brioche-ing the subject, pt.1.

brioche loaf

practice: it may not make perfect (yet), but darned if it doesn't make a better brioche than before. that, and a recipe that works for you. for me, it took three months, a dozen+ recipes, more dozens of unborn chickens and blocks o' butter later to find that this, this, this, and this recipe for the egg and butter-enriched dough equalled nope, nope, nope, and nope.

why the problem? i suspect a number of things: my stubborn desire to hand knead everything, not kneading enough, kneading too much, warm hands, warm and humid working conditions, butter that's pretty good, but with a water content that's probably not ideal for brioche. life getting in the way. you know. after spending a small fortune on ingredients, though, it inspires you to do better for your buck.

after a spectacularly failing performance with a gordon ramsay recipe and equally unspectacular jamie oliver one (i think it was an oliver. maybe.), i found a bit of goodness with a peter reinhart recipe from (yeah, you know it) "the bread baker's apprentice: mastering the art of extraordinary bread." it's that book with the asian woman on the cover? who's not actually the apprentice in question? that one. also, i acquiesced and broke out the stand mixer, and decided to only work on the dough in the cool of night. reinhard's recipe for "the rich man's brioche" didn't work for me no matter what the weather, maybe because of the high fat content. however, the "middle class" recipe with less butter and eggs did. it made a nicely crumbed, moist, buttery loaf that would have been fine sliced up on its own, but the reason why i wanted to work on brioche was because of all the tasty things one can do with it.

marmalade french toast

one of the first things i knew i had to try was umami's beautifully golden marmalade french toast, flavoured with vanilla bean and a healthy glug of orange-flavoured liqueur. very simple to make, albeit with an agonizing overnight refrigeration that makes it all the more tasty, and all the more tempting.

smoked salmon sandwich

i also made some lovely rolls for sandwiches, glazed with egg and sprinkled with just a tiny bit of kosher salt. smoked salmon, fresh mozzarella, red onion and arugula make a fine combination on the sweet and tender bread. great for a meal on the go. however, if you have the time to stay in, i more than recommend this decadent version of mushrooms on toast: a toasted brioche roll topped with poached eggs and a buttery melange of a variety of mushrooms sautéed in half butter, half olive oil, along with finely minced garlic and fresh thyme, then finished with a drop of heavy cream and a splash of cognac, some sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

mushroom brioche 1

of course, the possibilities are endless. just like this post seems to be, so i'll end it here and continue shortly....


Gosh, it all looks so good and apparently there's more to come - yay! I've never made brioche, though I think I've had some at some point because I think I have a sense of what it's like... or maybe that's just from pictures.

I know you must have been tired after all those adventures with brioche, but I must say that all the effort paid off beautifully! :)

yum, brioche! i love the brioche rolls. im not a baker but a few things do tempt me, including brioche rolls.

cathy, if you recognized it, then it must have been successful :) huzzah!

hello patricia! i definitely had to take a break in between batches. this is highly addictive and highly caloric stuff! i couldn't bring myself to throw away the efforts that weren't horrible (and some were really horrible), so i had a freezer full of brioche rejects...i think bread pudding and stuffing might be in the works.

hi susan, you have a stand mixer or a bread machine, right? definitely helpful with this dough. i think you'd do fine.

i've seen brioche. i've tasted brioche. but i still wonder what is the perfect brioche....? make me one!!!!! ;)

The bread looks so pretty. Is brioche similar to what we call Portuguese sweet bread in Hawaii?

tommy, i don't know what a perfect one is, but i know this one isn't!

acornbud, it's similar, but not as sweet and it's much buttery-er. butterier. butterful. more buttery!

As for me, I have no success in making brioche yet. The last time I made one, it was a disaster. But yours look pretty good though. In fact it looked super good with all the things you've made out of it :)

anne, i don't do well with recipes that have a high butter percentage (i think the rich man's brioche recipe in the reinhart book is 50%). probably because of the humidity and heat in the tropics. try a recipe with a lower butter percentage (but not too low!) and i personally prefer recipes that have more eggs in them, just because i want to have the richest dough possible.

oh wow, these all look so delicious. i've always wanted to make brioche, but too many recipes made it sound so difficult.

i made the mistake of trying a "lower fat" brioche because i couldn't face the millon eggs and 12 million pounds of butter in a real verison...but obviously it's the eggs and butter that make it...um...good.

i think i will try again. with eggs and butter this time. (but the challah recipe from joy of cooking has a surprisingly similar texture to a brioche but no butter and it's very, very nice.)

deborah, i personally find it difficult, but i think i deliberately pick difficult recipes. there are definitely workable recipes out there, but with less eggs and butter than what i'm looking for. still, i'm sure they make a decent product.

ren, you are totally right about the eggs and butter thing. *sigh* must seek out the challah recipe, thanks for the tip!

oh those muchrooms look DIVINE! so glad i happened on your blog. i'll be back for sure! your food looks delectable, and so inspiring!!

hello treasuring! thanks for coming by and taking the time to leave a comment. i hope to see you here again!

yumyum, i need to stop by here more often... beautiful pix!! i'm very hungry