I was very happy when the French Fridays with Dorie crew picked Dorie's Bubble-Top Brioches (pg 496 of Around My French Table) for this week, because I welcome any opportunity to bake bread. I love the smell of bread dough as it proofs, I love the physicality of kneading, I love the feeling of accomplishment as I pull it from the oven, and, of course, I love that first hot slice.
I haven't made a bread like brioche before. It's a sticky dough, with butter and eggs worked into it. To date, I've only baked crusty peasant loaves, so this was a little different. As I stared at the butter-streaked mess being mechanically kneaded by my KitchenAid mixer, I wasn't sure it was going to come together cohesively. I closed my eyes and decided to just go with it. As promised, ten minutes later, I had a nice, smooth ball of dough. Always trust in The Dorie.
The recipe wasn't hard, but it was inconvenient. It proofed for an hour and then needed to be refrigerated and de-poofed every half hour until the yeast slowed down. This took me about two and a half hours. It wasn't labor intensive, but the process did use up a giant chunk of the day. It's best left for a day when you have no plans to leave the house.
The dough sits in the fridge overnight. Three little balls of dough each go into 12 muffin tins, and then proof again. They get an egg wash, are baked, and come out of the oven beautifully browned and smelling buttery and rich. I immediately inhaled one. And then a second. And then a third.
I will say, the finished texture didn't have "lovely spring and stretch," as Dorie said it would. A minor complaint about a tasty roll, but it tips me off that I probably didn't produce a perfect version.
I'm hoping that another Dorista made the loaf version of this recipe, because when I read it, I could not figure out how the logs of dough were meant to be placed in the loaf pan.
Conclusion: Liked it. Bread makes me happy. As with most bread-products, it's Charlie Approved.