Friday, 31 May 2013

The New Bane of My Existence is Brioche

Beloved bought me a baking recipe book by Paul Hollywood (a master baker and becoming celebrity chef baker)

This is how he terms it.

I think of it more him buying a list of things he wants to eat and expects me to make. He resents this interpretation of events.

And yesterday he found a recipe for a kind of Brioche (French faffy bread of faffiness that is faffy) and the recipe for it is even more faffy than your average faffy French recipe. Supposedly it’s sweet, rich and very very light. Now I’ve made brioche before and it didn’t even remotely resemble this recipe

Because I looked at the recipe and saw “500g flour, 250g butter, 5 eggs” and declared that it isn’t bread, it’s cake. It’s cake with yeast in it. It’s cake without enough sugar. But it’s still cake. Twice flour to fat and lots of eggs = cake batter. It’s a sponge cake pretending to be bread. It also has 140ml of milk which, with the eggs (let alone the butter) is a metric fuckton of liquid.

But, fool that I am, I agree despite it taking 2 days. And I try to knead it. Oh how I tried.

I would not wish kneading this stuff on my worst enemy. It isn’t bread dough. It’s porridge. Cement porridge. It’s a batter. It’s the gloopiest, stickiest, nastiest stuff you ever did do battle with. You could build buildings with it, it resembled sawdust suspended in vomit, it looked like something they serve you for breakfast in Scotland, it grabbed hold of spoons and wouldn’t let go and if you go it on your hands then, suck it up because you ARE losing a layer of skin. In frustration I corralled the sticky mass into a food mixer and, something I hardly ever do, tried to get it to do the kneading. And the motor nearly burned out. This stuff nearly killed my mixer. It still has sticky goo invading its crevices. A long, hard rehabilitation awaits before it can rejoin kitchen society

The funnies part was when Beloved read aloud the instructions to “tip it out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into balls”. After trying to murder him (damn he can move fast when he wants to), I made a hasty dam to stop the substance from oozing off the counter top.

After wrestling it into the oven (not a cement mixer which may have been more appropriate) and cooking it we did end up with something that very closely resembled bread!

And we cut into it and it was so incredibly light – you could cut it with a butter knife.


It’s unsweetened spongecake with a crust and a bread-like flavour. It tastes like bread, it has the texture of cake. Which is, apparently, correct – but but but why would anyone want this? Why do you want bread with the texture of cake? Why do you want crumbly bread? WHYYY?

And why would you spend so much time and energy making bread with so little substance? Why? Because this is French cookery for you – endless faff for damn little reward *harrumph*

It is a little redeemed watching Beloved try to make sandwiches with it.

In defence to the recipe, I have found 2 issues that are Beloved’s fault:

Flour. He assures me he hasn’t mixed up my flour containers and put the wrong kind in the wrong tub. He swears he hasn’t. He’s also a lying liar who lies. Because that “strong white bread flour” had wholemeal in it.

Butter. When I say “I need 250g softened butter” he interprets that as “250g of spreadable alleged-butter”.  Which doesn’t solidify when fridged of course.