Brioche, Take 2: The Return of the Happy French Man

The brioche bake-off is coming up soon, and even though I’ve got a bit more bread experience under my belt this time, after watching Yakitate Japan again, I have learned that it is not good to become complacent. Especially as we have a new contender in the office baking competition game. He’s not French, but he hand grinds his coffee every morning, and seems to be one of those people who really enjoys fine dining. Plus, my last attempt was a disaster.

Somewhat inspired by Azuma’s petalite board, which he uses to make Japan #44, I thought I’d give baking with a pizza stone a try. I also felt like I had the happy French man watching over my shoulder, and I was really cautious of adding too much flour to my dough. Lastly, I tried the tangzhong method to help get that soft bread feeling (not going to tell Michael though, as I don’t know how he would respond to me adding an Asian touch to this famous French bread). I made them into mini buns this time, as I want to make chicken soup to take to work, and this would be something nice to add.

Plus, this way they almost look like the one we had in Paris.

So the first two, I baked on a pizza stone, for the same time as directed by the happy French man. 20 minutes, which was supposed to be at 200 degrees Celcius, but I read that you’re meant to heat your pizza stone up much hotter than that before using it, so I did. But the oven was still at around 220 degrees by the time I put the bread in, and so it ended up a bit burnt.

However, MrFodder cut it open, and it released a heap of steam.

Despite being charred on the outside, the bread inside was quite soft and you could pull out chunks easily with a fork.

So we ended up eating it just leaving the outer shell.

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For the next two, inspired by Azuma’s SUPER VAPOUR ACTION butter rolls, I decided to cook it for less time at the higher heat. 220 degrees for 10 minutes.

This one was amazingly soft, and I really liked the colour. And still had that soft interior.

 

Next, I tried even higher, 235 degrees (which is the highest our oven can do), for 7 minutes.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t cooked on the inside.

So I tried the same for 8 minutes, and it ended up a bit black on top, but was still soft on the inside, and cooked through. Not as good as the 220 – 10 one though.

 

Lastly I tried without the pizza stone.

 

The one on the left (cut in half) is the bottom of the non-pizza stone one, the one on the right is the pizza stone one. Interestingly, the non-pizza stone one browned a bit more, but personally, I prefer the softness of the pizza stone version.

Michael dropped a bomb – he has been practicing one-handed baking. I don’t know what kind of advantage that gives, but given that he was the one who suggested brioche, I feel like he has the home team advantage this time.

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