Thursday, August 14, 2008

How to Choose?

Who is more reliable? This baker:

Or this baker:

There has been much talk of brioche at our house lately, and by "much talk" I mean I brought it up once or twice. This is opposed to never, which is how often we used to talk about brioche. As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I'm very eager to dive in to the gibassier recipe I managed to track down, but the idea made My Dude a little nervous. "Maybe you should try a basic brioche first, before you go throwing down a bunch of money for orange blossom water, whatever that is."

After I took a few minutes to grumble about how he had absolutely no faith in my abilities, I had to concede the point. If I blow it, I'll certainly be glad that I didn't drop a pantload of money on orange blossom water (whatever that is), and if I succeed in making excellent brioche, well, who doesn't like to have some extra brioche around the house?

Ordinarily I would just flip open my copy of How to Bake and get to it, but then I noticed Jacques Pepin's Complete Techniques sitting on the shelf. When I compared the two recipes, I noticed a significant difference: while Nick Malgieri's recipe calls for a sponge or "preferment," Jacques's does not. So whom am I to side with here? The Italian-American baker who has yet to steer me wrong, or one of the most-respected French chefs alive today?

Ugh. I feel like the little kid in "Kramer vs. Kramer." Except that neither Nick nor Jacques know that I'm alive. But other than that? Exactly the same situation.

My fellow bakers, what would you do?

4 comments:

ClatieK said...

I have to vote for loyalty. If Nick hasn't steered you wrong so far, don't abandon him for the first charming Frenchman who comes along.

Kelly said...

I'm going to disagree with Claypoole on this one. Remember that apple/apricot tart thing I used to make? That's made with Pepin's pâte brisée, which is so, so good and amazingly easy. Stick with the Frenchman.

sarah said...

i'd go with the french guy, no question. dude, it's a brioche!

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