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Saturday, 31 May 2008

Best Brioche ever…


…says Melissa of Traveler’s Lunchbox. And I can’t tell you how right she is. When I saw her recipe for the first time – in August 2006 – I knew I had to make it some day. Due to its rather elaborate nature…well, let’s not make excuses. Fact is that this particular recipe sounded so promising that it would pop up in my memory every now and then, reminding me of “You need to make this”. And this can’t be said of all the recipes I’ve saved over the years.

I’ve always been in love with all sorts of yeast dough, especially when having it for breakfast with a thick smear of butter and creamy honey on top. Funny enough, until today I had never made a real brioche. However, a similarbreakfast treat always was kind of a by-product when churning out trays full of sweat yeast dough covered in fruit and streusel.

Only once per year we would eat something bakery-bought that’s similar to brioche – it’s called “Spitzl”, a regional specialty known only in the Upper Palatinate (of course, this is a severe case of "same same but different" as these kinds of sweet yeast bread exist allover Europe - but let's not digress). The sweet yeast bread I'm talking about is rich, soft, and speckled with raisins. It's traditionally a present from godfather or godmother to their respective godchild given on All Saints’ Day. Naturally, the one who got the longest braid (up to a meter or so) would have the coolest godmother or godfather of all.

Whilst I wouldn’t say that the taste of these braids surpassed the flavour of our home-made goods, they had one big advantage: Their texture was singularly beautiful – when pulling apart or biting into it, the bread would separate into long strands rather than small crumbs. For some reason that was unknown to me back then, I was never able to achieve this superior texture when baking at home.

Hence my enthusiasm when I saw Melissa's recipe claiming to have solved the mystery. I followed her instructions to the t which resulted in the most shiny, satiny, velvety smooth, and super-elastic yeast dough I’ve ever made. By the way, her technique of browning the butter with the specks of two vanilla beans filled the entire kitchen with such an enticing smell that I could hardly hold myself back - all I wanted was diving right into that perfumed butter, with a big spoon, that's how good it was.

Luckily, I managed not to do anything silly and, the next day, pulled two shiny, golden brown loaves out of the oven. Unfortunately, I did not have my camera with me and had to wait a day before taking pictures. As Melissa says, the brioche is best eaten on the day it is made, and the texture will change with time. That's why the photo above doesn't really show these sublime strands of dough anymore. But I swear they were there - just go and try for yourself!

PS: Although this brioche isn't my regular breakfast fare, I wish it was and that's why I submit it to Bread Baking Day #10 - a food blogging event invented by Zorra and this month hosted by BakingASweetLife.

14 comments:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

It looks marvelously fluffy and extremely delicious!

cheers,

Rosa

Nora B. said...

Hi Eva,
No wonder you haven't been out much while T is away, you've been cooking up some lovely treats such as this :-)

The smell of browning butter with vanilla pods does sound so alluring....

nora

Y said...

Looks like fabulous brioche. I've never made brioche with browned butter before, but can just imagine how amazing it would taste. I love the second picture by the way. The crust!!

Eva said...

Rosa, it was! I'm so happy that I've got the second loaf stashed away in the freezer!

Nora, it's true - baking did help..;-) With the second loaf in the freezer, you can come over any time for afternoon tea! I'm pretty sure that T isn't too keen on this kind of stuff (no chocolate, you know..;-)

Thank you, Y, I couldn't really decide which one I liked better (tried to mimick one of Melissa's photos first but that didn't quite work out).

Katie said...

Your brioche looks amazing and the top picture shows up the fine silky strandy of dough perfectly.

Patricia Scarpin said...

It looks so tender, Eva. I wish this were my breakfast everyday! ;)

Jude said...

That closeup shot of the crumb looks great.

Susan/Wild Yeast said...

I imagine that browned butter and vanilla bean would make the best brioche ever!

Mrs.French said...

Oh goodness, this looks wonderful.

psst...the shoes you looked at on my blog are from TOAST. Here is the link:
http://www.toast.co.uk/product2.aspx?categorypath=daywear/shoes&productid=FFF7U&categoryref=%2fcategory2.aspx%3fcategorypath%3ddaywear%2fshoes%26nopaging%3dtrue


Good luck!

Eva said...

Thanks Katie! I'm yet to find out how the texture has survived the freezer.

Me too, Patricia,...

Thank you, Jude!

Yes, Susan, afterwards I was wondering why this combination hasn't occurred to me ever before!

Thanks for stopping by to let me know, Mrs French! I wish I could afford these lovely shoes...

Cookie baker Lynn said...

What beautiful brioche! I was almost drooling reading your description of the vanilla bean in the browning butter. It sounds fabulous!

Eva said...

Thank you, Lynn! Lately, I've been very lazy and only made easy-to-do breads but this exception was really worth it!

Shaun said...

Eva ~ What an exquisite brioche! I love the taut crust and specks of vanilla bean. I decided on making challah as my first bread to master but can see only a few adjustments are needed in order to make brioche - you have inspired me. What a treat!

Eva said...

Thank you, Shaun! I definitely need to take the second loaf out of the freezer soonish - haven't had any brioche for a while...