It’s been a while since I’ve baked a loaf of bread and considering it’s something that I truly love to do, and since I had the house to myself last weekend it seemed like a good time to whip one up. I wanted to bake one that I hadn’t done before and I’ve been eyeing a Brioche loaf recipe for a while now but for some reason never made it. There’s something about making bread from scratch that is so cathartic to me. The kneading, forming and rising of the dough is truly a rewarding experience especially when it turns out just as it’s supposed to. A while back, there was a show on the Cooking Channel called Rachel Allen: Bake!, where the host was so engaging and inspiring that she ignited the bread baking fire within me! She had a knack for making the trickiest dishes look easy and effortless. Of course, her Irish accent had me at hello and the fact that there are very few baking specific shows on air had me watching every episode. They were filmed at the school where she teaches her craft and ever since I started watching it’s been a dream of mine to attend their 12 week cookery course. One day…
Getting back to my Brioche loaf, there’s a book out there called Baking Illustrated. It’s written by the same folks who bring you the Cooks Illustrated publication and TV show that’s aired on PBS. My mom got this book for me as a gift a few years back and what I love about it is that all the recipes are scientifically perfect. Meaning the bakers made countless variations of a particular recipe to come up with the finished product and they give you the reasoning behind their findings. For example, in this Brioche recipe, they experimented with baking times and temperatures, butter quantities, cold or room temperature butter, milk or water, room temperature water or ice water. Even down to the fact that you need to freeze the mixing bowl to achieve success for the perfect loaf. Those people seriously have the best job out there.
I followed the recipe verbatim by making a starter loaf the night before, refrigerating it for over 10 hours, chilling the things I needed to and kept the butter at room temp. Everything was going quite well, or so I thought. I seemed to have missed a critical last step before retiring my loaf to the fridge for the evening. Once the initial ingredients were mixed together, I was to add the butter one tablespoon at a time every 15 seconds, which I did and in the end I had a very buttery dough. It didn’t quite seem right, but I had never made Brioche before so I just went with it, covered it in plastic wrap and moved on. The next morning when it was time to roll it out, it felt more like a sugar cookie dough then a bread dough. When I looked at the recipe again, I had missed an apparently very important step after the addition of the butter to add more flour one tablespoon at a time until the dough is smooth and elastic. Whoops. Since I had $3 in butter alone already into this recipe, I figured that I would forge ahead and see what happens. So glad that I did! Even though it wasn’t a light and fluffy loaf like I had hoped for, what I did end up with was the equilivant of a croissant in loaf form and darn tasty at that! Don’t even get me started on the French toast I made for dinner that night (yes, I couldn’t wait until breakfast). Seriously the best thing I’ve eaten in recent memory! Full video coming very shortly!!
Hey there -
I'm Bri! Lover of food, wine, and photography that is currently traveling with my professional bass fishing husband along with our cantankerous rottie, Kigen. When not traveling you can find me living the lake life off the shores of Lake Mille Lacs in Isle, MN. Pour a drink, pull up a chair and join me as I journey across the country documenting it all along the way!