Uh-Uh-Uh! Au Francais!

5 03 2009
Oui! (That is almost all the French I know.)

Oui! (That is almost all the French I know.)

I apologize for my long absence. I had the plague. Well, not the bubonic plague. The plague of strep throat. I never get sick. Haven’t been to the doctor’s since the Clinton administration (outside of baby/vagina related stuff – keep up on your hoo-ha check-ups, ladies!). EIGHT YEARS is how long it had been. I went a little nuts in my house and decided to become a Francophile (and thereby also becoming even more of a disappointment to my father). How did I go about this arduous task? I baked brioche! I’d never done anything yeast-related before (please hold all yeast infection jokes until the end of the post please and thank you) and decided that while I was delirious with the ill, it was as good a time as any. Right? Right. Basically, brioche is like a croissant, but in loaf form. I got it from the Dorie Greenspan Baking: From My Home to Yours book which I for for Xmas and hadn’t used yet so I was OHMYGODEXCITED, except I was sick as shit. But that did not change that this shit was delicious and made for fucking bad-ass French toast, which totes got the Big Easy Seal of Approval. Unfortch, I didn’t remember to take a photo. So instead, there’s a picture of a Frenchman. See his kicky beret and moustache? True signs of a Frenchie. Oh, one more thing – the dough needs to set in the fridge overnight, so this is a little bit of a 2-day project. But it’s pretty easy. Even a yeast virgin like me [snicker] didn’t fuck it up too bad. Now go forth and bake, dummies!

Brioche (makes 2 loaves – do NOT halve the recipe though. Dorie says.)

  • 2 packets active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch water
  • 1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch milk
  • 3 3/4 cups AP flour
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 3 large eggs, room temp.
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp, but still slightly firm

Glaze (I didn’t make this because I’m lazy)

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbl. water
  1. Put yeast, water, and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer (you kinda need one for this) and, using a wooden spoon, stir until yeast is dissolved.
  2. Add flour and salt, then fit mixer with a dough hook. Toss a kitchen towel over the mixer to avoid spraying flour everywhere and moisten the flour by pulsing the mixer a few times.
  3. Remove the towel, increase mixer speed to medium-low, and mix for a minute or 2. Dough should look dry and shaggy.
  4. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula, set mixer to low, and add the eggs, and then the sugar. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat for 3 minutes, until dough forms a ball.
  5. Reduce speed to low and add butter in about 2 Tbl.-sized chunks, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding the next. Dough will be very soft, like a batter.
  6. Increase speed to medium-high and beat til dough pulls away from sides of bowl, about 10 minutes.
  7. Transfer dough to clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave out at room temp. until nearly doubled in size, 40 min.- 2 hours, depending on your kitchen temp. (Mine was apparently freezing and it took fucking FOREVER.)
  8. Deflate dough by lifting up the sides and slapping it down into the bowl. Re-cover bowl with plastic wrap and put in the fridge, continuing to deflate the dough every 30 minutes for about 2 hours. Then leave it, covered (duh), in the fridge overnight.
  9. The next day, butter and flour up some 9×5 loaf pans (I just used cooking spray with flour in it because I am a lazy bum). Divide dough into 2 equal pieces, and divide those pieces into 4 equal log-shaped pieces, about 3 1/2″ long. Place 4 pieces into each loaf pan, horizontally (so the logs fit snugly into the pan). Put the loaf pans on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper, cover with wax paper, and let rise again until the dough fills the pans, 1-2 hours.
  10. Heat oven to 400. Make the glaze, if you are so inclined, by mixing the egg and the water and brushing it on to the loaves. Bake the loaves for 30-35 minutes, until they’re golden brown and make you want to hug your house.
  11. Transfer pans to racks to cool for 15 minutes, then remove loaves to cool for an hour. Pat self on back for bakin’ all fancy like. Start speaking French and watch Amelie a lot. KIDDING. Just enjoy the goddamn break. It’s mad good, yo!
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