Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Bread. (Sigh.)

In case I haven't mentioned it here before, I am a bread baker, and a fairly serious one. I make bread almost every weekend, and I'm constantly experimenting with new kinds.

So this Sunday I decided to make brioche. Brioche, which always sounded delicious and decadent, but I couldn't bring myself to make a bread that had two sticks of butter and 5 eggs for two loaves. Well, I had some extra eggs and butter this weekend so I decided to go for it.

Well, the first inkling something was wrong came when I was halfway done tossing ingredients in the mixer and noticed the recipe had a line in it to the effect of "refrigerate for 12 hours or overnight". At this point it was about noon on Sunday. I go to bed at 10 pm and was anticipating using this bread for sandwiches on Monday. Meaning, I am a doofus who did not fully read the entire recipe before starting - in my infinite bread baking wisdom, I figured an enriched soft bread should take no longer than 4 or 5 hours, start to finish.

So I soldier on. I mix the dough, put everything in the rising bucket (I read the recipe 3 times at this point, nowhere at all did it say to knead the dough), and read the line in the recipe that said to rise the dough for 3 hours, then put it in the fridge for the aforementioned 12 hours to overnight. Yes, I read that line, and then promptly stuck the whole mess in the fridge, to forget about the need to rise for 3 hours until I got home from work the next day, pulled out the dough, and wondered why it was still a very small mass on the bottom of the bucket. (Coupled with this of course was that I had a fairly horrific day at work, which I cannot go into due to confidentiality issues.) So. I let it sit on my counter from 6:45 (when I got home) until 9:30 (when I went to bed), and then stuck it back in the fridge.

Today I get home and take it out, it's risen a little bit. I cut the dough in half and force it into some very sticky loaves, and put it in pans. Then I let it rise for 2 hours, instead of the 1.5 hours the recipe suggests, and honestly the loaves did not rise a whole heck of a lot. But at 8:40 I figured I better just take my chances and put the loaves in, because I do go to bed early.

They are in there now. I am scared. I suppose I could have left the loaves sit all night and baked them at 6 am, but then I probably would have gone downstairs in the morning and the loaves would have risen outside the bounds of the pan, and fallen all over the counter.

In about 25 minutes, we'll see what I get. I am anticipating very very dense bread that I am hoping will at least taste OK. I'll take photos (which likely won't get posted until tomorrow).


Lacy said...

I can cook, and I can cook well. But for the life of me, I have NEVER had luck with making yeast bread from scratch. Not even making it in a bread maker.

Anonymous said...

Brioche is indeed a sort of marathon thing but it's well worth the effort when it comes out right. Of course with all that butter and all those eggs it's not something I make often.

BTW- Keep your eyes peeled for a box that was mailed last Saturday :