The Challenge Bread
This week, we're making Brioche: Rich Man's Style!
A Little History
Brioche is an Enriched French Bread. The high butter/fat content gives it a dark crust, and a flaky, crumb.
Not too much goes into brioche...well besides a ton of butter, and a handful of eggs.
- The Sponge:
- Bread Flour
- Milk, Lukewarm ( I used 2%)
- The Dough:
- Eggs, slightly beaten
- Bread Flour
- unsalted butter, at room temperature, and a metric tonne of it.
Corn/Dairy Free changes
Well, I think it might be obvious what I replaced here. I replaced the sugar with Splenda. I used Plain Silk (like I used in the Artos) for the milk replacement and Willow Run Margarine for the butter substitute. Willow Run isn't the best (health wise) but let's be honest: there's no way to make a "healthy" brioche that doesn't taste like cardboard.
Also, I don't plan eating this everyday.
Mixing this dough was interesting. I first made the sponge, then added the eggs to it until it was smooth. In a separate bowl, I combined all the dry ingredients, save the Butter. I then added the dry in, until they were well incorporated. This made the dough very dense and almost bagel-esque. The real fun began when I added the butter.
I took it a quarter stick at a time, and attempted to fully incorporate it. I didn't want pockets of Butter melting off while baking. It took quite a while to get all the butter mixed in. Near the end, the dough became very wet and sticky. I think I should have broken the butter down into smaller pieces, perhaps 1/8 of a stick at a time. I added more flour, a tablespoon at time until I had a nice soft, smooth dough.
I then took the dough and spread it out on a piece of parchment paper in a baking sheet. I left the pan in the fridge overnight, covering the pans with plastic wrap.
The next morning, I began to shape my loaves. With the dough still cold, I cut the dough into small pieces, about 4-6 ounces each. I formed them into balls, and placed them in grease loaf pans. Each dough made about 3 loaves. I cover the pans with plastic and let them proof for about 3 and a half hours. I then basted them with an egg wash and let them proof for another 45 minutes, until they were about twice their original size.
I preheated the oven to 350 degrees. I baked the loaves for about 45 minutes, until the internal temperature of the loaves reached 190 degrees. The crust also turned a nice golden brown. I immediately removed them from their pans and let them cool for at least an hour before putting them in plastic bags for storage.
Results and My Final Thoughts/Notes
How could any recipe that calls for a pound of butter NOT taste good? Both the Regular and the DF/CF loaf were flaky, buttery, delicious pieces of heaven. I found it very hard to differentiate between the two...which is hard when you're trying to avoid poisoning your wife who is allergic to milk!
As I mentioned in the mixing, I think I should have broken the butter down into smaller pieces. I don't think it incorporated as well as should have.
I used a glass pan for one of the loaves. I need to remember to either grease more, or flour a bit.
Next week, I'll be tackling Challah, a bread I have been anxious to try!
So what do you think? Sound good? Do you have any butter/milk replacements that I should try?