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Jul 20, 2012

BBA Challenge - Brioche, Casatiello, & Challah

Installment number two of my year baking my way through Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice.

Poor Man's Brioche 

I had tried another recipe for brioche before and wasn't all that happy with it. Brioche is a very rich bread. It includes eggs, a bit of sugar, and a ton of butter. It's not flaky like croissants, and it's not sweet. To me, the first recipe I tried just seemed greasy. I ended up making a very nice bread pudding with it, but it annoys me that I would have to take such an elaborate recipe and then create bread pudding. Seems like "bread pudding" and "French toast" are the catch-all excuses for what to do with bad bread.

Fortunately, Peter Reinhart provides three versions of his brioche recipe. Rich Man's Brioche, with a pound of butter to make three 1-pound loaves, Middle-Class Brioche, with 1/2 pound of butter to make two 1-pound loaves, or Poor Man's Brioche, with 1/4 pound of butter to make two 1-pound loaves.

I made the Poor Man's Brioche. It was perfect for me. And I think my loaves are quite pretty. Perhaps I'll try Peter's "richer" recipes someday.

I definitely would make this bread again.

 Google BBA Challenge #4 to see other bakers' experiences.


 See that little crack in the bread? My notes say that this bread stuck to the pan ("next time use parchment").  This bread is sort of a brioche with cheese and salami. At least this bread makes a commitment to the savory side. And it's delicious. I'd definitely make again.

 Google BBA Challenge #5 to see other bakers' experiences.


This bread is excellent. I had already made Peter Reinhart's Challah from Artisan Breads Everyday. That recipe (which is very good) called for a very large amount of egg yolks (in fact, that's why I finally attempted macarons). This recipe called for two eggs and two egg yolks. And the leftover egg whites could be used as a bread wash before sprinkling the loaf with seeds.

I will definitely make this challah again. It's very good.

Stay tuned for the rest of the BBA Challenge.... See my previous post for links to information about the BBA Challenge.

For this bread,  Google BBA Challenge #6 to see other bakers' experiences.

Would you like to comment?

  1. All of your breads look great! I made all 3 versions of the brioche and preferred the Middle-class one. It was excellent as toast.

  2. Karen, lovely photo's. I like the poor man's brioche to make hamburger buns. I have tried all three and agree with you on the greasiness factor. I made a variation of his dough and used it in a unique way, Brioche Lemon Cups. I put a small amount of dough in deep well cupcake tin and made a lemon curd filling. I dusted with powdered sugar and candied lemon peel. They were very good, but extremely rich.

  3. Thank you AZBaker. I took a look and will definitely try. We have a Meyer lemon tree that produces 12 months a year so I'm all set!


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