I tossed around whether or not I should post a fail of an excellent recipe that so many others have had huge success with and in the end I obviously decided to post it. Why? To maybe help teach someone else what not to do and prevent an fail for them! I will also point you in the direction of some really nice ones that did not fail at all…
About the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Group: Nicole of Pinch my Salt sent out a twitter message saying “I need a challenge. Am thinking of baking my way through every single recipe in The Bread Baker's Apprentice. Anyone want to join me?” Well I jumped right in. Both feet, no thought at all. I think I was one of the first 5 that joined…did I even have the book? Nope but I ordered it that night!!!
We are now over 200 strong with members everywhere on the globe. It’s an incredibly enthusiastic group that wants to share like no group I have ever belonged to before. Awesome!
Our goal is to bake our way through Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread. An intimidating book at anytime but to think that you are going to be baking one of these recipes a week is slightly overwhelming to say the least. But I love a challenge and feel a real need to get out of my comfort zone. Oh yah, I bake all of our bread but I never seem to have the time or the desire to try something new and different. This will change all that!!!
I was excited about making the Brioche. It looks like such a wonderful loaf of bread and I’ve had such wonderful luck with all of the recipes up until now that it didn’t even cross my mind that something would go wrong with this. I did not have any brioche molds but thanks to the Google group and PR’s great directions I knew that I would be able to form them and make them in loaf pans.
This started out fine. I had decided to make the Middle-Class Brioche. There are 3 recipes in this book. One is for the Rich Man’s Brioche (5 eggs and 2 cups of butter), Middle-Class Brioche (5 eggs and 1 cup of butter) and then Poor Man’s Brioche (4 eggs and 1/2 cup butter). As I was making the Middle-Class Brioche sponge I realized that I had accidently followed the yeast measurement for the Rich Man’s Brioche so my mind was changed and I continued on with those directions. That was when I realized that my butter was still cold. I pulled it out to soften to room temp.
My sponge performed perfectly and I was ready to make the brioche. Using my mixer I was able to mix the eggs with the sponge and add the flour and other ingredients. It was when I got to the butter I had some trouble…
My butter had not quite come to room temperature and was hard to mix in. Even after about 12 minutes of mixing and scraping I never really got that silky, smooth soft dough that people were talking about. I decided to stop it there and let it rest overnight in the fridge and would deal with it in the morning. I shaped it into the rectangle that was called for and placed it in the fridge.
In the morning I got started right away and prepared my pans. I was only going to bake 2 of the loaves right them and had planned on making rolls out of the remaining dough.
Shaping was tough. You had to work fast as shaping this dough was like shaping a blob of butter and it was melting fast. I formed it and set it out to proof for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. This is when I knew I was really in trouble. PR had said that larger shapes may take longer but after 3+ hours I was still not happy with the rise! Should I have let it go longer? I’m not sure. I plopped them in the oven and hoped for the best.
By now you know they didn’t turn out and I have one good theory as to why. My butter was too cold and my bread dough must not have ever reached the internal temp that it needed to get to during the first rise. :(
I was going to try and make this again. Now that I know what I did wrong but seeing as I have a different loaf of bread to make each week I am going to skip a remake of this and revisit it at the end!
Check out the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Blogroll to see some really nice Brioches! Ones that did not fail!!!
Want to Bake Along With Us?
There are several ways for you to join in the fun! First of all, you need a copy of Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. Then just start baking! Even if you are starting late, just begin with the first recipe and start working your way through. There are several ways to communicate with the group as you begin your journey:
Flickr: We have set up a BBA Challenge Flickr Group where you can upload photos, see photos from other members, and even post questions and comments in the group forum. It’s a private group, so you will need to click on the link that says ‘join this group’ if you want to be able to post photos. As long as you are willing to bake bread all of the bread from the book, you are welcome to join the Flickr group!
Twitter: If you use twitter, you can follow what the group is doing by searching for #BBA or #bba using Twitter’s search box. You can join in on the conversation by adding the #bba or #BBA tag to the end of your tweets when you are talking about anything related to the BBA Challenge. For me, following what people are doing on twitter has been the most fun!
Facebook: If you’re on Facebook, you can join the BBA Challenge Group there and share photos, ask questions, and talk about your bread baking experiences with other BBA members on Facebook.