Friday, March 16, 2007
I Broached the Brioche.
Brioche is one of my favorite foods. I'd been eating almond brioche for years without even realizing it; there was a small french bakery next to my sister's ballet studio and my mom would usually buy me a pastry when we picked her up (probably to compensate for the many hours spent waiting in the parking lot for ballet class to end.)
The most memorable almond brioches i've had resently came from Ollie's Bakery in Winston-Salem, NC and Michel Richard in Los Angeles. I highly recommend them both.
The prospect of making brioche intimidated me. It's a long process, and I didn't expect the nervous anticipation that came with it. I was paranoid that despite the 15 minutes of kneading and multiple rises, my loaves would ultimately result in failure.
Thankfully, Melissa of The Traveler's Lunchbox posted a fantastic recipe for a vanilla bean brown butter brioche that is really hard to mess up.
I have a few suggestions of my own. If the butter isn't soft enough to incorporate after you've removed it from the fridge, you can beat it in your electric mixer using the paddle attachment to soften it. Also, Melissa suggests creating surface tension by rolling up the dough jelly-roll style. I did one loaf that way and the other using a folding method (you fold the outer thirds of the square to the middle like an envelope, then reshape the dough and do it in the opposite direction.)
The latter technique made for a much lighter loaf that rose higher. Even though it did get a little pocket in the middle, the air bubbles were bigger, and the crust was crustier.
I highly recommend trying your own brioche! It was really perfect with the Kumquat preserves I made.
at 12:54 PM