OK, so the other day I was reading a super dorky food-themed manga about a kid that’s really good at making bread. Like, really good. Better than every other baker in the world, in fact, despite zero professional training. And this is all because he has these “solar hands” that are naturally super warm so that when he kneads his dough the heat really gets the yeast going, the whole thing comes together and rises a lot faster than normal. As a result, his breads are always perfectly moist and fluffy, with the just the right amount of crustiness for each type of bread he makes. Seriously, his bread is so good that one bite will literally kill you with its awesomeness. Totally nerdy and improbable, but the story really got me excited to make some bread.
Why brioche? Because a guy I knew in college (who is secretly a rock star in the kitchen) recently posted some really yummy looking pictures of the grilled cheese on homemade brioche he had made, and that immediately made me want to make my own batch of bread so that I, too, could eat delicious grilled cheese and brioche sandwiches. What can I say, I am easily influenced by the whims of others.
I know it’s not real and all, but…I would love to have me some “solar hands.” Seriously, I can use all the help I can get when it comes to working with yeast. My doughs just don’t rise properly! Although, that may have less to do with my hand temperature and more to do with the fact that I am sometimes a moron in the kitchen. When I made those embarrassingly scone-like hot cross buns, I screwed up because I substituted buttermilk for regular milk in the recipe, and all that acid killed my yeast. Then, when I failed at making dinner rolls, the yeast died once again when I poured scalding milk over it. Poor little bacteria…they never stand a chance. Still, I was determined to succeed this time and have the best dough-rising experience ever.
(Sad, poorly-risen dough)
Everything was going great until the recipe told me to slather butter over my dough and knead it until the butter was incorporated. I had halved the recipe because I only wanted one loaf of bread, but everything seemed fine. First, my yeast was percolating happily in lukewarm water, then my dough came together without a hitch. But then that butter came along and everything fell apart.
In retrospect, I may have been overzealous with my buttering. I know brioche is supposed to have high egg/butter content, but…this may have been too much. I forgot entirely that I had halved the recipe, and ended up slathering on twice as much butter as I intended to. I kept kneading and kneading, hoping the butter would incorporate, but the slickness of the dough made it impossible to have a smooth kneading experience. For the most part it felt like I was folding a doughy piece of paper, but after about 10 minutes the dough suddenly got sticky and started falling apart. Eff. That’s when I figured it was time to let the thing rest and see if it would rise.
The dough rose, thank god, but not as much as it probably should have. And, the bread puffed up some more in the oven, so by sheer miracle I ended up with something that actually looked like it could be a loaf of bread. And, it tasted pretty good. Not quite like the brioche rolls I’ve eaten in restaurants, but still very buttery, egg-y, and almost cake-like in its fluffiness. Come to think of it, this would probably be mighty tasty toasted and slathered with some jam…
Not exactly an unqualified success, but at least I can probably still make some pretty tasty grilled cheeses.
Recipe can be found here, courtesy of AllRecipes.com.
One year ago: The “Ultimate” Lasagna