The Brioche Has Risen! Very Appropriate for Easter Week!

Wow. This week’s postings are turning into a recipe roll! Anyway, with the end of the week approaching, I’m just about finished with the prep work for Saturday evening’s dinner party.

The eggs are hard boiled and ready to be deviled! I purchased the asparagus and prosciutto for the chilled asparagus appetizers. (Snap the bottoms off the asparagus, blanch them, wrap prosciutto around the asparagus, shave parmesan cheese over them, plate and serve). As from my post about yesterday, the Salmon Rillettes as well as the Chicken Rillettes will be served as a first course. The ends of the Haricots Verts have been trimmed off and the only thing left to do with them is blanching, a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper and slivered almonds.

haricot vert snipped asparagus ready and shallots

Lovin’ the fresh produce!

The grapes for the Chicken Veronique are in the fridge, the Nougatine is in the freezer, the accompanying sauces are in the fridge and all I need to do is get the chicken—which Bonaparte will do tomorrow at the Farmer’s Market in Wayne.

As I write this, I’ve got the Brioche baking in a Pullman loaf pan. I’ll admit—Brioche is the best-tasting off all the breads. You can have your croissants and baguettes but make mine brioche. It’s buttery, eggy goodness is very appealing to me. When I take out the cheese platter right before dessert, I’ll sneak in a couple of toasted slices of brioche…and watch everyone’s eyes roll with passion after they bite into the heavenly bread!

When lurking through the net for brioche recipes, I came across this one from Thomas Keller.

The following is from Thomas Keller’s book Bouchon, recipient of a James Beard Book Award in 2005.

1/3 cup very warm water (110°–115°F)
One 1/4-ounce package active dry yeast (not quick-rising)
101⁄2 ounces (21⁄2 cups) cake flour
10 ounces (2 cups) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
21⁄2 teaspoons fine sea salt
6 large eggs, at room temperature
2  1/2 sticks  (10 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes,
at room temperature, plus butter for the pans.

Combine the water and yeast in a small bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes, then stir until the yeast is completely dissolved. Set aside.

Sift together the flours, sugar, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the eggs and beat for 1 minute at low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Slowly add the dissolved yeast and continue beating at low speed for 5 minutes. Stop the machine, scrape any dough off the hook, and beat for another 5 minutes.

Add about one-quarter of the butter cubes at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each addition. Once all the butter has been added, beat for 10 minutes more.

Place the dough in a large floured bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place until doubled in size, about 3 hours.

Turn the dough out onto a generously floured work surface and gently work the air bubbles out by folding the dough over several times while lightly pressing down on it. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

The dough is now ready to shape or use in another recipe. Generously butter two 81⁄2-by-41⁄2 inch loaf pans. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. With floured hands, divide the dough in half and shape it into two rectangles that fit in the loaf pans. Place the dough in the pans.

Let the dough rise uncovered in a warm place until it is about 1⁄2 inch above the top of the pans, about 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Bake the brioche in the center of the oven until it is well browned on top and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the brioche from the oven and immediately turn out onto a wire rack.

If serving immediately, let the breads cool for 10 minutes, then slice. If serving within a few hours, wrap the hot bread in aluminum foil and set aside at room temperature until ready to use. To freeze, wrap the hot bread in foil and promptly freeze. The bread can be kept frozen for up to 1 month; when ready to use, reheat (without thawing and still wrapped in the foil) in a 250°F oven until heated through, 20 to 25 minutes.

If using the brioche for croutons, let sit at room temperature uncovered to dry for a day.

Makes two loaves NOTE* or it will make one loaf if made in a Pullman loaf pan.

Excerpted from Bouchon, Copyright 2004 by Thomas Keller. Used by permission of Artisan, a division of Workman Publishing Co., Inc., New York. All Rights Reserved.

Since he’s a very well-known chef, and one with an excellent reputation, I figured I’d bake his version. I didn’t realize it was so time-consuming. Whatever. Its fun to make—AND I got to use my Pullman loaf pan for its original intent!

As luck would have it, I happened to have cake flour in the pantry. His recipe calls for both regular and cake flour.

Brioche ingreeds

Ingreeds in place.

Pullman pan at the ready

Pullman Loaf Pan generously buttered.

I followed the recipe but was a bit concerned because the dough was pretty loose—but I marched on.

waiting to rise

In all honesty, it looked more like cake batter…

Next step was to turn the dough out to a large bowl and let it rise. Easy enough. The rising time is three hours—I would be able to run some errands!

coverred in plastic and in a warm place

Covered and ready to rise.

I had my sous-chef with me too. Chippy. What a help. He took his place on the loveseat in the sunroom. Was he waiting for me to drop various ingredients on the floor so he could be my little janitorial assistant? No. He wasn’t.

my sous chef waiting for crumbs and an easy clean up

His Royal Highness waiting for a crumb?

Instead, every time I used a paper towel he would wait for my back to be turned and he would raise himself on his two hind legs, grab the paper towel, play with it a bit and eat it. And I wonder why I go through paper towels with the speed of a pre-menstrual woman who is running for a chocolate bar.


He just wants to eat used paper towels……

Busted. Now I know how my mother felt when I left a trail of snotty tissues

He is making a feast out of this–at least it’s organic!

While the dough was rising I thought it would be a good idea for me to actually get dressed. There were a couple of errands to run and my chic ensemble of pajama bottoms and a sweatshirt were in desperate need of laundering. Ever the procrastinator, the two of us enjoyed some time out on the deck before we headed into the car.

With an ABBA CD pumped on “11”, (Oh and I sing along too. With emotion!) the windows of the car rolled down so Chippy could feel the wind in his hair, we were two happy souls finally enjoying the first warm day of the year. Hell to the yeah—I even wore flip flops! The feet need some airing out after being stuck in shoes and mostly boots for the past four months!


First Flip-flop day of the year! No coat either! I need a pedi and a spray tan so badly!

Back home to part two of the Brioche. I had to take it out of the fridge after letting it sit for three hours. Then I had to fold it over to get the air bubbles out, put it back into the fridge and let it sit overnight.

Nicely risen

The Brioche has risen—and doesn’t look like cake batter anymore! Yay!

pounded down and ready for an overnight rest

Turned out and ready to fold over and get rid of air bubbles!

Could I possibly be the messiest cook Look at the dough

Am I the only one who gets a mess all over? Check out the counter behind my hand. Dough!

Here’s where I changed it up. I didn’t let it sit overnight. Tomorrow Paul is coming to replace a broken drawer in our kitchen. So…I baked the brioche this evening. While Bonaparte and I were having dinner, I baked three tiny brioches in little mini brioche pans and they turned out great.


Aren’t they cute? They were little “test” brioches.  I finally had a use for my mini brioche tins!

This recipe is definitely a keeper. I baked the brioche in the Pullman pan, took it out and it’s just as it should be!


Fresh from the oven. Not bad for a first attempt!


Cooling off


I had to take a sliver of a slice to try it. With Lemon Curd. Heaven!!

Not wanting to wait until Saturday to try it (What if it didn’t turn out that great? How could I serve it?) I cut off the end—a sliver actually, and added a schmear of Lemon Curd. (It’s ok. I only had 7 boiled shrimp and a half an avocado for dinner. No lunch either). Greatness! The brioche is rich and has a subtle sweetness so the curd was a perfect match!

Look. I’ve even got the table linens at the ready. See? My intent was to get some “Easter-ish”, pastel-colored linens. Then I realized something. I despise pastel colored anything. Why would I get pastel table linens???  Besides that, Bonaparte suggested I use what we already have.

table linens ready

I’m very much into the red and white look!

Since red is my favorite color, the colors will be red and white. (I hope it isn’t too Christmassy). I love white china against bright or dark colored placemats and tablecloths. Also—spilled stuff doesn’t show up as much.

My sloppiness knows no boundaries though. Yesterday I ironed all of the napkins—today; I got a spot of brioche dough on one. Oh well, that’ll be my napkin.

brioche dough on the napkin

The picture sucks–sorry. See that out-of-focus spot? Brioche dough!

In keeping up with being frugal, I repurposed some flowers. We both love having fresh flowers in the house. Flowers make everything cheery! Anyway, Bonaparte bought some new flowers today because the ones we had were looking a bit…um…dead. But some of them were still ok. I just cut the bottom of the stems, put ’em in a different vase and placed it in the sunroom. Voila! More cheeriness!


Repurposed flowers!


New flowers. Cheeriness!

We also ended up with a twin for the palm plant.   Things are looking brighter!


Cute-right? We still need to paint!

Well, I’m on an ABBA Kick—here’s one of my personal favas! “Chiquitita”!


About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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