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When brioche goes bad

April 2, 2010
tags: ,

Golden Brioche

Well, it’s that time of month again. The time of month when Ingrid, Monica, and I whip up something together in the kitchen.  This month was Ingrid’s pick and she chose brioche.  Buttery, beautiful brioche.  My friends patiently waited for me to get over some rotten virus and get back into the kitchen, and I barely made it in under the wire.  But here we are and I managed to produce this brioche.  I braided one loaf, which I thought was just charming.  And with the remaining dough I made a few petit brioche en tête’ (translation: brioche with a head).  Perfectly lovely.  Hmm.  We shall see.

I can’t say I’ve ever entertained the thought of baking brioche, but with my successes in the yeast department, I was up for the challenge.  Or was I?  Let me present the following evidence.

Exhibit A:

Grrrr.  I get so annoyed when I spend a lot of time baking something and it ends in disaster.  That pretty much sums up this baking project.  The brioche recipe takes 2 days to put together and, in the last 30 minutes, it all went to heck in a handbag.  {Sidenote:  You know what’s funny?  If I bake something that is incredibly delicious, I swear like a sailor, but when something is a wreck, the best I can come up with is going “to heck in a handbag.”  Huh.}

In trying to get to the bottom of this fiasco, I’ve come to a couple conclusions.  First, it wasn’t warm in my kitchen today and I think it messed with the rise of the bread.  And second, I should have baked the bread with a sheet pan underneath the loaf pan/biscuit pan to help insulate them a little, which would probably have prevented the bottom burning. But there’s no looking back.  Water under the bridge and all that.

Would I try this again?  Not likely.  There are so many other breads to bake.  I think I’ll just kick this one to the side of the road and move on.  One last confession though.  This brioche was very tasty, despite its gnarly appearance.  We thought the perfectly baked parts were delicious.  If you’d like to see some brioche success stories, please visit Ingrid and Monica.  They both baked up some gorgeous golden brioche.  If they don’t boot me from our little baking trio out of sheer embarrassment, we’ll be back again soon with our next baking venture.

Recipe:  Golden Brioche

(found at

1/3 c. warm water  (105-115 degrees F)

1/3 c. warm milk  (105-115 degrees F)

2 envelopes dry yeast

3 3/4 c. all-purpose flour

2 tsp. salt

3 large eggs

1/4 c. sugar

3 sticks unsalted butter, each cut into 4 pieces, room temperature

1 egg, beaten, mixed with 1 tbsp. water for glaze

Place 1/3 cup warm water, warm milk, and yeast in bowl of standing heavy-duty mixer; stir until yeast dissolves. Fit mixer with dough hook. Add flour and salt to bowl; mix on low speed just until flour is moistened, about 10 seconds. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl. Beat in 3 eggs on low speed, then add sugar. Increase speed to medium and beat until dough comes together, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding next (dough will be soft and batter-like). Increase speed to medium-high and beat until dough pulls away from sides of bowl, about 7 minutes.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature until almost doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Lift up dough around edges and allow dough to fall and deflate in bowl. Cover bowl with plastic and chill until dough stops rising, lifting up dough around edges and allowing dough to fall and deflate in bowl every 30 minutes, about 2 hours total. Cover bowl with plastic; chill dough overnight.

Butter and flour three 7 1/2×3 1/2×2-inch loaf pans. Divide dough into 3 equal pieces. Cut each dough piece into 4 equal pieces. Roll each into 3 1/2-inch-long log, forming 12 logs total. Arrange 4 logs crosswise in bottom of each prepared loaf pan.  **(I braided mine instead.)** Place loaf pans on baking sheet. Cover pans with waxed paper. Let loaves rise at room temperature until dough almost fills pans, about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Gently brush top of loaves with egg glaze. Bake until loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped, about 30 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes. Turn loaves out onto racks; cool at least 1 hour. (Can be made ahead. Cool completely. Wrap loaves in foil; place in resealable plastic bags and store at room temperature 1 day or freeze up to 1 month. Rewarm room-temperature or thawed loaves wrapped in foil in 350°F oven about 15 minutes, if desired.)

9 Comments leave one →
  1. mamajulie permalink
    April 2, 2010 2:28 am

    Thank you for sharing your failure as well as your successes; it makes you more believable. Everyone has failures in the kitchen, especially with baking. That sinking feeling of pulling something out of the oven, expecting beauty, and finding it awful….

  2. April 2, 2010 3:23 am

    Oh, man! That first photo’s wonderful! Kudos on doing such a phen braid job. I thought about it briefly and then tossed it as it seemed too difficult!

    Nah, you’re a Bola de Queso for life! LOL!!!

  3. April 2, 2010 3:27 am

    Michelle, we’re cheeseball baking! LOL :)

    Hope you have a wonderful Easter with your family and good luck on the pineapple throwdown.

  4. April 2, 2010 6:18 am

    Your braided bread looks wonderful Michelle. I would have just cut the bottom off and called it a day. Not a total failure and no you’re not kicked out. And I’m the boss so what I say goes. ha ha!

  5. April 2, 2010 9:14 am

    hey, at least you tried. and at least it didn’t drive you to drink or swear. :)

  6. April 2, 2010 10:12 am

    Oh, that’s too bad about the burnt bread. The braid at the top looks beautiful!!!

  7. April 2, 2010 11:16 am

    Hey, we can’t win the kitchen every time, can we? But WOW, that would be frustrating to spend so much time on something and then have it burn. Bummer, dude.

  8. Simone permalink
    April 2, 2010 11:32 pm

    O dear!!! :) the final result does look delicious though despite the eh… Not so brilliant first results… Lol… I’ve never really tried brioche myself so I can’t really comment on the making part but it does look good!

  9. April 3, 2010 4:06 am

    Oh no! It certainly looked lovely on top! I get so upset when I spend a lot of time trying to make something and it doesn’t turn out the way I wanted. It definitely brings out the bratty child in me! Oh well, as you say–kick it to the side of the road and move on.

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