We love going to our local Whole Foods. It’s new, bright, shiny, and bursting at the seams with the most beautiful staff of hipsters I’ve ever seen.
Pretty sure that’s every Whole Foods, but I like to think it’s novel to Austin since that’s where the company got its start. We’ve got the best hipsters in the world. As crunchy as you can get.
We don’t do much heavy duty shopping there, but we do love to go to the bar, grab a beer, and walk around to soak up inspiration from their gloriously stocked shelves and departments WITH the beer in hand. It’s wonderful.
A few weeks ago, I was eyeing all of the breads in the bakery, recruiting a few for our Game of Thrones premier party next month (by party I mean, me, Kevin, the dogs, wine, beer, cheese, bread, and a blanket to watch the bloody scenes through). The table of Brioche was glowing, beckoning me to pick up a loaf, tear off the wrapping, and devour its soft, buttery deliciousness. So picked it up I did. And I was greeted with a still defrosting loaf of Brioche.
I’m always pro-freezing and completely understand that it’s both common and necessary for a lot of independent bakeries to get their goods out. While this beautiful, defrosting $9 loaf of bread was enticing, it felt more like an invitation to myself. An invitation for an inspiring adventure of home bread making. An endeavor that often proves to be both infuriating and rewarding.
So Brioche. I recently bought Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Baking Bible on Amazon after 2 glasses of red wine, and it has been an incredible purchase. It’s an intimidatingly stout piece of literature, but the recipes are detailed, authentic, and give me the courage and confidence to get in the kitchen and make a memory. And a few mistakes. I followed her recipe for Brioche to a tee, except instead of rolling it into a loaf before baking, I divided the dough into 8 equal pieces, rolled them into balls, and layered them in rows of two in a loaf pan so they’d bake into that bubbly, too-pretty-for-words top that I saw in the store.
It’s a day-long labor of love, much of which is hands off. The end result is a shiny, golden loaf with the melt-in-your mouth buttery quality you’d expect from the French. There are a multitude of creative ways to use this dough/loaf (French toast, anyone?), but I ate iy slice by slice, smeared with sweet butter. Then, smeared with more butter AND raspberry jam, because live a little.