Thursday, June 4, 2009

brioche - bread baker's apprentice challenge #4

I enjoy brioche in all it's buttery goodness and I think it's one of those nice delights to find when you are dining out. Funny thing is I've never tried or even thought about a home version. Time to change that, as the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge bread this week is a loaf of smooth, flaky goodness.

Peter is kind enough to give you three recipes to choose from. The difference between the 3 (Rich Man's Brioche, Middle Class Brioche, and Poor Man's Brioche) is the butter quantity. With the cost of butter being relatively high, and I imagine more of a luxury, it seems as the recipes were a direct reference to your socio/economic. While the rich could afford to include 75 to 100 % (flour to butter ratio), the lowest of classes would slide by with a meager 20-25%.

I figured why not go big or go home with my first brioche attempt, which meant attacking the top dog - Rich Man's Brioche. Not having prepared myself for the actual sight of so much butter in my dough, it caught me by surprise. I forgot that 16oz was going to be a full pound. That's right a full pound of butter, all 454 grams of it. Or in another way, 3,178 straight to my thigh calories! OMG INSANITY! Who am I Paula Dean? Ok, butter rant over, it really is your friend.

The high butter ratio makes this unlike anything I've ever kneaded and I quickly put the KitchenAid mixer in use. It almost doesn't even feel like dough. Lasts weeks bagels were dry and required some serious muscle and the brioche is the exact opposite. With all the warm butter, you could probably mix it with a spoon. After some sloppy mixing time, I formed the dough into a log and covered it with greased up cling wrap. The dough has to spend a minimum of 4 hours in the fridge before we move on.

I divided the dough into 3 segments and shaped 2 for the pans. The third piece I cut in half again and placed on top of the main loafs. I hoped this would work, as Peter mentions dividing the dough in 3, but doesn't say what to do with the third section. I don't have any brioche pans so these loafs were going into a classic loaf pan.

At this point, my hands were a mess and the pans need to sit out for quite some time. After about 3 1/2 hours, I preheated my oven to 350 and egg washed the dough. A typical bread would have most likely over proofed at this point, but not our friend brioche. While the dough did rise it was less than normal bread for sure. While the rich version is harder to handle, it creates amazing results. The bread is extravagant and requires nothing to be enjoyed fully. It has proved to be light and airy. I find myself just pulling it apart like soft buns rather than eating it like a typical slice of bread. Toasting some for breakfast was a wonderful way to eat the bread, but turning it into french toast was something else all together!


Court said...

So, seriously, are you opening a bakery once all of your trials are done? Some of this bread looks so good it drives me crazy to see it at work. I suppose the whole pregnancy + carbs equation might also be contributing to my bread desires.

Sarah said...

It was divine. Flaky divine goodness. Christopher you are a god among men. Thanks for sharing all the goods!!!!!

Chris said...

Thanks for the thoughts Court, I really appreciate the support. Who knows what I'll do one day. I enjoy being the bread stork right now and randomly showing up with paper bags of carb goodies.

Thanks Sarah. Your Welcome.

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