What is a Brioche?
Brioche is a type of French bread that is enriched with more fat from butter and/or egg yolks. It has a fine and almost flaky texture with soft crumbs that make it taste more like pastry than your usual bread.
Brioche is believed to have come from a traditional Norman recipe. Others also argue that it has its roots from a Romanian holiday bread called “saralie”. Both recipes have similar cooking methods with brioche and both were also used in holiday celebrations. Just like brioche, these breads were served like some form of pastry or as a dessert. It also became common to add various ingredients as stuffing or toppings to the bread.
Brioche does not contain much sugar contrary to the perception that the bread is sweet. It is very common though that brioche is used with various sweet delicacies, because of its texture and butter content. But brioche is also paired with meat dishes and savory dishes like foie gras, where one can really appreciate the hints of butter.
Making brioche is quite a complicated task. A stand mixer is advised when mixing the butter with the dough. This part of baking could really take long and having a mixer will surely speed up the process. But after making the initial dough, brioche preparation will become easier. In some cookbooks, brioche can be classified into three versions: Poor Man’s Brioche, Middle Class Brioche, and Rich Man’s Brioche. What distinguishes one from the other is the butter content. So the Poor Man’s version should contain the least butter while the Rich Man’s version contains the most, like up to 16 ounces. Rich Man’s brioches are quite expensive to make, so this version along with the Middle class version may be reserved for special occasions. And as for the Poor Man’s variety, this is best for breakfast sandwiches.