The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

In search of (my idea of) the perfect crumb (Enriched Breads)

  • Pin It
auntysharm's picture
auntysharm

In search of (my idea of) the perfect crumb (Enriched Breads)

Hello to one and all, and thank you for your truly informative, helpful, encouraging and inspirational website.

I am a competent baker who learned to bake many years ago and just never have enough time to practice enough. At the moment I have a short interlude of R&R in which to immerse myself in TFL and try and rectify an ongoing issue that has been plaguing me for what seems like FOREVER.

The recipes that I use to make both my Brioche and my Challah come from my grandmother. They make completely yummy bread the only problem (in my mind) is my crumb. It comes out like, well, cake. Now I realise this is what Marie-Antoinette was on about ... but ... I would like my crumb to be more like the doughy, chewy, cotton-wool-style interior that I remember from my childhood (just like my grandmother used to make) that also the commercially produced challah and brioche seem to manage. Unfortunately my grandmother is no longer around to ask about how she did it.

So I would be sooo happy if any of you MARVELOUS bakers out there on this excellent site have any good advice for me.

Thanking you in advance.

Aunty Sharm (takes constructive criticism well) 

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Do Julia Child's Brioche or the one in The All New All Purpose Joy of cooking. To get that special brioche interior it has to be put in the fridge all night. That's my experience anyway. And the result is better than any brioche you can get in a French Bakery! The crumb pulls away like cotton candy in strands. Heaven.

Jane 

Janedo's picture
Janedo

I mean the uncooked dough, of course! The recipe's explain.

holds99's picture
holds99

Auntysharm,

Rose Levy Beranbaum's Bread Bible has both brioche and challah recipes.  You might want to look at them.  My experience has been that Rose's recipes produce excellent results.  I frequently bake from her Bread Bible; ciabatta, brioche, pizza, sticky buns, etc.  and the recipes I have baked have all been very, very good.  Her sticky buns are made with dough similar to brioche and are glorious.  She also has written The Cake Bible which won Cookbook of the Year from The International Association of Culinary Professionals.  Good luck in your quest.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

Janedo's picture
Janedo

I bought her book recently but haven't tried very many of her recipes. Now I want to run in to my kitchen and give her sweet breads a try! Thanks for the review Howard.

Jane 

holds99's picture
holds99

Jane,

I know you're in France but don't know if you have a Kitchen Aid mixer but any stand mixer should work.  I make Rose Levy's ciabatta a couple  of time a month.  Her recipe is for 1 loaf so I alway multiply her recipe by 4 and make 4 loaves and freeze 3 of them and use the remaing loaf when I bake.  They freeze very well, after completely cooling on a rack, I freeze them in plastic bags.  My first experience with really wet dough was Rose's ciabatta.  Because of the high hydration, I don't believe you can mix her ciabatta by hand, only with a stand mixer.  In her recipe she uses a KA mixer, which I also use, and says the dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl in about 3 minutes.  Well, I timed it and at exactly 3 minutes the dough came away from the sides of the bowl and wrapped around the paddle just as she said it should (she doesn't use a dough hook for her ciabatta, only the paddle).  

Being a very experienced baker I think you'll really like her book.  I have e-mailed her and sent her some photos and she e-mailed me back with answers to a couple of questions i had.  She seems to be a very down to earth, nice lady but now I think she's pretty busy.  She does a lot of teaching and lectures in Europe.  A while back she had a write up on her newsletter that she was in Portugal (as I recall) speaking at the bakers convention. 

I thoroughly enjoy your posts and perused your excellent website and found what appears to be a terrific recipe for lentils.  I will cook them next week.  Thanks and all the best to you in your baking endeavors.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

holds99's picture
holds99

Jane,

Here's a link from Rose Levy's website that will provide you with corrections to some of the recipes in her Bread Bible.  You may want to print them out and keep them with your book.  I went through and made the changes by hand in my book.

http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/2006/02/corrections_the_bread_bible.html

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Thanks Howard! I would never even of though of that. I'll do the same as you, by hand.

Jane 

auntysharm's picture
auntysharm

Wow! Everyone one this site is so nice and helpful and encouraging (ie they don't think I am some COMPLETE idiot for not knowing that I should have refrigerated my dough.)

I have no bread books at all. All my bread recipes (as well as many others) are from my grandmother and sometimes with sketchy instructions - which work fine with simple breads, dinner rolls etc but not so good with more complicated things like enriched bread (though I never thought it was that complicated?)

Jane  you have inspired me and I have just ordered The All New All Purpose Joy of Cooking. Howard, thank you also for your feedback. I wish I had seen it before I ordered (at the same as Joy of Cooking) Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice which I have noticed that many people on this site use / recommend.

Unfortunately I am traveling for the next three weeks (part of which in France - so there ain't gonna be any baking done there, just lots of consumption of all those MIGHTY FINE baked goods) so I won't get a chance to try anything out for a bit. Hopefully by the time I get back the books will have arrived.

I will keep you posted with the results (when I have a chance to make any - such is my wonderful life < smiles and sighs > one day I will be old and grey and get to bake every day.)

 

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Oh! Where are you going in France? I live in the South of France near Spain. How lucky you are.

I love the Joy of Cooking new version for all it's no fail recipes. It is really a modern cooks bible. The Bread Bible is also an incredible book. It has all sorts of breads, quick breads, etc. 

I don't have The Bread Baker's Apprentice because I bought Crust and Crumb. I should have got the first, I think.

Jane 

auntysharm's picture
auntysharm

... though I shouldn't say 'just', Paris. I used to live in Paris and love it (would love to move back there < sighs > perhaps this year.)

Oh Jane, I have just been looking at your BEAUTIFUL websites. Well done! ... au levain! is particularly magnificent. (You lucky thing to have such time on your hands :) ) 

> I live in the South of France near Spain

Ooooh how nice. My brother has a house near Tarbes (nearer Trie sur Baïse) lovely part of France. Great food too, garbure, pipérade, palombe farci ummm, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Wish I had a bit more time to get down there more often.

Janedo's picture
Janedo

JUST going to Paris... I haven't been in over five years. My husband goes regularly.

Have a wonderul time.

The Tarbes region is very nice. I'm over by Perpignan but up in the mountains on the road to Andorra.

I don't actually have much time at all and that is my frustration. I have five young kids and that is where the passion for food and bread comes from. I have lots of mouths to feed. But little time to do proper blogging. I just do what I can. It's fun.

I hope you'll show us your brioche when you do one. We are going to dig in to The Bread Bibles chocolate sticky buns...thanks for the idea Howard!

Jane