I was going to make brioche for my last dinner party, but it ended up not rising in time, so I used a store-bought loaf instead. I think the blame for the bread's failure should be divided 80/20. 80% to Thomas Keller for including a recipe that didn't work as expected, and 20% to Carol from French Laundry At Home for not having already made this and warned me. I, on the other hand, am obviously blameless.
Instead of the entire rising time being around 18 hours, it was around 42 hours before it finally rose to the point that FLC said it would. Even when I finally baked it, I still didn't think it was really ready, but it had pretty much quit rising by then. I may not have used quite enough yeast, or didn't knead enough after the initial rise, or a million other things. Even though we now understand the science behind baking, it doesn't necessarily make it any easier to control for the thousands of variables that can affect the final outcome.
Anyway, I baked the brioche the next day for my roommates and I. It was delicious, satisfying, rich, and even a bit tangy, and I ate it with delicious, expensive, satisfying butter. However, I've never actually had any other brioche, to my knowledge, so I can't say whether mine turned out like normal brioche.
You put butter on a bread that is nearly entirely made up of butter? I love it. Try the brioche from "Artisan Bread in 5 minutes." In fact, try everything in that book. Quick and easy.
Posted by: sygyzy at April 2, 2008 6:58 PM
I'm used to seeing brioche in braided form, and while all the American brioche I've seen has a glossier crust (which is just WRONG), yours looks very much like the brioche I had in France last time I was there--not that I'm a professional, of course.
The slow rise may have been due to the yeast. Was it old, or did you mix it with liquid that was too hot? It's extremely finicky stuff, so four options you have are to lower the temperature of the liquid you mix it with, raise the temperature of the environment, add more sugar-containing-ingredient during the blooming phase, or buy new yeast.
Posted by: Erin at April 3, 2008 3:40 AM
Erin, I think I now remember the problem: a couple months ago, I used part of a packet of yeast. This time, I used the rest of the opened packet. I'm sure it had just died. I knew that I shouldn't use the opened packet, but it was all the yeast I had (I thought I had plenty, but I apparently forgot to buy more). So I went with it, and totally forgot about it until now.
Posted by: Barzelay at April 3, 2008 4:13 AM