Friday, January 6, 2012

FFWD Bubble-Top Brioche

I love baking bread.  I've been making it for almost five years now, and it never fails to amaze me when it actually works.  Maybe it's because there were so many times, especially early on, when I messed something up and my bread failed to rise, but it makes me happy every time when I see my dough start to rise.  This was a perfect recipe.  I loved Dorie's very detailed instructions.  This recipe also made me very grateful that I own a stand mixer.  The dough was incredibly sticky - I can't even imagine having to beat this one by hand.

I prepared the dough the night before while I was cooking my New Year's Eve dinner. The first thing I did when I woke up on New Year's Day was shape the dough for the second rise.  Years ago, I was watching the Food Network and Ina Garten was baking cookies.  She stood there with her kitchen scale and measured out exactly one ounce of dough for each one, so they'd be perfect.  I thought she was absolutely nuts, and couldn't understand how anyone could be that exacting....Well, when I found myself weighing out each 3/4 ounce ball of dough and carefully placing them - pretty sides up - in my muffin tins, I knew I had finally lost my mind!  It was worth it, though, I was very happy with how nicely the rolls came out.

This definitely required coffee
While the rolls were rising, I started on breakfast.  I've been wanting to make Ina's blintzes for a while now - blueberry blintzes are one of my all-time favorite foods - but kept deciding they were too unhealthy.  So, I decided they'd be our special treat for New Year's brunch (my diet always starts tomorrow!), before I was planning on making brioche.  Blintzes and brioche together were a bit starchy, but they both tasted great.

Blintzes with blueberry sauce

After we finished our blintzes, the brioche were finally ready.  It was hard waiting the five minutes Dorie recommends before diving in, but we were glad we waited.  They were excellent.  They were definitely denser than a croissant, but fresh I thought they had a similar flavor.  It must be all of that butter.  I can't remember ever having fresh brioche before (I think I've only had it in french toast and bread pudding) so I have nothing to compare these to, but I thought they were excellent.

These have to be eaten soon after coming out of the oven, though.  We tried one after dinner the same night, and it had really lost its texture.  I'm saving the rest of the left-overs for bread pudding.

Today, we have some good friends coming over.  They're interested in learning how to make bread, so we're going to bake together.  I chose a recipe which called for buttermilk, but then realized we were almost out.  I was going to make buttermilk the way I usually do (adding lemon juice to milk), but the instructions to shake heavy cream in a jar until it separates into butter and buttermilk caught my eye.  I've always been curious about this and we had some extra heavy cream, so I decided to give it a try.  I asked Paul to take turns shaking with me but he just laughed, saying it would never work.  I persevered and after five minutes I had thick whipping cream.  I kept going - for what felt like forever but what was only about eight more minutes - and it actually worked!  I'm not sure why I'm so amazed by this, I know people have been doing this for centuries, but it was just so cool.  And the butter tastes great.  I wish I had known about this earlier, I would have made some to spread on my brioche.

Buttermilk separated from butter


  1. Wow, that's pretty cool. What I always wonder is, who the heck came up with this stuff the first time? I mean, who was patient enough to beat the brioche dough by hand for over 30 minutes to see what it would do? And who first decided to shake heavy cream in a jar for almost 20 minutes to see what it would do?

    Anyway, your brioche look perfect and that blintze looks darn tasty, perfect way to ring in the new year.

  2. I love the buttermilk experiment! COOL! I agree that the brioche wasn't so great after it cooled off, but hot out of the oven it was sooo good. Your homemade butter would have been great on one. Mmm!

  3. I think you're on to something here! I love that you've gone a little nuts measuring your dough balls, just like a professional pastry chef!
    Congratulations on your brioche rolls, they look professional and I'm sure tasted very very buttery and good;-)

  4. Everything looks fantastic. That was a wonderful breakfast to start the New Year.
    Tricia and I both thought the rolls were delicious, and I like the idea of using
    the leftovers for bread pudding.
    Great photos.

  5. Your rolls look delicious. So golden and buttery!

  6. Fun experiment with the buttermilk.
    I totally weighed out all my dough. It's the only way I stand a chance at having similar sized portions.

  7. Wow! Now I want to shake a heavy cream container until it churns out the butter.

    I still feel like a beginner when it comes to baking breads with yeast, but this recipe turned out so great, I'm feeling more confident. Your friends are lucky, nonetheless!

  8. Thanks for the tip on making butter. I'm going to have to try that. And your brioche rolls look like a lovely treat. Bread pudding sounds good too. Too bad I finished up all my rolls ;)

  9. That looks like a really spectacular New Years Day Celebration - the blueberry blintzes are gorgeous. How fun to teach your friends to make bread. Happy New Year!

  10. Oh my- blintzes (or any Ina food !!) and these brioche ?? yes, please ! We are so on the same page- I too was thanking the heavens for my stand mixer. Have not given it that solid of a workout in a long time and could not imagine making this recipe without one. Also had to chuckle because between us having the same granite counters, the requisite box of Clementines and the cup of joe...I could be looking at my kitchen here !!

    1. This cracked me up! I think our counters are popular, I feel like I see them all over the place :-)