“Let them eat Brioche!!!” that was what Marie Antoinette supposedly said and not “Let them eat cake!!!” Most historians however, say she never said anything like that. In case you didn’t know, Marie Antoinette was a French Queen who executed during the French revolution. The revolution was partially due to the great poverty that swept across France but the monarchy was living large. The “Let them eat Brioche” phrase was said when she was told that the people had no bread. She thought the cheapest option for them was brioche; that’s how wealthy she was.
I decided to prepare what probably fueled the French revolution, BRIOCHE. The process I used to make this bread made me realise that if I was Marie’s peasant, and I heard her say such a thing, I would have personally spread the gist round France. Brioche is a rich and time consuming bread to bake.
My aim was to prepare a classic brioche, I checked online and was able to get the process. My issue was the recipe because everyone has different recipes. I once got a recipe for sponge cake. When I began mixing the ingredients, I could tell it was going to be a flop but I hoped for a miracle… The miracle didn’t come. So I am usually wary about recipes. It isn’t as if they are wrong, but different countries and geological areas have different contents in their ingredients. E.g the contents of flour in Nigeria might be different from that in the UK. This has made me to generally derive my own recipe from a group of recipes. This was the case here. I looked through about 10 recipes, saw a trend and made my recipe from them.
I added the flour, eggs, yeast, milk and sugar and kneaded with a mixer for close to 10 minutes. I would have used my hands but the dough would have been too sticky for me to handle. I still used my hands though, after adding butter and kneading in the mixer for another 10 minutes. The dough’s texture had improved so it was easier to handle. I then placed the dough in a warm place for about 2 hours.
Yeast is very sensitive to temperature. I think the best temperature for it is about 27 degrees. Any more or less wouldn’t make the dough rise well. Luckily for me, my dough rose up to three times its size WHOOP WHOOP. I even had to change bowls at some point.
Next step was to put the compressed dough in the freezer overnight. I found it to be a long wait but I think it was worth it.
I woke up in the morning, happy to see the results. I was shocked to see that the dough still rose in the refrigerator. My gut feeling told me it wasn’t ready, I looked around and saw some ice cream that has been there for a while. I knew I wasn’t going to take it and I didn’t want to throw it away. I melted it, added some flour, some baking soda, mixed it and put it in the oven for about 45 minutes. The result was a vanilla strawberry ice cream bread. I really didn’t like it to be honest; it was too dense. I ran out of baking soda and I was to lazy to go out to buy some. So I used about quarter the amount I was supposed to use. I however got some good reviews about the bread.
I looked at the dough again and still thought it wasnt ready so I decided to make Matzo; I believe its a hebrew bread. It is really easy to prepare; 2 parts flour, 1 part water and a few drops of olive oil. Knead for a few mintues and pop in the oven for about 10 mintues at really high temparatures.
I figured the bread was too bland, it needed a dip. I boiled sugar, added full cream and some chocolates. Mehn it tasted like eclairs; I believe I have killed two birds with one stone.
Do not worry, I didn’t forget my Brioche. I removed it from the refrigerator and it was frozen solid. I tried kneading it but it kept breaking up. I was a little afraid that I had messed it all up but I have some faith. I left it for a while then came back and I was able to knead it. I kneaded it for 5 minutes and then braided it and left it to rise for another 5 minutes. I “painted” it with egg and milk and put it in the oven for 15 minutes. I was so excited to see the results. I was like a child on steroids, running to the oven every second to see how it was going. I brought it out of the oven and was all smiles.
I didn’t open it up to see the inside at first. I had to wait for it cool; probably the longest 20 minutes of my life. Then I had a sneak peek…. Boy was it a huge peek.
That is my brioche adventure. I know some other types of bread got dragged into this but the goal was never forgotten; to find out if Marie Antoinette deserved the gallows… She probably did.