…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.