Brioche Parisienne

June 6, 2014

Brioche Parisienne
I’ve been fascinated by brioche even before I really knew what it was. I think it was the unusual shape of a brioche à tête that charmed me at first. It wasn’t until I moved to France more than 2 years ago that I got a taste of the real brioche Parisienne.

My first brioche was from Boulangerie Au 140 on Rue de Belleville. It was soft, smelled faintly sweet and milky. Quite like a baby. Every other evening, I’d walk downhill to the boulangerie and wait in line for my loaf. If the wait was too long, I’d use it as an excuse to pop into Fromagerie Beillevaire next door for two tiny wheels of Rocamadour. If I was monstrously hungry, I’d ask the vendors at the boulangerie to slice the loaf of brioche  (which I’d otherwise take as a whole to keep fresh longer) because I knew I’d quite easily finish half the loaf in no time. My favourite way to eat the brioche was to make peanut butter and raspberry jam sandwiches. I then moved on to smearing it with mountain honey from G. Detou.

Brioche

The brioche is a rich bread, almost a cake, really, with a golden brown crust and creamy white crumb. It is redolent of the copious amount of butter it contains – a good reason to seek out the best butter you can get your hands on. It’s light and pillowy soft and completely luxuriant.

I like to bake the brioche as a big loaf to make sandwiches or use brioche that’s a couple of days old to make pain perdu  for breakfast with a dusting of cinnamon and a dribble of maple syrup.

Pain Perdu

If you’re in Paris, you should seek out the brioche from Au Levain d’Antan right by Métro Abbesses. It’s truly special. Or if you’d like to make it at home, you should make using the method from Tartine Bread. It’s a bit more tedious because it involves using a poolish (yeast+flour+water preferment) and a levain (flour+water sourdough starter), but the results are spectacular. You can find the descriptive recipe in Tartine Bread. (USA | UK | India)

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sara @ SimplySaraTravel June 10, 2014 at 9:56 AM

Thank you for this post on brioche! I feel like I’ve been ignoring brioche in favor of baguettes and other breads for some time. This is inspiring me to seek some out and perhaps make a trip over to Au Levain d’Antan!

Though I must say the last time I bought brioche I made this decadent brunch recipe with it from Smitten Kitchen: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2014/02/morning-bread-pudding-with-salted-caramel/#more-11547
I highly recommend trying it if you have some leftover bread :-)

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2 Anita Menon June 13, 2014 at 4:50 PM

Its wonderful you have embarked on this amazing bread baking journey. I am more fascinated by breads than I would ever be by cakes and pastries. The brioche looks so soft and delightful.

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