As I mentioned in my last post, brioche is one of my favorite viennoiseries*. It is a slightly sweet buttery egg-y magnificently textured baked good and can be found at any bakery in France. I love to buy them in mini-loaves, as little brioches au sucre. They make for a wonderful afternoon snack and it is so fun to eat them bit by bit, pulling slightly at the crust and watching the long strands of dough come out.
The brioche gets its texture from a long work-out, either manual (as demonstrated in this video) or from a heavy duty stand mixer. My first attempt at making brioche was passable but not great; the texture was fairly good but the brioche tasted flat and somewhat bland**. This was my very first time using dry active yeast though, so I still considered it a good effort.
For my second attempt, I wanted to try something more complex. So I turned to Baking with Julia which I had just purchased (before knowing about TWD). Brioche is one of the ten recipes that form the building blocks of the book as mastering these first few recipes gives you the foundation to tackle the more challenging ones in the rest of the volume. I followed the recipe to the letter and came out with the wonderful loaf pictured above. It was all I could hope for, slightly sweet, a deep flavor of eggs and butter, and a soft chewy strandy texture. Success!
* A viennoiserie is a baked good made with a yeast-leavened dough or puff pastry and often contains eggs, butter, and milk/cream. In the US, the most well-known viennoiserie is probably the croissant.
** I used the recipe from La Tartine Gourmande which I linked to in my previous post. I believe that the recipe would have benefited from a tad more sugar and a longer mixing period (I probably rushed through it a bit). I typically really like the recipes from her blog, so I will have to give it another try now that I am more familiar with brioche making technique.