Ate a beautiful braided brioche at a dinner last night. Big braids and then a smaller braid laid on top. would love some help on how to make this beautiful bread.
Sounds like you were eating challah. It's fairly similar to brioche, perhaps a bit less rich in butter and eggs. Challah is most often braided, and your description of a piggyback braid is typical of a big celebration challah. Peter Reinhart has a good recipe in BBA.
probably was challah. Brought some home for french toast this morning. Looks difficult to make, but I am determined. Thanks for the suggestion of checking out Peter Reinhart.
You know, you don't have to do the fancy braid on top of braid. You can do just a simple three-strand braid and your bread will taste just as nice!
True, but let's admit it: double deckers are so much more impressive. ;)
Hamelman's Bread has a section dedicated to braiding, with an extensive list of tips such as which braids to use (some come out flatter and thus better suited to double deckers), how to roll out each strand cleanly and evenly, and, of course, the braids themselves. There's advice for triple-deckers, too.
Either BBA or Bread should be good choices - whichever one is in the library should do fine.
Berne Brot in Hamelman's "Bread" is similar to Challah, only uses butter and milk instead of oil and water. This will make a richer, moister bread.
The whole Nine Yards:
Step by Step:
The previous reference to the video on braiding will serve you well, but all in good time. If you're new to the braiding technique I'd recommend you stay with the three strand braid outlined on the "pinchmysalt" page, at least for your first effort. My reasoning is that, if you run into difficulty with the six strand method, you end up handling the dough more than necessary which can result in a bread that isn't as tender as you might like.
In the event that the speculation is incorrect and that you truly did expeience a braided brioche, keep in mind that it is possible to braid a brioche and there are counteless references to brioche throughout the Internet or in many good bread making books.
Reinhart doesn't braid his brioche in this book but he offers several variations on the brioche theme and the one with the least amount of butter might work quite well as a braided loaf.