When the wind "shakes", it's time for me to "bake"...

Golden Brioche with Orange Zest

I think we brought a wee bit of wind back from Switzerland.  
How lovely it was this weekend.  
I am like a wilted plant that completely comes to life when the cool weather ushers in all of the feelings of the Fall season.  I dislike humidity 
and moving to Texas I knew 
was going to be a struggle with the hot months of July and August.  
life was more manageable than I thought it would be ... 
all due to the lovely invention of 
air conditioning.

We relished the coolness of Switzerland the windiness of Provence. 
We wore our scarves and cuddled in our warm sweaters knowing they all might be  packed away again upon our return.  
I have to admit, 
that the weather from now, October, to next June is going to be pleasant.  
We moved into the apartment at the beginning of October last year.  When Fall arrived it never seemed to leave.  
Winter in Houston was basically 
one very long Fall.  
I remember also being amazed at the distinct change in color of Fall in Houston. Leaves on the trees turned golden yellow and beautiful hues of red leafed trees lined the centers of many of the suburban neighborhoods.

Last year at this time we were steeped with moving tasks.  We relocated from Kansas City to  Texas.  We moved into an apartment for six months to give our house time to sell in Kansas and to be able to get to know the areas of this gigantic city here.

All of our Fall decorations were stored away for the Fall and Christmas season so I have missed them dearly.  
I spent the weekend pulling out the Halloween/Fall bins, lovingly reacquainting myself with my dear possessions and welcoming them to yet 
new home.  
I never know where I am going to find spots for my decorations but eventually, 
with a few tantrum moments, 
each little treasure finds its place.

I go a little nutty in the kitchen as soon as I feel any signs of chill in the air.  
The surprise about Houston is that once the windows open, they can stay open for many months to come.  
Up went the windows this weekend.  
Out came my gingerbread candle.  
Out came my mixer for baked goods.  
Out came my blender for pureeing soups, 
one after another the house turned over seasons.

I think because we have moved so many times at this point, my seasonal decorations are some form of constancy.  
All of these inanimate objects  help and support our family to make changes feel somewhat familiar.  
I know, silly I suppose,  
but I can tell the kids and my husband feel the same way. 
 Each time we move, or perhaps because they are getting older and definite traditions are being established, the seasonal changes that come out of my many bins seem to bring greater comfort and joy to us.

One of my favorite food pleasures while traveling in France was brioche.  
We had the sweet pleasure of witnessing brioche being made 
from scratch 
while staying at the house of good friends of ours 
in Valence, France.  
This family's daughter lived with us in New York during her senior year of high school on a study abroad program.  The mother of the family 
is a fabulous cook 
and she taught us how to make brioche from scratch.  
My husband, in turn, 
showed her how to make an apple pie with butter crumble topping.  It will rank up there with one of life's greatest memories!

I decided that we just had to try it.  
With the Fall winds beginning to announce themselves here in Texas, this weekend was a prime one.  The heady smell of brioche 
was intoxicating.  
I was so pleased with the fact that the dough rose...
just like it was supposed to do.  
The second "rising" takes place over night.  I even pattered to the kitchen in the middle of the night to take a peek in the refrigerator.  
Puffy, pouffiness!

Getting life back on track after such an incredible vacation was challenging 
those who play
...must pay!  
Its good to be back, 
how blessed we were with no humidity to taunt us.  
I reintroduced my favorite Fall friends into our lives after being in storage.  
I fixed a hot vegetable and chicken soup 
with toasted olive bread.

 Happy Fall to All!!

Golden Brioche
(adapted from Epicurious.com)


1/3 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
1/3 cup warm milk (105°F to 115°F)
2 envelopes dry yeast
3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, each stick cut into 4 pieces, room temperature

1 egg, beaten to blend with 1 tablespoon water (for glaze)
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Place 1/3 cup warm water, warm milk, and yeast in bowl of standing heavy-duty mixer; stir until yeast dissolves. Fit mixer with dough hook. Add flour and salt to bowl; mix on low speed just until flour is moistened, about 10 seconds. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl. Beat in 3 eggs on low speed, then add sugar. Increase speed to medium and beat until dough comes together, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding next (dough will be soft and batter-like). Increase speed to medium-high and beat until dough pulls away from sides of bowl, about 7 minutes.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature until almost doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Lift up dough around edges and allow dough to fall and deflate in bowl. Cover bowl with plastic and chill until dough stops rising, lifting up dough around edges and allowing dough to fall and deflate in bowl every 30 minutes, about 2 hours total. Cover bowl with plastic; chill dough overnight.
Butter and flour three 7 1/2x3 1/2x2-inch loaf pans. Divide dough into 3 equal pieces. Cut each dough piece into 4 equal pieces. Roll each into 3 1/2-inch-long log, forming 12 logs total. Arrange 4 logs crosswise in bottom of each prepared loaf pan. Place loaf pans on baking sheet. Cover pans with waxed paper. Let loaves rise at room temperature until dough almost fills pans, about 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Gently brush top of loaves with egg glaze. Bake until loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped, about 30 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes. Turn loaves out onto racks; cool at least 1 hour. (Can be made ahead. Cool completely. Wrap loaves in foil; place in resealable plastic bags and store at room temperature 1 day or freeze up to 1 month. Rewarm room-temperature or thawed loaves wrapped in foil in 350°F oven about 15 minutes, if desired.)

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