14 hours ago
Saturday, July 11, 2009
I've continued to bake through the Bread Baker's Apprentice in order for the BBA challenge, although I've fallen a little behind on my posting. Brioche comes after bagels in the BBA, so we've moved from chewy water bread to rich butter bread. I think I've made brioche more than any other yeast bread, which is a little odd, but I love the sweet breakfast breads like cinnamon buns and sticky buns that are typically formed from brioche. I was interested to see how Peter Reinhart's brioche would compare to the other brioche that I made (Dorie Greenspan's), although I knew that I couldn't really reliably compare the two because of the two month time lapse between making them. Plus, I imagine that whatever brioche you're eating at the moment is the best brioche you've ever had anyway.
Peter Reinhart provides three different versions of brioche - rich man's (2 cups butter), middle class (1 cup butter) and poor man's (1/2 cup butter). In true Goldilocks fashion, I chose to make the middle class version, because it would provide a genuine brioche experience (and produce a bread ideal for sweet rolls) without the shock & horror factor that is always present for me when I unwrap four sticks of butter to use in one recipe.
The dough begins with a quick 20 minute sponge, then everything gets mixed together. Here is where I wish that I either wrote my posts right away, or took notes. I remember that the dough was very soft, and I vaguely remember not really enjoying working with it. I THINK the dough was sticky (and I know I need to buck up, but I can't stand working with sticky dough), but that might have been some other dough, or maybe just my kids pawing me with lollipop hands. In any event, I remember that I was happy to get this shaped and in the pans. The dough rose well:
And turned onto bread when baked:
I used half of my dough to make three mini loaves, and the other half to make Dorie Greenspan's brioche raisin snails. The snails were fun to make - they involve lighting raisins and rum on fire, how could they not be? - and were delicious. I skipped the glaze on the first few I made (I froze some of the unbaked rolls to make for hubs later on Father's Day), but after glazing the second batch I realized that the glaze really makes the snails. So from now on when I make raisin snails, they'll be glazed.
This brioche was wonderful, although I can safely say at this point that brioche will never be my first bread choice for sandwiches or toast. It's delicious, but there are lots of delicious sandwich and toasting breads out there that are not so rich. But I will definitely make brioche again to use for sticky buns, cinnamon buns and snails, so I'm thrilled to have it in the repertoire!