The Fresh Loaf

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Thought I hadn't been baking, huh?

proth5's picture

Thought I hadn't been baking, huh?

Well just because I haven’t been blogging doesn’t mean I haven’t been baking.

There’s just been a lot of “stuff” happening in my life and I haven’t had the energy (or time) to pretend I care about photography at all – and I know that’s what everyone wants – the pictures.  But with winter fast approaching, I’ve got a little relief from the yard work – and a little more time.

I’ve been working hard on my croissants and if I’m ever happy with them, I’ll let you all know.

I’ve also been working on pretzels and there are times when I can actually hear “My Teacher’s” voice telling me that I am fired.

So today I gave myself a break from croissants and decided to make some brioche treats.  And also pretzels. I’m going to make those danged things until I get them right.

At one point I looked over at my cooling racks and thought to myself, “Gee, they are kind of pretty all bunched up together like that.”  And I decided they were worth a couple of pictures.

Once I located my camera and had a few tough moments remembering how to use it, the pictures were taken.

Although I could give a blow by blow account of the many, many flaws in these products - I'll chill on that for today.  But I know and I know where I need to improve.

Below is the assortment: a brioche sticky bun, a brioche a tete, a couple of pretzels, and two laminated brioche – uh – things.


And below the crumb shot for the laminated brioche.


I will not describe the taste of the laminated brioche, becasue that's just being mean.

The details:

Use your favorite brioche dough.

Sticky Buns

49 oz of dough for about a half sheet pans worth of sticky buns

Bottom of pan coated with cinnamon bun glaze from “Advanced Bread and Pastry” (Suas) (accept no substitutes – this is the best sticky bun mixture I have ever tasted…)

Cinnamon mixture fro above source.

385F oven with convection

Brioche a tete

3.5 ounces per piece – shape, etc…

Laminated Brioche

24 oz brioche dough

4 oz butter

Lock in then 3 single folds

Roll out to about ¼ in thick

Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture

Roll up and cut into 12 pieces – put in large size muffin/cupcake tin

Proof – egg wash – sliced almonds on top

385F with convection



Base recipe is from “Advanced Bread and Pastry”

Leaf lard instead of butter

10% rye and 90% KA AP instead of bread flour

3.5 oz pieces.

Roll into long shapes with small “bellies” – making sure that the ends remain as bulbs. Do not taper the ends.  The ends must be bulbs.  Civilization itself depends on this.

Twist (yeah, I can twist them by twirling them in the air)

Place on parchment that has been sprayed with pan release.

Refrigerate covered overnight.

In the morning dip in 4% lye solution for 10 seconds or so.

Sprinkle salt on the lower part.


Bake at 450F

The lye dip is essential to the taste and appearance of the pretzel.  Takes me back to the land of my birth – which is in the Philadelphia area.  Frankly, it’s a bit nerve wracking at first, but the key is good mise en place and seriously, always wear chemical proof gloves and eye protection.  It gets easier the more you do it.


Well, that’s about all for me.  Gotta run!


LindyD's picture

on that very luscious looking brioche.  After reading Mark's blog on brioche, and now yours, I think a set of brioche molds are in my future.  Would be fun to try them some winter weekend.

Your pretzels look pretty darn great as well.  Are they soft or crunchy?  The only pretzels that are sold in my area are those soft (tasteless) ones at the malls, other than the bagged supermarket products.   Although I did notice that Zingerman offers a class on German pretzels, using lard and lye.

proth5's picture

are both soft and crunchy - and that's how I am told I must make them - or there's that whole civilzation crumbling scenario, again.

The "belly" of the pretzels is shaped a bit more thickly - so it is soft.  The arms are thinner - so they are crunchy. 

Yeah, Denver is not a good pretzel town.  And those "Auntie Anne's" things in the Salt Lake City airport? - Oh, the humanity!

Make sure to get the regular tin brioche molds - not non stick.  The non stick does not seem to be efective and I end up oiling them anyway...

And thanks for the kind words...

Janetcook's picture

Hi Pat,

These look yummy.  Very different than my whole grain brioche but those who get mine do not complain so i move on to the next task at hand :- )  ( One figures with that much butter in a dough anything will taste good.)

Nice to see the photo of you pretzels.  They look really, really good.  I second your statement about Denver not begin a pretzel town….and I hate to tell you what my kids think are pretzels because they are what they grew up eating…A hint is that the name on the bag belongs to one our generations beloved leading men in many a Hollywood production.

Thanks for the post and for figuring out how your camera works.

Take Care,


proth5's picture

My faithful limo driver got a lot of goodies this morning...

LindyD's picture

Thanks for the advice about the tin versus nonstick.  Glad I hadn't pressed the "finalize order" button.

Is there a "standard" size/weight for brioche à tête?  Am seeing mold sizes from 2.25 inches to 4 inches at Fantes and Amazon.  

Maybe I shouldn't worry so much about size, but more about shaping.  My initial plan was to use the snowman building technique, but after reading Varda's note and your response, back to the drawing board...

proth5's picture

Mine are 3.5 oz and when I get home I'll measure my tins and let you know.

dmsnyder's picture


proth5's picture

But you've got to know I am agonizing over every tiny flaw not that they are in pictures

Janetcook's picture

Ahh, that perfectionistic voice….I know it well but mostly disregard it these days.  It goes away when ignored.  

You know the 'rule' here:  Flavor Rules.

Yours look so inviting that I may just have to make space in my baking line up to make a batch…but then what would I do with the Borodinsky type ryes I am having so much fun with these days….they are much less demanding children to deal with :)


proth5's picture

on rye breads.  They are, frankly not my favorites, but friends have been asking for them.  So much time - so little to bake.  No, wait, strike that, reverse it!

I've been working more on the Vienoisseries these days because I'm trying to develop things that don't take a steam injected deck oven.  Now why would I be doing that?

That little nagging voice will never go away and I won't ignore it.  My nature is such that it only makes me try harder.


Floydm's picture

Very nice.

proth5's picture

You are very kind.

Casey_Powers's picture

How fun and tasty! The laminated brioche has me wishing for bite!

Warm regards,


proth5's picture

Uh- now where was that other half from the crumb shot? Can't find it anywhere...

Mebake's picture

They look absolutely decadent, Pat! Really inviting. Thanks for sharing the photo with us.


proth5's picture

Equal weights of flour and butter when all is done.  Cannot go wrong with that.

varda's picture

Pat,  Thanks for going against the grain and sharing your lovely baking with us, with a picture no less.   Looks truly delicious no matter what your teacher would say.   I have been working on brioche a tete myself, using Mark's formula.   Incredibly good, but can't get those danged things shaped.   I see you have passed that hurdle.   Lovely!  -Varda

proth5's picture

But the egg wash - oi!  I am so fired for that.

I don't use Mark's method (although I have used it in the past).  I use the "roll out into a kind of elongated schmoo with a head" The head is then pushed down into the center of the brioche.  Then - and I got yelled at pretty good for not doing this- the head is pushed to the side with your thumb and a well floured index finger is inserted between the head and the rest of the brioche to  push the edge of the head further into the body.  This is repeated until the head is firmly centered. Complicated, but effective.  You know how my teacher is...

Good luck with your brioche!


varda's picture

Hey Pat,   I have tried both the rabbit through the hole technique as well as the push down the snowman's head, and was equally unsuccessful with both.   I will put your tips in action and see if I can do better,   Thanks so much.  -Varda

Bronze's picture

This post alone would have been enough to make me want to follow your "blog" here on The Fresh Loaf.