Each year, around Thanksgiving, some of the Twin Cities’ curious chefs start calling me to find out what baked goods will be trending. As many of you know, last year I predicted that brioche numbers would continue creeping upward, but I have to tell you the truth, even I didn’t see this French staple exploding the matrix like it did.
So much so that last month I saw that red-headed spokesperson for the Wendy’s fast food chain announced that the company was going to throw brioche into its everyday bun rotation.
As a bread developer, my job is to never tell a customer that their concept’s vision is wrong, but sometimes if that client is committed to making money, and our relationship surpasses informal, I might trust them with the benefit of my observations. Here’s the big one with brioche:
Brioche buns taste great when removed from an oven. They also make a tremendous retail item, but it is important to know that brioche’s strength is also a key contributing factor to its weakness: brioche has an abundance of fat which will ultimately dry out each piece at a rapid pace.
For French toast, that’s fine. The bread is a great one to dunk in a batter, and the heating process on the griddle reverses any short term staling. Then the syrup is going to soak in. The consumer won’t detect staling in French toast. But in a hamburger bun or loaf of bread, chefs often find they are committing to doubled ingredient cost for a product with half the shelf life.
Or worse yet, oftentimes bakeries create a brioche “knock off” that doesn’t contain high levels of butter, eggs and honey and charge their unknowing buyer top dollar.
That’s why I am happy to inform you that milk buns will dethrone brioche in 2014. Not just on functionality either—they look spectacular and makes a much stronger visual statement on the plate.
Here’s the basic difference between brioche and milk bread: like brioche, the milk bun contains butter (typically a smaller percentage), but the egg is removed from the mix and in its place—you guessed it—more milk. It’s a simple, old-school, delicious and versatile bread.
Most Brits (the people bread historians agree created this gem) paint the top of each milk bun with egg yolk. This makes the final product look rustic and beautiful. The milk bun’s appearance denotes luxury while remaining at a friendly price point. Whereas the majority of brioche I’ve been running across is ridiculously expensive and coated with a synthetic spray to add a shining appearance to the buns crown.
Further, they hold up excellently on a griddle or grill.
I don’t know about you guys, but when it comes to eating burgers or sausages, I want them shrouded in natural, honest buns.
Have a great conclusion to 2013, and a prosperous 2014.
Your friend, Klecko