BBA #4 BRIOCHE: Middle Class Version

On to week four of our Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge and this week we have the choice of doing one (or more) of three variations that PR included in his book. Rich Man’s, Middle Class and Poor Man’s. The “class” of dough is mostly determined by the amount of butter each recipe calls for other than that, they follow the same general preparation instructions. I decided to go with the Middle Class recipe, mostly because I had never tried brioche before and the pioneer bakers in the group reported that working with the Rich Man’s dough was a little more difficult. Lastly, and least fun of all, I planned on eating some of this bread and decided that at some point I need to cut back since my overall carb intake has skyrocketed in the past month or so… yes, no fun at all. I know. Well enough from me let’s get the bread baking underway.

The Cast of Characters:

Unbleached bread flour, whole milk, sugar, eggs, salt, butter, yeast and water (not pictured)

 
Unbleached bread flour, whole milk, sugar, eggs, salt, butter, yeast and water (not pictured)

Day 1 – In order to give the yeast a head start in breaking down the wheat, I started by making a sponge. I combined part of the flour, all the milk, and all of the yeast and left it on the counter for about 20 minutes. Looked like this:

Sponge

Sponge

 After 20 minutes – yikes – almost had an overflow situation. Note to self: keep a closer eye on these things, its alive!

Doubled

Doubled, and then some!

 Next, I grabbed my mixer bowl, and added the sponge and 5 eggs and let my handy-dandy paddle scrapper go to town. While that was mixing, in another bowl, a mixed the rest of the flour, sugar, and salt. I slowly added the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl, about a cup at a time. A quick check back at the recipe – I need to wait 5 minutes to give the gluten a chance to develop before adding the 8oz of butter.

In the meantime, I cleaned off my counter and placed parchment paper in a baking sheet, which I sprayed with oil.

Five minutes is up- I slowly add the butter into the dough with the mixer on speed 2, adding it about 2-3 tablespoons at a time. When it looked as mixed in as possible, I lowered the bowl, gave everything a quick scrape down and moved over to the counter.

Mixer with scraper paddle attachment

Mixer with scraper paddle attachment

 I poured the contents from the mixer onto my prepared parchment and spread it out as much as possible. This was a little tricky because the dough was so sticky!

Spread out for cool down

Spread out for cool down

I sprayed some plastic wrap and covered the dough and into the fridge it went for it’s overnight stay. Actually, it ended up spending two nights in the fridge before I could get a chance to form and bake it. Although the recipe says the dough can be refrigerated up to three days, I was a little worried that it would become dried out. After two days I noticed that the edges were starting to discolor a little bit.

Slight discloration - dehydrated in the fridge

Slight discloration - dehydrated in the fridge

Since it was still soft, I moved forward with the shaping. I used two different molds. One brioche a tete mould (which I found at a thrift store for $1.99-score!) and a small loaf pan. I sprayed them very liberally with pan spray to avoid any stickage.

Liberally sprayed pans

Liberally sprayed pans

 I had no idea how much dough should go into the a tete mould, so I started creating the loaf first. My kitchen is on the warm side to say the least and it did not take long for the dough to start melting and sticking to everything! I thanked my lucky stars that I didn’t try the Rich Man’s version and forged ahead with creating 4oz balls to set in the loaf pan.

DSC00551

My benchscaper was a huge help in portioning the dough.

 

4oz pieces of dough

4oz pieces of dough - or as close as possible

 

DSC00552

Into the pan in a staggered fashion

The dough was starting to really stick, to me, to the counter, to the parchment, to the scale etc… so I stopped for a few minutes and put the remainder of the dough in the freezer for about 5 minutes, then continued attempting to follow along the picture tutorial in the book to create the traditional Brioche a tete shape. There, pretty close.
Dough ready for it's final proof

Dough ready for it's final proof

 I quickly broke and whipped up an egg and brushed the tops of the loaves with the egg wash. The egg wash should give the tops of the loaves a nice golden brown, shiny surface and then let the dough rise out on the counter for about 3 hours.

After about 3 hours, its ready for the oven

After about 3 hours, its ready for the oven

 Into a 350 degree oven they went and as soon as I shut the door they started to grow, and grow, and grow. I was starting to think that the oven spring was going to overwhelm my pans and was wondering what I should do – jeepers!

From the minute it went into the oven the kitchen smelled like crossiants. So amazing!

After about 35 minutes I pulled it out and took its temp. 190 degrees. I did my best to get them out of their pans and on to racks to cool.

Nice n' brown and smells so amazing!

Nice n' brown and smells so amazing!

 

They had doubled in size and the crust was very flakey

They had doubled in size and the crust was very flaky

I waited until morning and then sliced up the brioche a tete to send with A for breakfast and wrapped up the loaf to take into work. I was taking no chances by leaving it at home where I was sure I would eat the whole thing on my own.

Crumb shot

Crumb shot

Seriously yummy bread

Seriously yummy bread

 Overall, it was a great experience making this bread and I think next time I will try to make danish with the dough. That would be amazing. When I was asked what it tastes like, the closest I could come to describe it is that it tastes like a cake version of a croissant and smells identical.

Next up in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge: Casatiello

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4 responses to this post.

  1. I made an Almond filled ring…tasty…next time I will just simply make plain Brioche…Yours looks “seriously yummy”! have fun with the Casatiello…Happy Baking!

    Reply

  2. Awesome. You did great.
    How do you like that new paddle? I am thinking of getting one.
    Susie

    Reply

  3. Amazing oven spring and gorgeous crumb. I’m jealous.

    Reply

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