Thursday, October 24, 2013

where bread illustrates mathematical error

When I last left you, I had two loaves worth of brioche dough left in the refrigerator. What is a girl to do?   Clearly the only option was to make up two more loaves!

Naturally, I had to pull out a single loaf of brioche.  A test, if you will.  The baseline. So I know what it tastes like without any fancy adornments. So two pounds of dough was removed, shaped, and dropped into a prepared pan for the rise.

This left me with a pound and a half of dough.  Quite the nice deal, this recipe.  It makes up enough for two fancy loaves of a pound and a half each and a two pound loaf of plain.  I had already made up the pumpkin loaf and wanted something a little more interesting.  Quickly flipping through the original Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day turned up Chocolate Prune Bread.  Fantabulous!

So again, I dusted and pulled out my remaining pound and a half of dough and rolled it out to a half inch thick rectangle.  This is thicker than the Pumpkin Swirl Bread but there will be a lot more solid goods to be held by this rectangle!

1/2 inch thick brioche dough piled with 6 oz of bittersweet chocolate and 3/4 cup of chopped prunes
The directions were pretty clear at this point.  I was to roll the dough...

all rolled up and seam sealed

and then begin folding it up, turning between folds, and using the heel of my hand to press down.  Bits and pieces were to come out potentially and this was not to worry me.  It was all in the name of filling distribution.  Here, dear reader, is where geometry failed me.  I folded a few times.

see?  folded. And I even turned to get to this point

And I pressed a bit as well.  With my hand.  

and you can see where bits have made an appearance as it sits there in its greased and sugared pan, rising for 90 minutes under a loosely placed (and sprayed with canola oil) sheet of plastic wrap
Alas, there was not nearly enough turning.  And I can, in retrospect, see exactly how I created this tube of un-chunk-filled brioche running down the center of the loaf!

Picture the tube without the prune anomaly there in the middle.  All the goods were evenly distributed directly under the crust. 
But as you can see, I did not care!  It is one of the most delicious loaves I have ever had, much less created myself!  I will definitely be making this again, with ::ahem:: more folding and heel of hand pressing.  Anyway, 350F oven, for 40-50 minutes, remove from pan, allow to cool before cutting.  Bon appetit!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

let them eat brioche!

That's what Marie Antoinette actually said.  Brioche, that egg-n-butter enriched bread that apparently mistranslates to cake somewhere crossing the Channel.

A post by those awesome bread bakers over at Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day hit my feed with a recipe I could not resist.  Pumpkin Swirl Bread.  So, friends, here goes.  What you are about to see is not pretty.  But it was darn near polished off by 4 people in 24 hours.  There is a bare heel left for me for tomorrow with my tea!

I started off with the Whole Wheat Brioche from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes A Day.  This required some forethought on my account because the enriched dough needs to be refrigerated for 2 hours minimum.  I went with overnight.  And while we are talking about my deviations, I also used two egg beater servings (1/4 cup each) in place of two of the eggs and canola oil instead of butter.  The dough seems none the worse for it.  At any rate, whatever brioche you use, you will need 1 1/2 lbs of it.
Filling!  1/2 cup pumpkin puree,  1/4 cup brown sugar, and 1 1/2  tsp pumpkin pie spice.

Take your pound and a half and roll it out to a rectangle, 1/4 inch thick.  Yes, I got a ruler.  Yes, that's as rectangular as I'm gonna get rolling out bread dough!
Spread filling and roll it up tight and pinch the seam to seal it up.  This is messy, folks.  You will be licking spiced and sugared pumpkin puree off your fingers when you are done (she says this like it's a bad thing!)
So far so good, right?  Here's where it all really starts to fall apart!

You know those cute photos of easy-to-make, pretty things on Pinterest?  Yeah.  Cut your jelly roll of brioche dough and pumpkin mess into ten equal pieces.  Somehow, this looks a lot less like their photo and a lot more like something that flew through the air and stuck to a Spock in Star Trek episode 29, Operation:  Annihilate!  ::ahem::
Nonetheless, I trudged on, placing six pieces facing outwards along the sides of the pan and the remaining four on top.  The hope was that they would rise to the challenge and glue themselves together.
After ninety minutes...
And after 50 minutes in a 350F oven!
So, while nowhere near as pretty as the nice people who make a living doing it, the Pumpkin Swirl Brioche was every bit as tasty as I hoped!  And its adorable, cinnamon roll meets bread pan look gives me ideas for other things!  And as for looks, I have this sneaking suspicion that somewhere between rolling the dough up and cutting it into ten parts, there was some refrigeration time to firm the whole thing back up.  I may try that on my own next time.

If you make this, please include photos in your comments!