making….and then breaking, bread

So I got a wild hair up my bum to make bread. Well actually, I was a trying out an item from the menu I’m toying with and thought I’d make the bread, too. So I opted for brioche. What I found was a recipe for light brioche. I didn’t realize until after I was waiting for proof round 2 that “light” brioche is sometimes referred to as “poor man’s brioche,” as it does not contain as much butter as regular brioche.

I also learned (I don’t know why I didn’t do all this research before I started baking) that brioche is considered an “enriched” bread – meaning that it has added fats like butter and eggs. Next time I’ll try to make a “middle-class” brioche! I’ll have to start saving up apparently šŸ˜‰

This recipe came out very well though, and I’ve never made bread before. I wasn’t sure if I kneaded it correctly, but whatever I did worked! Again, AFTER I did the kneading, I checked out some videos on youtube for kneading brioche dough specifically. I’m a bit glad I didn’t see that sooner, because the true french way to knead brioche bread gets very messy – particularly when making regular brioche with the required amount of butter. So just check out how to knead regular dough for this particular recipe. Then when you’re ready to make upper crust brioche, you can use the other methods.

My gaybor’s parents had just come in town, and since they’re two really cute old people, I decided to take some bread next door. They were so happy with it. And if I remember correctly, the father used to be a baker. He said it was excellent. He also ate an entire bun of it with butter and jam. I take his former action to speak louder than his words šŸ™‚

Please do not be intimidated by making bread. Just make the bread. Make the bread. You can do it!


Light Brioche Bread (Adapted from Comme Ƈa restaurant in Los Angeles, via the New York Times)

Makes 8 4 to 5-inch burger buns

3 tablespoons warm milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Sesame seeds (optional)

1. In a glass measuring cup, combine one cup warm water, the milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about five minutes. Meanwhile, beat one egg.

2. In a large bowl, whisk flours with salt. Add butter and rub into flour between your fingers, making crumbs. Using a dough scraper, stir in yeast mixture and beaten egg until a dough forms. Scrape dough onto clean, well-floured counter and knead, scooping dough up, slapping it on counter and turning it, until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. The dough will be on the sticky side so it can be a bit messy, but keep in mind that the more flour you knead in, the tougher the buns will get. Try to leave them tackier than you would a round loaf.

3. Shape dough into a ball and return it to bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, one to two hours. (It was a bit cool in my kitchen that day, so it took a good 2 hours for me.)

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using dough scraper, divide dough into 8 equal parts. Gently roll each into a ball and arrange two to three inches apart on baking sheet. Cover loosely with a piece of plastic wrap lightly coated in nonstick spray and let buns rise in a warm place for one to two hours. (Again, this took a good two hours for me because our kitchen was cool.)

4.5 I actually made hot dog buns because I was cooking sausages. I made long pieces (about 6-8 inches) of dough, and, because I didn’t have much room, only left them about an inch of space in between. They eventually grew together in the oven, but I was able to pull them apart easily, kind of like how hot dog buns from the store come. It worked out perfectly.

5. Set a large shallow pan of water on oven floor. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in center. Beat remaining egg with one tablespoon water and brush some on top of buns. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using. Bake, turning sheet halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

As usual…I forgot to take pictures. WHY?! I don’t know. Because I like to shoot myself in the foot. But I will DEFINITELY take pictures of the middle class and then upper crust versions that I make. Promise!


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