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Breaking Baker’s Block

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Buttery, rich brioche has long been a favorite treat. But I never tackled making the indulgent, top-knot wearing rolls. It wasn’t working with yeast that intimidated me, but the getting them into that jaunty shape. And the fact that I don’t own fluted brioche molds.

But with a visit by my husband’s college roommate (who had previously declared brioche his absolute favorite breakfast), I decided to give it a try. It helped that I found a streamlined recipe in Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris cookbook. Ina has a way of imparting her confidence through her writing that often inspires me to tie on an apron. What I loved about this recipe is that it is done in a stand mixer, easing what I’ve heard can be the hand-numbing exercise of kneading a half pound of softened butter into the dough. The only downside was that Ina (further reducing the intimidation quotient) calls for baking the dough in a loaf pan. I knew I wanted to recreate the traditional brioche shape, so I dug out my Joy of Cooking. As in the past, the Joy came through with an abbreviated description of how to roll a small cone of dough, cut a slit in the top of a larger roll, and insert the cone’s point so that the top-knot wouldn’t topple out during baking.

Not all of my brioche came out picture perfect (and I baked them in a muffin tin, so they didn’t have the traditional ridged sides), but I was thrilled with the results. As was my houseguest, who was suitably wowed and ate more than his share of these soft, pastry-like rolls.

Do you have a cooking or baking challenge you fear tackling?


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  • User avater
    LisaWaddle | 07/23/2009

    Just your standard egg wash: 1 whole egg, 1 Tablespoon water. It does add a nice touch, and helps with the browning.

  • User avater
    BasementBaker | 07/20/2009

    Hi Lisa - I love the title of your post. The brioche look great, too. What wash did you use to get such a shine?


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