If you've dreamed of a luxuriant fluffy bread, brioche is for you. Many moons ago, I read pastrygirl's description of brioche and fell headlong in love:
My quest led me to The Little Bakery . They have an absolutely delicious brioche loaf for $ 4.50. Highly reccommended. My only grouse was that it was a tad too rich (I know, I know, its brioche! What was I thinking!) I couldn't help wondering what middle class brioche made with whole wheat strong flour would be like... No, no, I'm not an elitist! Peter Reinhart provides three different versions of brioche based on the flour:butter ratio. The three versions are: Rich Man's brioche (80% butter!!!), Middle Class (50%), Poor man's brioche (20%).
Needless to say, I modified the recipe to 30% butter and created whole new social class (insert grand flourish here) - this is the brioche that lives well, within her means and is diligent about her IRA and FSA. Meticuous, responsible and discerning. (Grin)
Heres what I did:
Original recipe featured in Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice
1. Halved the recipe.
2. Used bread flour to make the sponge.
3. Used whole wheat bread flour from Lori's for the dough.
4. The proofing times and all other kneading instructions worked perfectly.
5. Skipped the egg wash. (just plain laziness)
The crust was lovely - shiny and golden. The texture was that wonderful mix of fluffy, fragrant, pull-apart goodness - rich and light, meltingly tender and yet with the slightest chewiness. I love this loaf! Its so delightfully pleasing, so relaxed and easy-going. Blissfully belying all the sweat and stress that went into its creation!
Next time, I'd like to try adding an egg to the dough to see how the texture changes. I confess, I may have overbaked my loaf by a couple minutes. The bottom corner looks pretty brown, the tops and sides were good though. So next time, I will cut the baking time to 28 minutes and see what happens.
The best brioche writing (and pictures):
1. La Cerise explains brioche with many many versions.
2. PastryGirl adapts an Alice Medrich briche recipe with a muscovado sugar filling!
3. The most entertaining brioche recipe ever comes from the Traveler's Lunchbox. The Seven Steps include instructions to successfully muscle your way through Ebay, the power of prayer and other gems, such as an outstanding recipe, adapted from versions by Sherry Yard and Dorie Greenspan.
4. If you'd rather make individual brioches, here is a lovely droolworthy recipe for Apple Cinnamon Brioche by Bron of BronMarshall.com
This semi-healthy (read "whole grain, lower fat") version of brioche goes to Equal Opportunity Kitchen for Tried, Tested and Tasted - 2 !