Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Bread Baker's Apprentice #4-Brioche

The first time I made brioche I had very little experience with yeast doughs and the brioche was to be used as a tart crust. The brioche crust just didn't do it for me, I prefer pate sucree in my tarts, so I ended up forgetting about brioche for a while. This changed when I had to come up with some breakfast pastries in the second restaurant I worked at. Sticky buns and brioche a tete were given a second change and my customers loved them!

Since then I have made brioche numerous times at work and at home, and it never fails to put a smile on my face. Not only the dough is super shiny and a pleasure to touch (may I dare to call it sexy?), but the taste of a freshly baked brioche never fails to put me in a good mood. Food has that power on me, I don't need any other stimulants, give me something delicious to eat and my neurons are bathed in serotonin.

If you have been following some of my posts, you must know about this challenge started by Nicole at pinch my salt. We are baking from Peter Reinhart's book The Bread Baker's Apprentice, cover to cover.

The fourth recipe in Peter Reinhart's book is brioche. As usual, Peter gives a nice introductory overview on brioche (who knew that Queen Marie Antoinette probably uttered "let's them eat brioche" and not "bread" before being be-headed.), then he writes three versions of this wonderful recipe: a Rich man, a Middle-class, and a Poor man version, so called depending on the amount of butter and eggs in the recipe. Since I had tried another of his recipes for a yeast dough with the rich man equivalent of butter and found it too buttery, I decided to go with the middle class version, which is very buttery as it is.

I was a little puzzled when I read that in the instructions the butter is added almost immediately. Normally the dough is mixed for few minutes to allow some gluten development before adding the butter, which coats the flour in fat and may hinder the gluten development if added too soon. Because I am stubborn, I decided to do it the traditional way and mixed the dough until it looked even, and it had some structure. I actually had to add some milk as the dough was too stiff (you want the dough to stick to the mixer bowl somewhat and it has to feel soft, somewhat sticky). Butter was then added slowly and the resulting dough was text-perfect for brioche. I left it in the fridge overnight and then made 8 mini brioche a tete, and a cinnamon bread monkey-bread style, just because I love playing with food and my family is addicted to cinnamon bread.

Before proofing

After proofing

I keep forgetting how much brioche rises and even more about the amazing oven spring. When the baked brioche comes out of the oven I get this it is alive! type of thought.

Fully proofed

Wonderful crumb

I was really happy with the wonderful results, a nice recipe indeed. I got a "this is the best brioche you ever made" comment, so here, go buy the book if you haven't already.

Happy Baking!


Pete Eatemall said...

Looks tasty! I made an almond filled ring...I love Brioche dough..Pretty Pics! Happy baking!

Unknown said...

Your brioches seem the "brioche with the tuppo", they are sweet Sicilians that eat at breakfast accompanied by a beautiful granulated. Excellent the recipe, the presentation day-dream, very beautiful photo!

natalia said...

Mamma mia che meraviglia !!!Vorrei essere lì per mangiarle con te !!

enza said...

la brioche con il tuppo te la faccio mangiare in sicilia! per il resto sono bellissime a vedersi e credo proprio che quel "le migliori che hai fatto" sia del tutto dovuto.

Susie said...

Super SEXY looking. :) Great job and nice write up.

BICE said...

Sono veramente belle.
complimenti, come sempre del resto.

Simona Carini said...

Brioche col gelato! Memories of my first visit to Sicily. Beautiful brioches. I have the book in my wishing list.

lisaiscooking said...

Your brioche looks excellent! The cinnamon bread must have been delicious. Great to read about making brioche. I haven't tried a traditional brioche recipe yet.

Y said...

Your brioches look amazing, and compliments are always the icing on the cake (or "the glaze on the brioche", as the case may be this time round :D).

Jill @ Jillicious Discoveries said...

Your brioche looks perfect! I'm a bit behind with the BBA stuff--I may have move to the slow, slow, slow track.

Thanks for your comments on my blog--yes, due to the lousy weather here in Oregon, we are behind with the flowers compared to you.

Let me know how the Farmers Market is working out for you. Our small town started one yesterday and I found out I can be part of it next month. :)

Jill @ Jillicious Discoveries said...

P.S. I forgot to answer your question about rhubarb--it hasn't come back from last year. I'm not sure if we will have it this year. :(

Laura said...

Le brioche col tuppo non le ho mai sentite! E' anche vero che non sono mai stata in Sicilia :o(

Natalia, sei la benvenuta, any time!

Susie, yes, sexy indeed.

Bice, e le mie "amiche" italiane, grazie per i compimenti e l'ispirazione!

Lisa, Y, and Jill, thanks! It was very fun and delicious to make.

Happy Baking!

Nico said...

love your pictures

Janice said...

Gorgeous! I could almost taste the cinnamon bread. Mmmm! I wonder if you could do a tutorial for all of us on shaping brioche? I followed Peter's directions exactly, but as it was my first time trying, they are not beautiful like yours. I am sure you have learned some extra hints along the way - do share!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Oooohh, so beautiful and tempting! Those brioches look really good!



enza said...

la dicitura tafanari (o anche caccavelle) proviene dal divertentissimo blog di isabella che con ogni suo post mi fa morire.
è vero non riesco a stare lontano dalle mie cyborg amiche e poi essendo costretta mio malgrado all'inattività mi tocca inventarmi qualcosa per incanalare le energie.
sur la table lo conosco bene, così come williams and sonoma e anche crate & barrell nonchè il reparto casalinghi di macy's ma son partita dall'italia con le idee chiare :)
dovessi venire qui ti porterei da kitchen e da peroni oltre che da castroni.
niente a che vedere, negozi molto spartani ma creati apposta per i professionisti e quindi pieni stracolmi di attrezzature.
ecco peroni ricorda un pò sur la table e pensa che da sur la table c'era talmente tanta roba che sono riuscita ad uscire senza aver comprato nulla.
ecco questa è una delle cose che piùmi hanno impressionato dell'america.
i negozi stracolmi tanto da ubriacarti.

kiss my spatula said...

your brioche look simply divine. love them!

Lien said...

They look so good!!! Love that cinnamon monkey bread (I can totally understand your family when it comes to cinnamon!)

Laura said...

Janice, I am working on a bread shaping post.

Lien, nice to "see" you back, I hope your computer is fixed.

Thank you all who came over, baking is so much fun and it is even better if I can inspire somebody to make brioche.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad to have found your site as well! I haven't tried baking brioche (I'm not well versed in the richer doughs), but am eager to do so now!

Looking forward to keeping up with your blog!

Maris said...

This is gorgeous! Mine rose a lot too - I was surprised but I suppose that is a good thing, right?

Susan/Wild Yeast said...

What gorgeous brioche, Laura! I learned brioche your way -- adding the butter last. It certainly worked for you!

Laura said...

Claire, you are an accomplished baker as it is, the same principles of bread making apply to rich doughs, with just minor adjustments. I hope you try brioche dough, it is full of butter, but once in while it is a pleasure to make and eat.

Maris, yes, brioche rises tons before and during baking. It has to do with the eggs I am sure. I am glad you are part of this great group.

Thank you Susan, in you I have found another mentor to learn from, very happy about your and your blog existence. Keep on inspiring us!


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