Sunday, January 16, 2011


How about a loaf of fresh baked brioche bread for the 3rd anniversary of this blog space? The time is already into the next day but only just got a chance to sit down here as class projects and recitals are in full swing. 

Once the baking bug bites, even if you are not a gifted baker like spicyana, the desire to bake a loaf of bread starts to take root:-) This happened to me a while ago. I don’t have a bread machine and I had this feeling that making bread will take a lot of work. Confession time….I never make chapatis since I don’t know how to and so kneading is not a natural step for me. I will get to it some day because we do have a base and roller just for the purpose:-) For the moment COSTCO or Indian Grocery stores will do just fine. 

There is one item I always beeline for in the bakery section. Mini Brioche buns. Ummm…Yummmm. So when I saw a recipe that said fast brioche, I printed it out to try whenever I have the time. That time finally came around and I am very pleased with the results. For cosmetics effect, next time I will take the bread out of the oven a little earlier and will not brush so deeply with beaten egg. But the taste of the light and fluffy Brioche is well present beneath the exterior and so it turned out fine..

I think practice make perfect is true especially when baking your loaf of fresh bread. Almost like Appam. Brioche does not need as much flour as regular bread. There is an interesting story about this in Wikipedia. Scroll towards the end of the page. Poor executed Queen Mary Antoinette is always attributed the heartless quip : "let them eat cake" when she was told that the people do not have enough bread to eat. It turns out the mindful lady said "let them eat brioche'.  It takes less flour of course! Unfortunately having no equivalent for brioche the word got turned into cake and look how it changes one's perception of this historic figure…...So here is the recipe which I hope the original site and recipe author will be OK with to reprint here. Slight convenience adjustments as always are present.

In The Mix
all purpose flour - 1 and 2/3 cup
active dry yeast - 3 1/4 tsp
granulated sugar - 3 tbsp
salt - 1/4 tsp
warm milk - 1/3 cup
softened, unsalted butter - 2 3/4 (keep at room temp a few hours earlier to soften)
eggs - 2 beaten

to coat the risen dough
granulated sugar - 1 tbsp or less
egg - 1 beaten

How To Do 

Mix the flour, yeast, 3 tbsp sugar and salt in a bowl. Gradually add in warm milk, butter and the 2 beaten eggs. Knead until the dough is smooth. This is where I am not sure if I did all that was needed. Read kneading disclaimer above..The dough did pull away from the sides after a while and so I hope that was right. The dough felt very flexible. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise. You can go to the Library or finish reading that book while waiting. About 2 hours later or until the dough doubles its size is when the next step starts. Having had no prior experience, I am not sure if my dough got as smooth as it should be. Here is a picture of the risen dough in the bowl.

Grease a 9"x5" pan with baking spray or shortening. I used baking spray due to lack of time but will use my trusty shortening to grease next time. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Coat a cutting board or the likes with flour and move the dough onto it. Punch it down a few times. I divided the dough into 2 equal sized balls instead of 3 to make it quick. Roll each ball into a 10 inch long rope and braid them together. This looked really good! Tuck the ends and place the braid in the greased pan. The dough can also be made into an oval instead of a braid. Looking at the eventual shape of my loaf I should have just done the oval! Cover the pan and let rise for an additional 1 hour. Should double in size again.

The next picture is of the risen dough after the second time. See how the braid lines are already blurring. Using 3 braids as suggested in the original recipe would have given me better definition..

So get the remaining beaten egg and sugar ready. Remove the cover and gently coat the dough with egg  and sprinkle with some sugar. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake an additional 25 minutes or until brioche is golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes in pan and move to a cooling rack. Mine didn't stay much on the rack and was halfway finished in no time. The smell of course is wonderful. The feeling even more so! I have good mind to try the regular bread too but I am fascinated by the varieties of french bread for the time being....