This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe was Bubble-Top Brioche Rolls (recipe published here on Bon Appetit). If ever there was a week when I wish that we had had a Problems & Questions Post on FFwD, this was definitely the week. So many questions! First and foremost among them, was this recipe at all worth attempting without a (long wishes for but not yet acquired) standing mixer? I certainly had no intention
of mixing it for over 30 minutes by hand which, according to this delightful Bon Appetit article, is how Dorie originally learned to make Brioche. But, since this week’s recipe is the only one on the schedule for which I voted (I think I need to recruit more fish lovers) I decided to charge ahead anyway.

Brioche, I should mention, is one of my favorite breakfast items. Light and flaky, smeared with a little butter and strawberry jam… delicious! Paired with a creamy cappuccino… parfait! But however tasty it may be, I have until now relied on my local bakery to bake it for me.

First problem, how the heck to get the dough together without a standing mixer. After checking a few YouTube videos I decided to go with a mixed approach, starting with my handheld mixer, which I used just to get the dough going. I then switched to my food processor, which thankfully managed to get all the butter incorporated (though I am still cleaning dough out of nooks & crannies which I previously didn’t know existed), and finally, I finished off the dough by hand with 10 minutes of kneading. I can tell you that the entire time I was praying to the bread gods that all of this work would pay off.

Next the dough needs to rise, then rest, then rise again, all the typical bread making theatrics. At this point I was feeling a bit worn out and decided to make a brioche loaf instead of rolls, and freeze the remaining dough for later. And then finally into the oven, where it did not rise one little centimeter! Grr, did this happen to anyone else?

In the end my brioche was good, but not as good as fresh from the bakery. Brioche should be light and flaky, almost a croissant in bread form. Mine was a tad crusty around the edges and not nearly light enough. Oh well, as toast it was delicious and I even made Bostock, from Dorie’s Baking book, which is broiche toasted with almond cream and slivered almonds. Yum!

Now I am giving serious thought to what to do with my remaining broiche dough. Dorie lists so many tasty options in her Baking book and this Tarte au Sucre recipe looks fantastic too. Too many recipes and not enough leftover dough.

But after that, I will be leaving the brioche making to the professionals… at least until I buy a standing mixer.

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30 Responses to brioche

  1. sanyaliving says:

    You just made me realise how much I take my kitchen aid for granted! I am so impressed with what you did to make this brioche happen!
    The almond topping looks so delicious!

  2. Cher says:

    I am not sure how I would have whipped this out without my stand mixer. You get 2 gold stars this week! And almond cream – Mother of Pearl that sounds great.
    Those are interesting beater attachments on your hand mixer – I have never seen any like that. I think I like them better than the ones we typically see (where the dough always clumps inside of the “balloon” part).
    Have a great weekend!

    • Thanks Cher. Those are actually the dough attachments for my hand mixer, the normal attachments would have been absolutely useless with this dough.

  3. Eileen says:

    Whaaaaaat? I applaud you. I sincerely doubt I would have powered through this one without the heavy duty equipment. I like hand-kneading, but with all the butter and eggs, this one seems like it would be exceptionally temperamental and aggravating. Sorry it didn’t come out better or as good as what you can buy. Your Bostock looks beautiful, though. I wish I’d made the loaf, b/c it seems easier to work with to make 2nd day food out of–french toast, etc. These bubble tops are too small and oddly shaped for that.

  4. You could make cinnamon rolls with the leftover dough! Roll it out, sprinkle a smudge of extra butter and cinnamon sugar, roll it out, cut the rolls and let them rise.

  5. Candy says:

    I agree that we needed a P&Q and went looking for one myself! I love the almond crusted version. It looks delicious!

  6. WOW you did a GREAT job! I don’t think without my stand mixer I would have even attempted this. Good for you!!!!

  7. Elin says:

    You did a great job on the brioche loaf and with almond topping..mmmm must be yummy good ! Well done !

  8. marcella says:

    You win for making the dough without a stand mixer! I thought the final bread was a bit crusty/toasty too – maybe her oven is just cooler than ours? The almond cream version looks wonderful!

  9. Patty says:

    The broiche rolls are pretty but making the loaf was a wonderful idea and with the almond cream, I think it looks better than the rolls! Improvising can lead to some pretty tasty ideas!
    I will admit that the stand mixer for an avid baker is a good appliance to acquire, they are work horses in the kitchen. All that kneading is tiring on the arms and hands but probably very good exercise;-)

    • I know, I have wanted a standing mixer for years but two things are holding me back: (1) lack of counter space and (2) money. In Germany the darn things cost more than twice what they do in the US, and frankly they are not all that cheap in the US. Sigh, one day.

  10. I also did this with my hand mixer (I thought I was one of the many without a standmixer, but I was wrong). Looks great as a loaf though.
    Mine did rise in the oven. Before it went in, it was the same height as the muffinbowls, afterwards the bread was a few centimeter above it.

  11. Kathy says:

    You are very determined…I don’t think I would have participated this week without a stand mixer. The broiche took a lot of mixing time. However, yours looks wonderful and I really love the Bostock! I will have to give that a try. Almonds get me every time! Happy Friday!

  12. Cakelaw says:

    Yum – I have yet to try Bostock, but it is definitely on my to try list. I used a handheld mixer too as I am away from home. I think taste-wise that the Golden Brioche Loaves in Dorie’s baking book are better – might be worth giving those a go.

    • I noticed that her recipe for Brioche was actually different in the Baking book, the proportions were different and it had much more butter. Maybe that’s why it tastes better. One day, when I have a standing mixer, I’ll have to give that recipe a try.

  13. Marie says:

    Worth making for the bostock alone! But you’re right about leaving some things to the professionals–I’ve made my own croissants, and it’s a real feeling of accomplishment, but I’m perfectly happy to buy them from my wonderful local French bakery.

  14. Oooh, the almond cream version looks heavenly!

  15. Love the looks of the almond cream! I don’t think I would have attempted this without my Kitchen Aid! Hats off to you:)

  16. betsy says:

    You should win a prize this week. This recipe hardly seems possible with a stand mixer, though I’m sure brioche was invented before stand mixers. I love almond cream, and will have to try bostock as soon as I recover from the decadence this batch of rolls, eaten plain. I didn’t think to look in Dorie’s baking book for other ideas. Can’t wait for more inspiration.

  17. Tasty Mayhem says:

    (psst. I voted for all the fish recipes, esp the mussels.) kudos for tackling this without a standing mixer. And I love how it looks with the toasted Bostock.

  18. Elaine says:

    I think I would really like the Bostock. Kudos to you for making this without a stand mixer! I was thinking when I was making it how our mothers and grandmothers used to make bread – all kneading – no mixers.

    • Can you imagine? I was reading Dorie’s story about how she first made brioche, over 30 minutes of beating with a wooden spoon! I think I would have given up long before it was done.

  19. I know that I would have been too lazy to attempt this without a mixer … I was almost too lazy to attempt this with a mixer! I may have to try the almond cream, it looks wonderful.

  20. Liz says:

    Yikes, I never thought how difficult it would be to incorporate all that butter without a stand mixer! I’m amazed that you didn’t throw in the towel! Your toast with almond cream sounds fabulous~

  21. jora says:

    I am so impressed that you made this without a stand mixer, amazing! I can’t even imagine standing and beating that dough for 30 minutes. I agree, it’s amazing that somebody came up with the idea….I’ve never heard of Bostock, but that sounds excellent.

  22. I voted for the fish too! Maybe February will be our month! I love the idea of a questions page for FFWD – maybe someone will add that to the site, it would be really helpful. Also, I’m really impressed you did this without a mixer – that was definitely and act of love. I would have given up and gone to the store to get one, or sent my spouse after a few explitives from his mouth.

  23. Tricia S. says:

    Wow am I ever impressed. I used to complain about having to schlep out the heavy KitchenAid, which I bought 20 odd years ago right out of school and before getting married. This recipe literally made me appreciate it again big time and I applaud you for going forward without one. I have to say that at the one point where Dorie told us to let the mixer go for like 10 minutes….I was like “wha ??”…and then sat down to watch TV. That mixer sounded like even it was getting tired. I was happy with my results but perhaps did not know better because it was much more doughy and crusty than a croissant. But I adored the taste. I think your loaf looks just yummy. And I vote for the suggestions that say to make cinnamon bread 🙂

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