Brioche with a bang! and a whimper

I didn’t really expect the bang and bright flash as I tried to get the dough hook down into my brioche mix. I know, I should have checked to see whether there was a problem before I forced the top half of the mixer down, right through the power cord which had become caught between the base and top section of the stand! TB came to my rescue, whisking the mixer off to the shed to replace the cord while I reverted to person power to mix the 300gms of butter into the mix. I did manage to do this and about half an hour later the mixer was back in action.

I became a fan of brioche while travelling in Japan a few years ago. Unlikely as it may seem, one of the things that the Japanese do really well is French-inspired pastries and bread. French culture and cuisine is very popular in Japan and patisseries abound. We were stocking up on food prior to a weekend away in a thatch-roofed farmhouse in the mountains. A loaf of brioche seemed a good choice for breakfast.


Here it is looking plain but tasty, topped it with cream cheese from what must be the camp-est cheese brand in the world.


… Quite worrying really.

But back to the brioche, things did not proceed as planned. My dough just wouldn’t rise even in the warmest room of the house. 


I can think of many possible causes for this lack of action including the gap between my hand kneading and the final beating in the machine, the room was just not warm enough, tea towel too wet etc etc. After two hours it was stubbornly refusing to do anything. The plan had been to take the brioche to a friend’s house, but this baby wasn’t going anywhere. Plan B was to shape the brioche into a plait as per the recipe and see whether that would rise while we were out. We returned home fully expecting to cook the brioche while settling in for the first mountain stage of the Tour de France, but no. It was still as flat as when we left it. Thank heavens Cadel Evans was doing better than we were.

Alright, we decided to let it rise overnight. The question was would it rise in an unheated room? Then I remembered we have that heater pad we use to get our seedlings started. Doh! the next morning we woke to a risen batch of brioche swimming in a pool of butter,


not including the large amount of butter that was absorbed into the covering tea towel.


It’s OK that really is an image of the late Jennifer Patterson (one of the Two Fat Ladies) swimming up through the butter, but it is printed on the tea towel – I’m sure Jennifer would at least approve of the use of butter.

We decided to go for broke and cooked the brioche as it was. It smelled divine and did, well, OK. The cooked brioche turned out more like a biscotti, definitely not how it was supposed to work out.


On the other hand it still tastes great, proving that any combination of excessive amounts of butter and sugar can’t be all bad!



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