The Fresh Loaf

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Rich Man's Brioche/ High School Project

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em120392's picture
em120392

Rich Man's Brioche/ High School Project

Today, I made Peter Reinhart's Rich Man's Brioche from BBA. I've never made such a rich, buttey bread, but it was delicious. I could only eat one slice, but with raspberry jam, it made the best breakfast.


I posted this on the blog my brother and I share ( http://bakingacrosscountry.wordpress.com/ ) We're both trying to complete the Bread Baker's Apprentice challenge, and also, I'm completing a high school project about artisan breads.


Anyway, here's the post!



Nowadays, we know brioche as a rich bread, enriched with enormous amounts of butter and eggs. The name brioche is derived from the Norman verb, "to pound." The Norman region of France was well known for the butter which they produced, and excessive kneading was required to incorporate all the butter into the dough.


Brioche came to Paris in the 1600s as a much heavier and far less rich bread than the one we know today. Supposedly brioche became well known with Marie Antoinette's famous quote, "qu'ils manget de al brioche" during the 1700s, which translates to "let them eat cake." This referred to the peasants who rioted because there was a lack of bread. The different butter contents of bread were baked for different classes-even the food reflected the social-class divides in 18th century France.


In the Bread Baker's Apprentice, Peter Reinhart provides three different recipes which vary in the butter content. Rich Man's Brioche has about 88% butter to flour ratio, Middle-Class Brioche has about 50%, and Poor Man's Brioche has about 20%. Since I had never made brioche, I splurged and made Rich Man's-why not? The recipe makes three loaves- In my head, the idea of three loaves somehow justified the pound (?!) of butter in the bread.


Traditionally, brioche is baked in molds as brioche a tete, which are formed with two balls of dough. Served with jam, brioche makes a perfect breakfast, and topped with meats and cheese, it can be served for lunch or dinner, thus making brioche a truly versatile bread.


I began the brioche with a sponge of flour, yeast, and milk. After the sponge rose and collapsed, I added five eggs. Next, incorporated the dry ingredients (flour, salt, and sugar), and mixed until the flour was hydrated.


After a few minutes, I mixed in a stick of butter at a time, making sure they were fully incorporated before the next addition. The dough looked smooth, and almost icing-like, because of the butter. I had never worked with such a fluffy, light bread dough, so I felt kind of intimidated in new waters.


After all the butter was added, I mixed for a few more minutes until the dough was soft, and tacky, but not sticky. I spread the dough onto a cookie sheet and put it in the refrigerator to firm up and retard overnight.


Since I don't have brioche molds, I used three loaf pans. I cut the dough into three even pieces, and with a rolling pin, I formed a rectangle. Like sandwich bread, I rolled the dough up, and placed them seam-down in the pan, and let it rise for about two hours. After it had risen for the second time, I brushed it an egg wash, to form a shiny crust.


In a 350 degree oven, I baked the bread until it was golden brown, and the internal temperature reached 190 degrees. However, when I tried to take the bread out of the pan, it kind of stuck to my not-nonstick pans, which I didn't grease. With some slight prying, I got the bread out, but slightly crushed and deflated a loaf. Also, when forming the loaves, I didn't seal the seam well, and when baked, it split on the sides.



Once cooled, I cut the bread, which flaked like a croissant, and tasted so rich and delicious. Since there is so much butter, one slice is more than enough, but every bite was so delicate and smooth. I'm glad I splurged for Rich Man's brioche, but I'm not sure how often I'll make it because of it's richness. With raspberry jam, it honestly made the best breakfast.


 

Comments

ehanner's picture
ehanner

So this a High School project? You are certainly a talented baker if that is the case. Very nice brioche.


Eric

em120392's picture
em120392

For a high school internship class, I chose to intern in a bread bakery. I also took on the BBA challenge to learn about different breads and techniques I normally would shy away from.


Thanks again, your compliments are really sweet; I really appreciate it. =]


-emily

Franko's picture
Franko

Good looking brioche, and a well written post. I thoroughly enjoyed the historical background of the bread you included, along with your mixing notes. Well done!


Franko

em120392's picture
em120392

Thanks so much,  Franko!

wally's picture
wally

That's a complicated bread and you've done a nice job with it.  You can braid it using a three-braid technique, by the way, and either bake it on a sheet, or place it in a bread pan creating a brioche vendenne.  Alternately, you can form 6 small balls and place them 3 long by 2 wide in a bread pan which gives you a brioche nanterre.


Nice bake-


Larry

em120392's picture
em120392

Thank you for the additional methods! Brioche Nanterre sounds/looks very cool! I'll update the additional shapes on my blog---I really appreciate it! =]


Thanks again,


-emily


 

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi Larry, Thanks for describing the brioche shapes, with their lovely French names. These loaves must be beautiful once baked!  from breadsong

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Emily, thanks for another really interesting post. Please keep these posts coming - I'm going to enjoy learning about the history of breads right along with you! Your brioche is lovely and I can't wait to see what you bake next.
Regards, breadsong

em120392's picture
em120392

Thanks so much, I really appreciate your encouraging words.=]


-emily


 

Baking Mama's picture
Baking Mama

I am taking a Artisan Bread class and we did Middle-class brioche our 1st week. We baked some up in the fluted tins like tradition, then we chafe 5 pieces and placed the into a loaf pan and baked, after they cooled we wrapped and placed in the frig, when we came back to class the next week we sliced the loaf about 3/4" thick and soaked them in Orange Bostock Syrup let the drain on a wire rack till no longer dripping, placed them on a sheet pan, spread Almond Bostock Paste over them, sprinkled slivered almonds over the top then sifted powdered sugar over that, we then baked them till they were lightly browned...It was AMAZING!! Just an ideal for you next time you find yourself with left over Brioche, It would make for a fancier Breakfast item if your interested, and the middle-class wasnt extremely rich! ENJOY!!

em120392's picture
em120392

that sounds amazing! thanks for the recommendation! =]