The next few breads in the BBA Challenge are eggy breads - brioche, challah, and whatnot. Despite their obvious decadence, I don't like eggy breads. They are missing all the qualities that I like in a bread. They are not crusty. They are not chewy. And they have a strangely flavored outer brown layer that has offended me since childhood. Despite my overwhelming prejudices against the poor brioche, I made it anyway. My sense of order and rightness didn't allow me to skip a bread just because I didn't like it. So here it is. Brioche.
I made the "Middle Class" version, which has less butter than the "Rich Man's" and more than the "Poor Man's," natch. Why not go all out with the butter? Well, because the Middle Class Brioche left me with just enough unsalted butter to make cookies (oatmeal cherry chocolate chunk toffee cookies). And cookies would undoubtedly make up for my lukewarm enjoyment of said brioche. I made two brioche loaves, one plain and one swirled with chocolate ganache.
Now let me just interrupt myself to say, I am a terrible multitasker. When undertaking more than one task, I get flustered. I get distracted. I take shortcuts and forget about things. I hate it. I like to be fully absorbed in the task at hand. I like to concentrate. I like to be mindful of what I'm doing. Yet for some reason, I decided to make the brioche at the same time as the cookies. Halfway through the recipes, I got even more ambitious and started making butternut squash puree for Juniper. This ill-advised agenda resulted in a mid-baking supermarket run, cookies that were cemented to the sheet pan, and brioche that was baked at too-high a temperature. In his recipe, Peter Reinhart gives two baking temperatures for the brioche. A higher one for the cute little brioche-a-tetes and a lower one for loaves. In my hurry, I only noticed the higher temperature. Thus my loaves were a bit on the dark side. And my cookies had to be chiseled off the sheet pan. According to my little solid food connoisseur, however, the butternut squash puree was top-notch.
As for the brioche, it tasted good. Very good. Like a croissant in loaf form. And it oozed an alluring butter aroma that constricted every artery in its vicinity. The chocolate swirl loaf was a tad less successful. The chocolate flavor was completely overpowered by the butteriness. So much for all that Valrhona chocolate. The crusts were certainly darker and crustier than they should have been but not disagreeably so. Overall, the brioche was... good. Tasty. Soft, with a nice pillowy texture. But still not something I want to eat again and again. It's just not my thing. I had a few tastes here and there and then moved on to the cookies. Now those I can cozy up to any day - chiseled or not.
(The title of this post references a song that was in my head the ENTIRE time I made this bread - name that some... anyone? anyone???? *crickets*)