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Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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Brioche is noted more for its butteriness than its sweetness, containing a ratio of anywhere from 1:4 to 9:10 parts butter to flour with most versions around 1:2. It is often included in the Viennoiserie family of doughs because of its use in many applications, including loaf bread, pastry crust, and morning pastries. See laminated doughs. But its best-known version is as a small roll, baked in a flared and fluted pan, with a small topknot, known as brioche à tête (“with a head”). Between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries, brioche gradually evolved from an everyday loaf containing only small amounts of enrichments to a highly buttered dough. It found its richest expressions during the reign of King Louis XIV and onward, when it was considered as much a cake as a bread. The process of perfecting this rich dough, through the skills of bakers from Vienna and Italy, and later from Paris, has established brioche as the benchmark against which many international sweet rich breads are compared.