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Time and brioche

How can it be that I am fundamentally an impatient person and yet still have an ingrained, Pavlovian passion for things that, by definition, require time and plenty of it? Is this some sort of unconscious self-punishment? Knitting, playing music, writing: all demand the slow tick tick tick of patient, tiny steps that make progress hard to see, but I wouldn’t stop doing any of them. I’ve certainly had times where the repetition of playing scales made me want to go and lick an ants’ nest, or when the words “work in stockinette as established for 14 inches” resulted in weeping on the bus, but I still choked back the raging impatience and plodded forward.

This might seem like I’m changing topic, but I’m not. Today I made brioche for brunch. Now, you can’t just wake up and say “by Jove, I want brioche!” and whip one up. No sir, you’ve got to earn it. You’ve got to plan ahead. Brioche requires twelve to fourteen hours for its first rise, which is a lot of hours, and so I had to put it on at about 4:30 yesterday afternoon. Then there was the shaping at 6:30 this morning, and then another three hours of rising while we went to the markets and got foodstuffs.


You can’t rush brioche. That’s the kind of thing I’m going to start saying at random in conversation and hope people will extrapolate some profound philosophy from. Maybe they’ll nod slowly, murmuring it like a mantra back at me with a thoughtful expression. Anyway, it’s true. Back to brioche (the literal rather than metaphorical or philosophical kind).

Inspired by the deliciously Frenchly talented Richard Bertinet, I buttered my sleeves and jumped in. Boy howdy dickypants does this recipe use a lot of butter. A LOT of butter. It’s a simple sweetened white bread, but the moisture comes entirely from eggs and butter. The resulting dough takes a little while to come together while you’re kneading, and I made M reassure me at multiple times throughout the process that I wasn’t crazy: that it was a very buttery dough, but it would definitely come good. Allow me to pass on this reassurance! Be of stalwart heart, buttery baker, and be rewarded:

Buttery baubles

And then you bake it! A loaf takes thirty to forty minutes.

Oh God, yes.

Allowing a little time for it to cool, during which you can make the coffee and take dozens of photos for your blogsite, it’s ready. Ready to be torn apart with your fingers and eaten with joy and eyes too glazed with happiness to notice you’re getting soft buttery crumbs everywhere, probably in the jam, too.

Bonus lesson: buttery fingers make a buttery camera.

Really really tasty.  Will make again.

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