Sunday, September 18, 2011

Brioche Loaf for a Stormy Day

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It was early in the first ray of morning light.   My favorite time of day.  Everything is hushed.  Everything is sleeping.  I slip out of bed, put on my shoes and head out into the coolness to look for morning's delights.

I know when I return home there is something waiting to be toasted.  Something to be smoothed with butter and dolloped with fig jam.  

Brioche.  Nothing evokes such strong mental emotions for me as does this bread.  I don't know why.  Why question why?  

It is raining here in Houston.  Solid rain...drenching the earth that has been so parched and overlooked.  Rumbles of thunder have Chester and Polly snuggling in beside us.  They search our eyes to see if the world is alright and then they burrow in again for a long and restful sleep.

The heady aromas of yeast permeate the house as this ancient bread grows in the oven.  I love weather when it is big and bold.  I like the soft diffused light inside as we witness nature's glory.

There was a lull in the rain mid-day.  I decided to check out  a new pond that I noticed the other day.  As I relaxed in the middle of a grouping of trees, these odd ducks waddled around and nestled all around me.  They kept a wary eye on my camera but didn't seemed too perturbed by my intrusion.  This one duck caught my attention because of the colors of his feathers.  They were beautiful shades of turquoise and green that I thought represented some of the hues of September.

Fig jam on brioche.  Does it get any better I ask you?  I do really like this recipe.  Not because it makes THREE loaves in one recipe but it is consistently reliable.  Every batch always comes out the same.  Reliable.

The winds do blow here in Texas.  Now that the temperatures are edging their way down, it's time for the outdoors to become the stage of life.  People flock outside to enjoy the cool breezes.  Air conditioners are shut off and windows are thrown open.  

Well, not yet.  But soon.

When I was visiting this newly discovered pond and visiting with these friendly ducks, this waterfall enchanted me with its bubbling and soothing sounds.  The ducks lazily paddled around it before settling down in the grass to snooze the afternoon away.

Brioche Loaf  (makes 3 loaves)
From the Bon Appetit issue February 2003

1/3 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
1/3 cup warm milk (105°F to 115°F)
2 envelopes dry yeast (14g total)
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)

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.)


  1. I love brioche too, and oh how I miss southern thunderstorms that pour rain on the roof! Thanks for a lovely post. I especially like the mushroom photos.

  2. It doesn't need to be rainy day to make brioche in this household:)Fantastic pictures;)

  3. Another post of yours with beautiful photos! And scrumptious recipe. I'm definitely heading over to vote for your!

  4. The photos are magnificent!

  5. I love the early morning too, may be that's why I always wake up very early :) It's so quite and calm...

    The brioche looks so delicious, I wish I could take it off the screen and eat it. Amazing photos!

  6. I heard about the rain in Houston, and that's so great. Sadly, we only saw a few drops here. This brioche would make me feel better about that though. Looks amazing!

  7. YUM!! wonderful broiche recipe and beautiful pictures.

  8. Brioche bread is so good because of its consistency. This recipe looks great. I especially like the short list of ingredients. However, I need that dough hook, which needs to be attached to a stand mixer, which I also don't have :( Making this with a hand mixer just won't be the same. For now it will be a pinterest item.

  9. Did I ever tell you that I love to bake bread ... when I have the time. Oh joy! It rained in Houston. I wish it would rain here. It's so, so needed. BTW I had nominated this blog for the 7 Links Project. Feel free to participate or not to :)

  10. Sarah this is a beautiful post from top to bottom. I want to sit out there at the table in the breeze and eat the brioche and feed a little to the ducks.
    You've inspired me to take my camera out early tomorrow morning.

  11. The brioche sounds and smells lovely!! And your description of the drenching rains...makes it absolutely perfect!!!

  12. What a nice post! So glad you have finally gotten some rain! This brioche looks fabulous. I also love to get up early...while everything is still quite...the best time of the day! Beautiful photos!

  13. That tablecloth blowing in the wind just made me catch my breath. What a beautiful moment. It made me want to make this bread and sit it upon such a table in such a breeze. I'm also about to look to see if you have here on your website a recipe for that fig jam...

  14. This is a great post-wonderful blend of nature as well as food pics. Brioche is my favorite but due to its addictive nature-I rarely make a loaf. Yours really looks enticing. Great post.

  15. There is no rain this side and very less wind.. The heat is absolutely killing me and that picture of the table cloth flying makes me wish i was there at that moment :)
    beautiful pictures and loving every bit of your space.

  16. Love love brioche! And no it does not get any better espeially slathered with butter and fig jam.

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  17. Sarah,
    Since I had to take gluten out my my life a few years back I have not often felt deprived. But I do miss that flaky goodness of warm brioche. I did drool a little looking at your photos today and I almost felt like I could taste the deliciousness;)
    Have a great weekend,
    By the way, when do you guys go to Ireland? Soon, I think.

  18. Your blog is one of the most beautiful food blogs that I've ever seen, correction, is the most beautiful food blog I've ever seen, your photographs are to die for as are your recipes and descriptions of your cooking methods and everything around you - thank you so, so much for sharing your life and creativity with us all. I fully intend to make this as I am struggling to make bread and in my newest attempt I have a sourdough culture on the go in a jar which is three days old so far and happily beginning to bubble so I'm taking that as a sign that I have done something right. My only question is how much is 2 packets of dried yeast? I have a little sealed tin of dried yeast so if you can let me know the grams I can try this at the weekend. Also I've never tried fig jam but sounds like it would be a great idea, I have heard of people eating fig jam with cheese and fresh bread have you tried that? Certainly worth thinking about, I count myself as extremely fortunate in finding you in the vastness of the internet.

    Many thanks
    Eileen Goodall

  19. Eileen, I am truly humbled by your praise. It indeed amazes me that my ramblings are actually read by other people in this amazing world. Thank you for your sweet comments. Also, I am looking at my little packets of packet of yeast is 7g (1/4 oz). I adore fig jam! I have indeed tried it with bread and a bit of brie. I really like the combination. I've been away from fig jam for years but since moving back to the south it is everywhere around here. I did try to go to your blog to leave these comments but there was no link so I hope you return and can get those yeast measurements! Take care, Sarah at "Thyme"


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