My early Brioche experiences were the ones from a plastic bag from the supermarket that somehow manage to feel both damp and dry at the same time. It always seemed to me to be too sweet for bread and too savoury for cake. But from a bakers perspective I find the idea of brioche very appealing; something warm and sweet to bring out of the oven straight to the breakfast table. In my fantasies it is accompanied by appreciative coos of ‘ooooh’ and ‘ahhhh’ (take note, family) and is voraciously torn apart until there are nothing but sweet, moist crumbs left.
My first batch of dough went in the bin. I was baffled by the batter-like consistency and after 20 minutes of determined ‘kneading’ and trawling the internet for answers I chucked it and started a new batch. It was then I noticed that the measuring cup was a 1/2 not a full cup. Mystery solved. I’ll justify stupidity on this level by saying that I’m glad to get the idiotic mistakes in early, after all this is a learning process and god knows it’s about time I started learning numbers.
It came to a dough and I dutifully left it to rise for an hour. It didn’t do anything, Emergency house heating was employed to create a cosier environment (putting in in the oven on a low heat was suggested to me and I was suitably aghast, even I know that this would be proving suicide). Eventually impatience prevailed and I split it, plaited it and covered it in cinnamon butter and left it in the fridge overnight before baking in the morning.
Some proving did occur. It baked reasonably but did split slightly along the top but I’m sure this is due to the initial issues in rising. The texture was divine. My first bite was an end piece; the outside crumb was almost short, like pastry and the inside was buttery and cloud-like. This was brioche as I’ve never known it, it reminded me of the upper crusts of a bread and butter pudding. The effect of the cinnamon and the fluffy dough had me standing in the kitchen smiling dreamily. This was not a perfect brioche, but it was my first and it is the closest I could ever come to giving myself a hug.