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.