After a week-long vacation that went by way too fast, I got back into the baking groove this weekend with my third* bread of the Bread Baker’s Apprentice challenge, buttery rich brioche. The book offers three variations, the rich man’s, middle class and poor man’s, the main difference being the butter content. I opted for a middle-of-the-road approach and was pleased to find my resulting bread plenty rich; I imagine the rich man’s version must truly taste like pastry! I was also surprised at how easy it was to make something I’ve only ever had from a bakery. In fact, the husband declared these just as good as the ones we get at our favorite bakery, so I’d consider that another success. Last night we topped them with my sister-in-law’s fabulous strawberry-rhubarb jam, which was a fantastic treat (and homemade touch to our take-out chicken dinner).
Here’s my step-by-step photo montage … mixing in the butter was the hardest part, as the dough was quite sticky and even though my butter had softened on the counter for more than an hour, I kneaded the dough slightly by hand after removing it from the mixer to smooth a few remaining lumps. I used organic butter and my free-range, farmers market eggs, which added to the sunny yellow color of the bread.
I didn’t buy special brioche pans and just used a muffin pan, which was a little small for my larger rolls. I also regretted not taking out my scale to weight the portions as I divided it, because as you can see, I had a few that were significantly larger than the others. Next time…
* for those keeping track, I haven’t gotten to the bagels of week 3 yet but didn’t want to fall further behind. I’ll get back to them one of these days. And I’m sharing this with Real Food Wednesday, hosted by Kelly the Kitchen Kop.