Discover more from Wordloaf
Monday Mix 11/13/23
Lesser developments in brioche
Happy Mondays, everyone. I spent the weekend trying to fix several book recipes that have gone wonky on me. One is a sourdough discard wacky cake that I’d made several times before successfully that failed when I switched to using white flour instead of high-extraction. I made it for my mother’s birthday on Saturday (Happy Birthday, Mom!), but it collapsed spectacularly at the end of the bake. Fortunately, wacky cake is a recipe that comes together in a matter of minutes using pantry ingredients, so I just kept making them until I’d worked out what was going wrong. The fourth version was almost perfect, though even it sunk a little, so it’s not quite there yet. I’ll share it here once I finish fiddling with it.
The other thing I made multiple times is the tangzhong brioche pictured above. I’ve been working on this recipe maybe longer than any other (years long). Nearly every time I’d make it it would end up looking like the one on the left above, where the loaf would rise dramatically in the oven and then collapse as soon as it began to cool (sometimes even before it cooled), with its sides drawing in, leaving a cinched-in cross section, something that I just learned is called “keyholing.” I asked around, and a few people suggested that it was caused by the dough having too much structure, which seemed counterintuitive to me (especially given how much effort most brioche recipes put into making sure the dough is well developed before adding the butter), but sure enough, when I just stopped working hard to develop a strong, smooth dough, the problem went away, as you can see in the second picture. I need to scale the recipe up slightly, but I plan to share it with the testing group soon, so I can move on to the 67 other recipes I need to perfect.
Speaking of which, I have a question for you all. I’ve been on the fence about whether or not the formulas in the book should make one loaf or two. I queried the testing group awhile back, and most people said two loaves was better than one, because it wasn’t much more work and they could always freeze or give away the extra loaf. But I’m now thinking I’m going to go the other way, with each formula yielding one loaf, because I think it makes it far easier to see how the formula relates to the individual thing being made. Rather than having to divide the formula in half to discern what goes into each loaf, it’s right there in front of the reader, and it’s easy enough to simply double the recipe should you want to scale up.
Let me know your thoughts using the poll below:
What did everyone else get up to bread-wise this past weekend?