Saturday, July 11, 2009

BBA: Brioche


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!

16 comments:

Barbara Bakes said...

Your snails look so yummy! I would definitely cringe at four sticks of butter too!

Audrey said...

I'm so with you...in fact, I wish I was SO with you that I could have one of those snails right about now. Gorgeous! But in the meantime, I'm so with you about brioche. It was fun to make, it was delicious, it came out so well (like yours did-love the minis!), but I can't see myself making it very often. But I'm glad we did!

Di said...

Everything looks great! Turns out the pastry cream makes the snails, too. I don't like pastry cream that much, so I tried making a sort of cinnamon roll w/raisins with part of my BBA dough. That's when I found out that the pastry cream helps hold everything together with such a butter dough. Otherwise, the rolled up dough separates a lot and the raisins try to fall out the bottom. Oops. =)

Leslie said...

I just made this today, and didn't mind the sticky dough factor because I'm lazy and I use my KA to mix dough. M. has challenged me to make the rich man's and poor man's now that we've had the middle class, but there's only so much butter one can consume before the heart attack strikes so we'll see. I agree, we would never use this for a sandwich bread, but I might make the chocolate bread pudding again with the leftovers.

Tracey said...

Oh man that snail at the top makes me wish I had the motivation to make brioche right now! I've only made it once (with Dorie's recipe) and remember that it was really good. But I'm with you - it's definitely not my first choice for sandwich bread.

Debinhawaii said...

Very impressed with the brioche and that snail looks amazing (plus who doesn't enjoy the chance to light food on fire!) ;-)

Pamela said...

Well, the snails look extremely tempting and you did a wonderful job on the brioche! Great job, Cathy.

Nancy/n.o.e said...

Beautiful crumb on that little brioche loaf, Cathy! And those snails; need I say more? So delicious. I made cinnamon rolls which we liked, but I'll be interested in seeing how they would be with a less rich dough. Brioche was interesting and I'm glad I made the classic bread, but at the end of the day I'm not really much of a refined bread lover. (And for the record, the dough was not as sticky as lollipop hands, but it was heavier than lifting a toddler)

vibi said...

Sob...

I wish I could say the same as you: the brioche you are having at any given time, is the best you've ever had... really.

I simply can't bake anything with yeast... so you can imagine my sadness of having had brioche (that I love really) sooooo rarely in my life.

Sob...

Hey! Yeahhh... that's the ticket! Do you rent your services??? LOL

Natashya said...

Wonderful study in brioche, Cathy!
Please pass me a snail..

Katherine Aucoin said...

Looks like everything came out perfectly! Four sticks of butter, no shock and horror here, just a evil grin. A snail? Pass me one anyway! = )

Jennifer said...

I'm in the midst of making brioche, too, making the "poor" version for the TWD brioche plum tart. I can't wait to try it.


I wonder if there's a way to make the snails sans raisins? Maybe dried cherries? Those would be good with rum.

pinkstripes said...

Your brioche looks great! I loved the snails, your's looks delicious. And who doesn't like lighting raisins on fire?

Bridgett said...

Oh wow, these look deliciously rich! I love your loaf pans too, where did you find those?

nick said...

So much butter = delicious things.

I absolutely adore brioche. I once baked a (poached) sausage into the center of a loaf like this and it was possibly the best thing ever. If you like brioche, I highly recommend trying that!

Rachel said...

These look amazing! I've only made brioche once, and it was good but not great...I think I'm going to have to try again!

 
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