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em120392's picture

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 ( ) 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.


saltandserenity's picture

Torie Cookies (oatmeal toffee cookies)

In the last dessert of my dried fruit dessert series, I offer you Torie cookies.  I think I am cheating a bit by calling this a dried fruit dessert, as in addition to dried cherries, it contains chopped up Skor bars, bittersweet chocolate chunks and oatmeal.  But they are yummy.  I only ate one and sent the excess off to my son in Montreal and my daughter in Boston.  My third son, still at home, complained that he has to move away if he wants cookies.  I told him to pack his bags!

Torie Cookies

em120392's picture

BBA Challenge Bagels/High School Project

Hey guys! I just wanted to thank you again for your encouraging comments on my bread-baking-project for school. I appreciate your thoughts very much! =]

I made bagels the other day, and wanted to share my post with you guys.

Here it is!

(my brother and i share a blog: )Originating in Poland in the 1600s, Bagels came along with Jewish immigrants to Ellis Island. Since many people of Jewish descent settled in New York, bagels have since been a tradition in the City.

The word bagel is derived from the German word for "to bend," symbolizing the round shape of the bread. Bagels were thought to bring good luck to the receiver of the bread. Usually, women who just gave birth received them for good luck as well as a symbol representing the cycle of life due to their circular shape.

The bagel gains its distinct chewiness from being first boiled, and then baked at a rather high temperature. A prolonged, cool second rise contributes to the bagels developed flavor, as well as the "fish eyes" on the crust. "Fish eyes" are raised bumps on the surface of the bread.

The first time I made bagels a few years ago, I was foolish and used whole wheat, no-knead dough from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Although this dough made fine boules, the bagels dissolved in the boiling water, leaving broken lumps of chewy dough. Nevertheless, I was determined to find the perfect bagel recipe.

My brother, Evan, has been baking his own bagels weekly for about a year now. Out in California, each bagel costs over a buck, and they're spongy rolls. Out here in New Jersey, we sometimes get good bagels-but mostly, they're doughy and the size of your face.

Reinhart begins his recipe with a sponge, combining water, yeast, and flour into a thick-pancake like batter. After about two hours, I added more yeast, flour, salt and honey. I tried to mix the ingredients together, but flour flew out everywhere, making a giant mess. I tried to knead the dough in the Kitchen Aid, but the dough was so stiff, I could smell the motor straining.

That's why we have hands, I guess. For about ten minutes, I kneaded the stiff dough until my arms hurt, and the dough passed the window pane test. I measured out the dough into twelve even pieces (thank goodness for a scale). However, 4.5 ounce bagels were a bit too large for breakfast, and I think making about 16 would be a better portion.

After letting the dough rest for a little bit, I shaped them into bagels. I tried both ways, by sticking my finger through the dough and stretching the hole out, and also by forming them from a coil. I found that by poking my finger through, the shape of the bagel was more consistent, but I'm sure with more practice, I could get better at the coil-method.

I let the bagels rest again for about twenty minutes. Reinhart suggests a test for readiness: I placed one piece of shaped bagel dough in a bowl of water and saw it immediately floated.

After the test, I placed them on baking sheets, covered them with plastic wrap, and put them in the fridge for two nights.

On the second night, I brought a pot of water to a boil with an added tablespoon of baking soda. I didn't want to crowd my pot, so I only boiled four bagels at a time, for about a minute per each side. Immediately after boiling, I put them on a cooling-rack to drain, and sprinkled over a combination of sesame and poppy seeds, as well as some sea salt.

After boiling all 12 bagels, I baked them in a 500 degree oven for 5 minutes, rotated the pans, and baked them about 7 minutes more at 450, or until they were deep golden brown.

The next morning, I had a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast. Wow. They beat any one of the partially-cooked ones I get from the bakeries in my town. Since there are only three of us living in my house right now, we froze half of the bagels for future use. I also gave my mentor, Mr. Esteban a handful of bagels to share with his family. I hope he enjoyed them!

Besides my finicky mixer, this recipe was super simple and didn't require all that much effort (but more utensils than normal to clean). Rather than spending 12 bucks for 12 bagels on Sunday, I can bake these (better) bagels for a fraction of the cost. Next time, I'll try to find malt barley to make more authentic bagels, but for now, these are awesome!

Olver, Lynne. "Breads." Food Timeline (2011): n. pag. Web. 14 Jan 2011. <>.



breadman_nz's picture

Artisan Bread Every Day - Errata for Bagel Recipe

I have just bought Peter Reinhart's ABED and made the bagel recipe (which turned out fantastically well, by the way).

However there is an error in the recipe (pages 75 & 77, first edition). The correct volume of water for the poaching liquid is 1814-2721g, which is the equivalent of 64-96oz. The book says 181g-272g, being out by a factor of 10!

I couldn't find this errata notified after searching here and elsewhere, so trust it's not a duplication.

Jo_Jo_'s picture

Not a brick after all

This is the bread that I make for my husband, who likes a softer crust and whole wheat.  I like it too, but my favor my sourdough baguettes.  I have spent weeks tweeking this recipe and really like the flavor and texture of the Kaiser shaped rolls I made this time.  They were allowed to rise an extra 45 minutes while the loaf in my clay baker baked.  I'm getting better at braiding the buns without ruining the crumb inside.  The ultimate critic will be my husband though, so we shall see.  First here's my newest version of my recipe:

Whole Wheat Honey Potato Bread


14 oz (397 grams) whole wheat flour

14 oz (397 grams) water

3 pinches yeast


Mix till all is moistened, then cover and let sit for 8 to 24 hours, best if it is actively bubbling when you use it.  Can be refrigerated after about 6 hours for up to 3 days.


All of poolish

21 oz (596 grams) bread flour

4 tsp yeast

2 tsp salt

1.5 oz (2 Tablespoons) Honey

.6 oz (18 grams) shortening

1 oz dry milk

.7 oz potato flakes

11 oz water


I set the ingredients out before starting, measuring them with my scale.  I used my kitchenaid to mix for about 2 minutes, then allowed the dough to rest for 30.  I then kneaded the dough for about 6 minutes, shaped it into a ball, and put it into a bowl to rise for a couple hours.  It took closer to four hours from what I remember.  I pulled it from the bowl ad shaped it, then allowed it to rest for 10 minutes.  I cut it into two pieces, and used 1 lb 12 oz in my clay baker and the rest were made into kaiser rolls.  I have been trying to figure out how much dough to use in my clay baker, if 2 lb 4 oz was to much and 1 lb 12 oz was not enough, then maybe next time I should try 2 lbs of dough. I put the clay baker into the oven and turned it on to 425* baked for 30 minutes and then removed the cover and baked at 380* for another 15 minutes.  I think the crust color is just about right.

The loaf of bread was a little disappointing, when I pulled it from the oven.  Thought I had misread my dent in the dough test, but while it might have been a little better with a slightly longer rise time I think the crumb is actually ok.  It is just a short loaf that took the shape of the pan, probably because I like my dough more hydrated.  I will definitely put more dough in, and might try a little bit less water next time and a little more shortening, plus I might try 50% whole wheat and 50% bread flour.  Not real sure why I had cracks in the crust, another reason I thought this was going to be a brick.  The flavor is outstanding in this bread, probably because I left the poolish in the fridge a couple extra days.


Happy this turned out so much better than I thought it had, now on to making my Greek Celebration bread from BBA.  This should be fun!



paulm's picture

BBA Greek Celebration Bread

I just finished recipe #2 in BBA.  It produces a loaf larger than I am used to but turned out heavenly (at least the housse smells heavenly).  I substituted Mixed Fruit and Peel (left over from Christmas cookies) for the Rasins and Dried Cranberries but otherwise followed the recipe.  I'm still having trouble with my loafs spreading out rather than raising up during final proofing so my shaping need improving.  I thought I got this one pretty tight but it still spread quite a bit.  Thank the gods of baking for oven spring.  It's still cooling so no crumb shot but I think it is presentable enough to take over to the neighbors for a post New Years get togrther.

breadsong's picture

Bon Appetit magazine (Jan.2011) article - Top Ten Best Bread Bakeries in America

Hello, Just came across this article...

Regards, breadsong

Earlybirdsf's picture

Central Milling aka Keith Giusto Bakery Supply (Petaluma, CA) has moved

Just made a trip out to Central Milling, which is actaully called "Keith Giusto Bakery Supply". They have moved into a new location. 755 Southpoint Blvd, Petaluma, CA. 866-979-2253

They have a very large selection of organic bulk flours. Now, you can call ahead, and they will pack 5lb bags. They ask that you please call ahead though, otherwise, you will wait for some time. If you are buying in 25 or 50lb bags, no problem.

Under construction, is a Bakery School, on site, that will be open soon.

Please email me your contact, if you are intersted in bulk flour. We were told that if enough of us order, they will deliver to SF, as they deliver to the Ferry Bldg twice a week.




freerk's picture

master shapers input needed (update!)

I visited "De Zandhaas", a working grain mill close to Amsterdam. Together with two fellow bread enthusiasts we had a one on one with the miller. He gave us loads of really useful info on the local, regional, national and European ins and outs on grain.

For some time already I suspected that my shaping problems originate right at the start; it's the flour we have acces to here. And the miller made it a fact! Our local grains aren't nearly as strong as the Northern American varieties. We also learned that American grain is hard to come by around here nowadays, so no need to go hunting for it. The differences are so big that all formulas that originate in the U.S.A need serious tweeking over here. My friend joked that "now we finally know that our water hasn't more water in it after all"  It certainly seemed that way every now and than with some formulas (especially this Filone that started this thread)


Loaded with information and of course the freshest of flours imaginable (the miller gave us some wheat germ to taste that was amazing) I returned home inspired. Whether it was a stroke of luck or a moment of genuine learning remains ro be seen, but I think I shaped, slashed my first more than average batard!

Meet my Golden Semolina Torpedo from the Bread Bible.



Thank you all for helping me get better. Sunday I'll post a wonderful recipe for a very local Frisian Sugar Bread that I think hasn't been posted yet here on The Fresh Loaf. Check it out!


X Freerk



original post:


My latest Filone came out fine, but shape-wise it is just not what I'm looking for.

The mistake is consistent  though;  each time the loaf has a wonderful open crumb on the ends but gets denser in the middle part, and ends up looking more like a barbell than the nice sleek torpedo I'm looking for :-/

So; I 'destroy' the air pockets in the middle part of the dough during shaping, and leave the holes on the two ends intact, I guess.

After trying just about every possible way there is in shaping the filone, after watching numerous videos and studying breadbook pictures,  none of them seem to be working for me, yet...

I know that shaping is a 'hands on' type of affair. My question to all you master shapers out there is; which shaping method would you suggest me to commit to? My guess, after fooling around with them all, is that choosing and practicing one method is my best chance to get it right fast.

I am more and more gearing towards the wetter doughs :-) Which of the methods of shaping would be the most logic for higher hydration doughs?

Am I too sissy in "punching down" before shaping? I tend to handle the dough as carefully as I can manage. I expect to see some irregularity in the baked loaf, but mine just goes haywire on me during oven spring! The more evenly the holes are distributed in the dough, the cleaner looking the loaf comes out, right? Am I too careful?

Maintaining surface tension is also proving to be a challenge with wetter doughs. Any practical tips?

I have been tweaking the Glezer formula a little in my last attempt.

Like a lot of people here I have found the dough it produces rather "gloppy" and hard to work with. I also found out that the dough becomes a lot easier to work with after the first proof with three folds. I have reduced the water percentage (following Glezer's somewhat complicated way of measuring out as little yeast as humanly possible) by subtracting the yeasted water from the amount used in the final dough, so a total of 1 cup of water, instead 1 cup plus the yeasted bit.

After that the dough did everything the recipe promised, so my guess is I might have been misinterpreting Glezer's instructions.

The taste Durum flour produces in it's loaves is so close to my "dream bread" I want to try out more with it. If you can point me towards other formulas and recipes I'd be very grateful!




Lord Jezo's picture
Lord Jezo

What did I do wrong? Middle of loaf didn't cook.

So here is what happened, I decided to make this loaf, the daily bread again, the first time I did it last year it worked pretty much fine.


This second time though, does anyone know what may have caused my loaf to totally fail in the middle?


The outside looked perfect with it's brown crust and color.  I cooked it as suggested, max oven temp, which is 550 for me, for 5 minutes then turned it down to 470 for another 15.  It rose just as it was supposed to but once I cut into it the middle of the loaf was a big ball of dough, the middle was as if it wasn't ever even put in the oven.

I followed the recipe with the only change being 3.5 cups of flour instead of a pound as I don't have a scale.  I used King Arthur's bread flour with SAF instant yeast.  Had the poolish work over night for 8 hours and with the main dough I mixed by hand and did the French fold method four times over the course of three hours with the final resting for about an hour.

I ended up putting it back in the oven for 20 minutes after I had ruined it by cutting into it.  In the end I had a large loaf of toast, but it was either doing that to salvage something or tossing it all out.  A day later it is okay to eat, the crust and the exposed bits are burned, but digging in deeper to the loaf its fine.

Any suggestions?