Monday, February 2, 2015

Saga of a Blueberry Brioche Baking Disaster

Happy Super Bowl Monday everyone!!!

Ok, full disclosure: Despite attending a Big Ten school (Nittany Lions 'til the end!).. . .I don't like football . . . at all.  Actually, that may be an understatement.  Given the choice between giving up television altogether or only being able to watch football, I would happily turn over my TV to Goodwill.  I realize that that makes me somewhat of an oddity (especially in Columbus Ohio), but what can I say. . . I am who I am.

However,  I do watch football one day a year (the term "watch" is being used loosely -- mainly to indicate the action of eating loads of really delicious, really bad for me food, and playing on Facebook with the television yelling out something about first downs and record yardage in the background.)  That day is Superbowl Sunday.  Again, the main draw for me is the food (no surprise there, as anyone who even peripherally knows me is aware.)

No, I take that back, it's an equal pull between the grub and the commercials. (And that really is the only day of the year that I will say that.)  Yesterday, though, the commercials were sub-par, in my mind at least.  The Nationwide Insurance one was straight-out depressing (and in shockingly poor taste,) and even the usually spot-on Budweiser commercials were just "eh."  Don't get me wrong, the puppy/Clydesdale one was cute and everything, but the Clydesdale commercial from 2013 had me tearing up big time.  As in, I actually needed to get up and get Kleenex's to mop up my face.  (Seriously, Google it -- best commercial ever. . .I dare you to watch it and not start weeping . . .so maybe don't watch it at work)

And the other Budweiser commercial just seemed a little desperate.  "You can have your namby-pamby taste-good beer, who needs that?  We've been here since the 1800's with the exact same recipe, since we want to appeal to people who hate change" (and hate beer that tastes good apparently.)  No offense to anyone who actually likes Budweiser. . .

I did love the Dodge commercial with the centurions (and near-centurions) and the Jeep "love our Earth" commercial, but some of that can probably be chalked up to my Michigan roots.  I do love my mitten state.  But even with that, I was really missing the "imported from Detroit" commercials.  Where was Eminem and the annual "go Detroit " piece?? (Again, Google it -- another tear-jerker. . . but maybe (probably) only if you're from the Motor City.)

Ok, enough of that; I bet, right about now, you're wondering what this has to do with baking.  So I'll tell you.  This blog entry doesn't have to do with baking.  It has to do with disappointment (with baking.)  That's right, my most recent, highly anticipated, extremely time-consuming, heart-breakingly beautiful project. . . failed.  Remember the look on that Seahawks player's face, (I don't know his name because I don't really know anything about football,) right after their last pass.  You know, the one which was supposed to result in a touchdown but instead resulted in an interception (which anyone with half a brain could have predicted, because, really Seahawks, you were like 3 yards from the goal line with one of your players being the closest thing to a human personification of a bulldozer possible.  Run the ball!  (And this is from someone whose entire knowledge of the game comes from high-school gym class.) The poor man looked like someone had ripped his dream from his tightly clasped fist and then proceeded to stomp on it until it bled.  Really.  Well that's how I looked, and how my heart felt, at the end of my journey (to be fair, the end of his journey was likely more traumatizing.)

Oh well, at least the pictures were pretty -- I'll let them tell the story.

 This recipe was from Bon Appetit,
which in turn borrowed it from Huckleberry by  Zoe Nathan with Josh Loeb and Laurel Almerinda

Blueberry Brioche 
recipe here 


Blueberries prepped and ready to go.
Brioche rolled out to a thin sheet.

Two batches:

1. (Right) Layer of lemon cream topped with blueberries and sugar
2. (Left) Sugar topped with blueberries, covered with more sugar.

                                                             Don't they look lovely?

Rolled tightly to lock in
each and every scrumptious blueberry.
  Look at that gorgeous buttery dough.

Now for an overnight rest in the fridge.

Pat into a nice even rectangle. (The dough is so cold, fingers frozen!!)

Roll again into a cute chunky coil.
  Trying desperately not to lose any blueberries!!!

Now proof for three whole long hours.

Top with egg wash and even more sugar, 
place in loaf pans and into the oven they go! 
As you can see, they grew even more 
in the past couple of hours!

                    One hour later, and. . .

And even more amazing. . . .

So, you may be asking. . . . What's the problem?  It looks like a beautiful brioche (maybe with a slightly crushed crust from overzealous cutting,) with a crisply crackly caramelized crust, and filled with the ooeyest, gooeyest, most delicious luscious blueberries.. .

Well, it was. . . except for the raw middle.  That's right.  The center of the bread was pure uncooked dough.

My first reaction was to frantically try to throw it back in the oven. . . but any of you who cook know that the center cooks last -- so the second it hit the counter, there was no turning back.  The top would just burn to a crisp before the center even started to re-bake.

My second reaction was to consider eating it anyways.  (Don't judge me -- it looked amazing, and it took 27 hours to make.  My husband was encouraging me in this direction as well.

But, my better senses prevailed, and into the trash it went.  Both loaves.  Talk about love's labor lost. . .
So you can see why I felt as crushed as the poor Seattle Seahawks.  (27 HOURS!!!)

I may retry with a lower baking temperature and longer time.  Or cut the amount of dough down, so there are less layers to bake.  Maybe. . . if I can submit myself to the possibility of this heartache again.  If anyone has any ideas, I'm open to them. . . let me know. . .
Until then, I think I'll go and re-watch the 2013 Clydesdale commercial.

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