Saturday, January 22, 2011

Brioche (or as I call it "Butter Bread")

For a birthday or a Christmas or the like my dear friend Kishpike gifted me I'm Just Here For More Food by Alton Brown. I've been very lazy in my baking, so I've only now really taken this book to heart. As the book itself will tell you, it's not so much a collection of recipes as a home learning course on why things happen in baking.

The chapter on "The Straight Dough Method" deals with the transformation of the pizza dough recipe into a brioche recipe. I'll be honest, I've never had brioche before and embarrassed myself in front of my barista by pronouncing it "bree o ch" instead of "breeosh". In my defense, I didn't know if it was Italian or French.

Anyway, the moral of the story is that there are two sticks of butter in two loaves of bread. I've also learned that I require a better bench proofing stage (I need a warmer than room temperature space for my dough to rise in the pan and the "warm" setting on my oven is too warm) and that I have to remember that my oven runs hot.

The thing about brioche is that you have to integrate plastic but unmelted butter into a fully developed dough. Betsy (my stand mixer) worried me a time or two as the very thick dough threatened to stall my bread hook and cause my work bowl to jump out of its nest. After a little of the butter worked its way into the dough things got less exciting.

I made some soup to go with the bread (I think originally it was supposed to be in the opposite order of importance) and it made a sound meal. The soup was my usual chicken sausage, potato, kale mess.

All in all, I'd say that my technique is still lacking, but I'm learning, and at this point that's the important part.


  1. I am SO excited - that's The Boyfriend's grandma's Kitchen Aid, no? You should be aware that my first loaves of bread (they were many) were poured from that bowl :)

  2. The one and the same. I really am grateful for it, it makes many things possible. Plus it's fun knowing that it has a well loved history.