Thursday, February 21, 2013

Getting My Bake On

So remember, once upon a time, when I used to actually update my blog semi-regularly?  Those were the good old days, weren't they?  These days, my blog is becoming like many of my close friends and family.  How is that, you ask?  I think about it (and them) all the time and think about writing (or calling) but then just never get around to doing it.  I'm constantly reassuring my family that I do actually love them and do actually think about them all the time, even if I don't ever remember to call them.  And so this blog seems to have fallen into that trap as well.  Whoops.  But just like I'm trying to change my communication skills, I can try to change my blogging skills.

While we are reminiscing, remember when I made that list of 30 things I wanted to do before I turned 30?  And then I haven't mentioned it since?  I realized it has been almost 4 months and I haven't attempted anything on my list!  Again, whoops.  But!  I'm here.  And I baked brioche.

Brioche is lovely eggy bread that is slightly sweet and amazing for French toast.  For Christmas, my future mother-in-law sent me Ina Garten's book, Barefoot in Paris.  Now, first of all, I LOVE Ina.  She, like Julia Child, makes cooking just seem really enjoyable and easy.  So I was super excited about this book.  And when I started flipping through it, I put a post-it on the page for her brioche because it seemed pretty doable.  I'm not reprinting her whole recipe here, but she has a similar recipe for mini brioche rolls up on the Food Network website and the ingredients are all the same.  You just make mini rolls instead of two loaves.  And you should totally do it because this bread was easy to make and it is delicious.  On to the photos!

I started with my trusty KitchenAid mixer (also courtesy of my future mother-in-law).  Now, the intimidating part about bread (for me) has always been proofing the yeast.  I'm convinced I will kill it and then whatever I'm baking will fail.  But my darling BFF Vanessa  was the one to guide me through Smitten Kitchen's pizza dough and I find yeast to be much less intimidating now.  So you start with the yeast and the water and the sugar and you let that start to bubble in the bowl of your mixer.

Then you add the eggs and let the mixer go to town on them.

And then you start adding the flour and the salt.  Even with that little bowl guard, I still manage to get flour everywhere.  I'm not one of those tidy cooks.  My kitchen always looks like a bomb went off in it while I'm cooking.  I try to employ my mom's strategy of Clean As You Go, but even so.  Such a mess.

After all the flour is mixed in, you scrape this dough into a buttered bowl and stick it in the fridge over night.  I was worried at this point because my dough was REALLY wet and sticky and I was convinced I had screwed it up and ruined everything.  But, I was sure that Ina wouldn't steer me wrong and I had followed the directions faithfully, so I put the bowl in the fridge and went to bed.

The next day, you dump the dough back into your mixer, but this time you use a dough hook instead of the paddle.  Here is where I feel like I am cheating, because I am not using my hands to knead the dough.  But you know what?  If Ina says to use the dough hook, Imma use the dough hook.

After it's been kneaded by the machine, you divide the dough in half, roll it out into 8"x6" rectangles and then roll 'em up cinnamon-roll style to make a loaf.  And then you dump 'em in your loaf pans that you may or may not have purchased specifically to make this bread.

And then you put a damp towel over them and put the whole thing in the microwave.  But DON'T turn the microwave on.  I forget now where I picked up this little trick, but this is what I do any time I'm supposed to let something rise (like when I make cinnamon rolls).  Because the microwave stays nice and warm which is good for the rising and also it gets things off your counter so that curious little kittens don't get their noses all up in your bread business.

After a couple hours, the loaves have plumped up nicely and they are almost ready for the oven.

But first they need an egg wash to make the tops of the loaves look all brown and shiny and awesome.

And if you are like me, you don't own a pastry brush and you never remember that you don't own a pastry brush.  So, here's a little tip from me to you.  If you don't have a pastry brush, just fold up a paper towel and hold it with some tongs.  You're welcome.

Into the oven!  Ina's recipe said to bake until the tops were golden and the loaves sounded hollow when tapped, about 45 minutes.  So I set the microwave timer for 45 minutes and proceeded to work out and hop in the shower.  Next time, I will pay less attention to the specific time called for and more attention to the guidelines.

Because my brioche look like it had Hulked out a bit.  But lemme tell you, that yummy crusty business on the top was super tasty.  I had to keep slapping my own hand because I kept picking off little bits of it to snack on.  So, while my bread didn't look pretty, it did taste amazing.

And it made REALLY good French toast the next morning, which was kind of the whole point of baking the bread in the first place.  We used up one of the loaves, between our French toast and also just eating it, and we have another loaf in the freezer to be used at some later point.

In conclusion, y'all should make brioche because it is super easy and super yummy and then you can make awesome French toast.  The end.

P.S. Here is a bonus photo of Rory with his new drinking fountain because he is spoiled and also adorable.

No comments:

Post a Comment