The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My first brioche

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Felila's picture
Felila

My first brioche

Thanks to the info found here, and great advice from all you savvy bakers, my daily loaf (ciabatta) is predictably good. Nice tender crumb, crunchy crust, great oven spring.


However, it's getting a little boring. I found a recipe for Peter Reinhart's Rich Man's Brioche online and decided to try that.


Turned out to be much more of a bother and a mess than I'd anticipated, and the result, while tender and tasty, is too rich for my taste. I ate two brioche "muffins" last night, after the little brioches in the muffin tin were done, and then felt somewhat ill. Also, the little brioches and the big brioche loaf were so tender that they fell to pieces when handled -- as when trying to remove them from the pans.


I need to get the book from the library and try again with the Middle Class brioche. I think I need real brioche pans (the muffin cups were too small) or another loaf pan. I read here, after my experiment, that I need to develop the gluten BEFORE I add the butter (I think I didn't have enough gluten development). Someone also suggested "plasticizing" cold butter rather than waiting until it's half-melted.  If I had another Kitchenaid bowl, I could do that with the paddle.


Hmmm. Equipment requirements and I'm broke. Perhaps I should experiment in a different direction.


 


 

davidg618's picture
davidg618

I made brioche once, just to satisfy myself I could, but it's not a mainstay around our house. Sourdoughs, poolish invested doughs, and lean straight doughs are our weekly fare.


However, if your bored, and like rye's flavors, turn your focus in that direction. I'm finding baking rye breads has a discipline of its own. Baked my first 100% rye bread today: Hamelman's Vollkornbrot. Won't know for three days what its crumb and flavor are. It's currently wrapped in linen, resting.


David G.

Liam's picture
Liam

Hello Felila
If you want to make wonderful Brioche and you don't want to worry about gluten and plasticizing cold butter, but want a straightforward easy to read and follow Brioche, get yourself a copy of Lenotre's Desserts and Pastries.  It is an old book, but a good one for French pastry.  Lenotre used his non-baking daughter as a tester, as I understand it, when putting his book together for the 'mass market'.  I followed his recipes as a new baker who had more aspiration (sic) than understanding and they always worked.  Sure, Brioche is a bread, but it is to bread what the Hope diamond is to coal.  He has broken his recipes into  set quantities so there is no guesswork about how big it should be and one can  usually manage his recipes with equipment you seem to have around the house and your two hands. 
If you can't find the book at the library or if you can't get to one, I'll scan what i can into a note on the TFL.  Lenotre also has photo illustrations that let  you know what you are getting into and what it should look like, from your oven.


Sometimes more is not better, it is just more or a different animal altogether. 


For what it is worth.........and good for you for at least trying something different.  Personally I don't think there is a Middle Class Brioche, there is just good brioche and the other stuff.  That means butter.


If it's too rich for you, then indeed you should try another type of recipe and enjoy!


Regards


L

Felila's picture
Felila

Ordered Lenotre's book used -- $5.68. A bit of a splurge, but you gave it a good recommendation. It will probably join my edition of Jacques Pepin's Techniques in the "reference" section of my cookbooks. Not used often, but invaluable when needed.


I used the Pepin book when editing a raw fish cookbook -- I had to figure out how to describe dismembering lobsters and the like, when I'm mostly vegetarian.


 


 

proth5's picture
proth5

Brioche really does need to have the butter cold but flexible and there is a very satisfying way of doing this without another bowl for the mixer.


Take the cold butter, unwrap it and pound it into a thin sheet with a rolling pin (not the kind with ball bearings...), large dowel, broom handle, piece of pipe, etc...


Optionally, you may visualize anyone or anything that has made your life difficult over the past x days....


When it is a thin sheet, you will have accomplished your mission and it can be incorporated into  the dough.


Hope this helps.

Liam's picture
Liam

Hi Felil


It would be a shame to relegate the book to a reference shelf.  I have made numerous recipes from the book and they are uniformly wonderful, it definitely raised my stock at family gatherings and for a long time I was the cake/pastry maker to go to.  I'm glad you were able to find a copy and I hope it gives you many years of baking pleasure.


Cheers
L

Felila's picture
Felila

I'm afraid MOST of my dessert books (including my treasured Maida Heatter ones) are mainly reference at this point, as I live alone and I'm fat. I don't dare bake sweets unless it's for an occasion at which the dish will be shared. Otherwise I end up eating it all and getting even fatter.


Like the batch of lemon curd I made recently, in defiance of all good sense.


I *am* the baker-in-chief for my local Zen group, making goodies for retreats and cakes for special occasions. That's often a challenge of a different sort, however, as the retreats often include people with food allergies. I'm supposed to make something that everyone can eat, so I end up concocting treats without wheat or dairy. (The answer to that one is coconut mochi.)


 

Liam's picture
Liam

Ah, I feel your pain!!!