10 minutes, until the yeast is activated and foamy or bubbling. Add the egg and yolk and whisk by hand until well blended. Stir in the flour and salt with a silicone or rubber spatula. Attach the dough hook and knead on low speed for 2 minutes. The dough may look ragged at this point, but don't worry-the addition of butter will smooth it out. Increase the speed to medium and knead for 1 minute. With the mixer running, add the soft butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing each addition to blend in before adding the next. Once all the butter has been added, decrease the speed to medium-low and continue to knead for 5 to 6 minutes longer, until the dough looks soft and silky.
Rise the dough (First Rise) : Lightly butter or oil the tub or bowl, scrape the dough into the tub, and brush the surface of the dough with a little butter or oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp lint-free cotton towel and let the dough rise until doubled, 1 to 1½ hours. If you are using a tub, be sure to mark the starting level of the dough with a pencil or piece of tape so it's easy to tell when the dough has doubled. At this point, the dough is ready to be punched down and used in your recipe of choice.
Storing: The dough can be punched down and refrigerated overnight. Wrap in plastic, leaving a bit of wiggle room for when the dough continues to expand in the refrigerator, or place in a bowl large enough to allow it to expand; cover with plastic wrap. (If you don't leave room for expansion, the dough will burst through the plastic wrap.)