Thursday, September 17, 2009

BBA #4: Brioche

Well, bread #4 is finished! And an odd one it was: easiest dough to make, most difficult to shape.

In BBA, Peter Reinhart gives us three choices for brioche: Rich Man's Brioche, which contains 4 sticks of butter, Middle Class Brioche, which contains 2 sticks of butter, and Poor Man's Brioche, which contains 1 stick of butter. Preferring the middle of the road, I was pretty committed to the Middle Class Brioche; then I spent some time reading various reviews from BBA Challenge members, and the overall consensus seemed to be that Rich Man's was almost too rich and Poor Man's was pretty close to basic sandwich bread, and Middle Class was delish. So, there you go! Decision made.

This recipe calls for a lot of yeast, so the sponge only sits for 45 minutes. I couldn't tell if it had doubled because there wasn't very much sponge to begin with, but I decided to give it a go.

This recipe is also odd because it's mixed in the stand mixer with the paddle rather than the dough hook.

The texture was crazy, nothing like dough. It was like a really thick cream cheese frosting.

Then it goes in the fridge overnight to solidify. It was really too sticky to get it into the proper rectangular shape.

Here it is the next day, right before I shaped it. Doesn't it look like slabs of butter?

I didn't have the special brioche molds, so I followed Nicole from Pinch My Salt's example: I used half the dough to shape brioche a tetes and then cooked them on a cookie sheet. I also followed her example for size (about 3 oz each) only made 6 rolls, which made me a little sad. Next time, I think I would make smaller rolls in order to make more (mainly because I like to share the breads I bake!). This was by far the most difficult dough shaping experience I have ever had. I followed the instructions in the book, Nicole's pictures, and the video she posted. It was still really hard, especially as I couldn't seem to keep the dough cold enough.

I used the other half of the dough to make a loaf because I prefer to use homemade bread to make French toast...a must for this weekend. But instead of trying to wrestle the butter, uh, I mean dough, into a traditional loaf, I followed the example of another of the BBA Challenge bakers and used six rolls to create a loaf.

It was really fun and looked really cool when it was finished!

I baked the petite brioche for the length he specifies for slightly smaller rolls, but they were still over-done...over 210 degrees (they were supposed to be 180), so I think they were a little dry. I've never had brioche before, and I wasn't sure what to expect. I guess I would compare it most to a croissant. Pretty good with the rest of the apple butter I made for the Artos. The Artos and bagels are definitely still my favorites, I could see making the Anadama again for a fun kind of sandwich, but I'm not sure I'd make this one again. Just not my kind of thing.

I'll let you know how the French toast turns out!

**UPDATE** While not as good as the Best French Toast of My Life (the stuff we made with the Artos), this is probably the second best. Amazingly enough, the brioche seemed to hold some of its texture and flavor, so you'd get a bite where the crust was very French toasty, but the inside still had the richness of the brioche. I still don't think I'll make this recipe again, but if I did, it would be for the French toast.

1 comment:

  1. The loaf looks cool! I'll keep this idea in mind. I made the poor man's brioche and was disappointed because it tasted like plain sandwich bread. Later on, I made the middle-class brioche, which was better than the first one, but not as buttery as I had expected.