Under the name of brioche is known the dainty “Roll Cake Bread” that is sold by all New Orleans bakers; that is brought to your door in the early morning by the “Bread Man, ” and which forms such a delightful accompaniment to the morning cup of Cafe Noir, whether in the exclusive homes of the Old French Quarter, or at the world-famed coffee stands in the French Market.
To make Brioches, take a pound and a half of the best quality of flour, and put it in a wooden bread trough. Make a hole in the center of the flour, and put in a half ounce of yeast, dissolved in a little warm water. Take milk or tepid water to make the dough, using milk if you want it to be very rich and delicate, and water if you have not the milk. Knead and mix the flour with one hand, while adding the milk or water with the other. Make a dough that is neither too stiff nor too soft, and when perfectly smooth set the dough to rise in a moderately warm place, covering with a cloth. Remember that if you use milk to make the dough, the milk must be heated to the boiling point, and then allowed to grow tepid. Let the dough rise for five or six hours, and when increased to twice its bulk, take it and add the reserved half pound of flour, into which you will have sifted the salt. Add eight eggs, beaten very light, with the sugar and butter, and mix all well together, kneading lightly with your hands, and adding more eggs if the dough is a little stiff. Then knead the dough by turning it over on itself three times, and set to rise again for an hour or three-quarters of an hour. Cover with a cloth. At the end of this time take it up and work again lightly, and then form into Brioches, that is, work the dough gently with your hands, and then break into pieces about the size of an egg. Pat these gently, forming them into neat rolls, a little flattened, and then make one roll about twice the size of the others. This roll will form the head of the Brioche. Have ready a baking pan with a buttered sheet of paper in it, and set the central roll in the middle. Arrange around the other rolls, having at least six or eight, to form a perfect-looking cake. Cover the pan with a clean, stiff cloth, and set the cake to rise for an hour longer. When well risen, set in an oven a few degrees cooler than that used for baking Bread. If the rolls are large, let them bake an hour and a half; if medium, one hour. Some bakers and cooks glace the Brioche lightly with a beaten egg, which is spread lightly over the top, before placing in the oven. This gives the rich, glossy surface so often seen on the Brioche. Again, if you cannot afford butter, use lard, or half butter and lard, but the Brioche made with butter and milk is the most delicate and refined, and the true Creole Brioche, peculiar to New Orleans. After the Brioches are baked, set them to cool, if you do not wish to eat them hot. When serving, whether hot or cold, sprinkle lightly with powdered white sugar.