The virtues of being a messy cook..... The main purpose of this blog is to organize family recipes, particularly those associated with a special occasion. Alex called a few days ago, surprised the recipe for the "brioche" I used to serve on Easter was not on my blog and asked if I could find it. We haven't had a family Easter morning in many years and it is too buttery a loaf for just Ed and me so I hadn't made the bread in a long time. Even so, I was pretty sure I could find this recipe. Among other things, I kept lists of favorite recipes at the start of each section in my old paper notebook. Oops, no "Brioche" under BREAD.
I thought it was in one of my New York Times cookbooks, but checking all three, I found two brioche recipes ("American" and "French") but both were spotless, no notes, no spilled ingredients and no lingering bookmark. Very unusual for a recipe I had made so often. Both recipes called for refrigerating the dough overnight and the "French" recipe called for placing the dough in a bowl, covering with lukewarm water, and letting rise until the ball floats in the water. I don't remember either technique.
The brioche recipe in The Silver Palate Cookbook was also suspiciously clean, but if I had compared recipes I probably would have chosen it because it used less butter, eggs and sugar than the Times recipes. None of the recipes suggest braiding the brioche, rather baking in muffin tins or brioche molds (with a top knot of dough), or in loaf pans. Then I realized I had not checked The Art of French Cooking. No brioche. In fact I was surprised to find the only entries under bread are "preparation of" (as in cutting off the crusts and making toasted bread cases), "crumbs", "croutes", and "rounds". Viva la Boulangerie!
Photos top to bottom 1994, 1995, 1996
There is always the possibility I used the Christmas Stollen recipe. This recipe is covered with ingredients and notes, for many years I've made this just using raisins (not candied fruit) and the Easter "Brioche" does contain raisins (something lacking in all of the above mentioned brioche recipes). I checked all my paper recipe collections but am going to keep looking for the recipe with the tell-tale spills and notes (like add raisins, braid). Meanwhile Alex may find her own recipe and I'll add a new potentially traditional recipe to Cook's Cache.