My friend Joseph and I were chatting and I asked him if he knew of a local bakery that would have Brioche, as the two I thought to check with did not. He suggested that instead of buying one, we make one together. I want it for a recipe, so I figured an experimental loaf would be fine, since it would have to fail pretty badly to not work in the dish.
Today was the day we set for the event. We were using a recipe from a French Cookbook, La Cuisine Raisonne'e. Joe said that it was the "Joy of Cooking" of Quebec.
The recipes were in french...Good thing Joseph is multilingual with a very strong working knowledge of French. Though I suppose if he were not, he also wouldn't have cookbooks in french among his collection, but still we did make the bread from the french instructions, which made the whole experience all the more fun, listening to him read it in French, translate it outloud, in his own mind in French, then speak it again to me in English. I find other languages so intriguing. Having lived my whole life in NH, the greatest exposure to another language was an occasional passing of a conversation in a store.
It was a pretty basic recipe. We are going to try a more complicated, more "authentically" France, French, recipe next time, but this one, written by Catholic nuns, came out pretty well, and will certainly work for the Roasted Parsnip Bread Pudding, that I'm going to whip up with it. You might remember that I used the recipe for Thanksgiving, but at that time I used a loaf of standard homemade bread, which was a bit different than a brioche in texture and flavor. I'm excited to see the difference with the called for bread.
I never braided dough before, and it was quite fun.
They came out well.
Joseph made his into a cinnamon bundt. He made a rectangle, brushed it with butter, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, then added raisins plumped in sherry. Folded it in half lengthwise then laid it in the pan. It was delicious!
Colby wanted some too...he didn't get any. Sad Boy.
Cooking with friends is so much fun. I used to do this quite often, during another chapter of my life, and I'd forgotten how different the experience is, compared to being alone in your kitchen. The talking and sharing makes the more mundane parts (Like hand stirring the dough, vigorously, for 10 minutes) more pleasant, and the fun parts contain so much more delight and laughs. Yes, cooking in community is quite fun. I imagine that was one of the benefits of multiple generations living together. The "women" would make dinner, not the woman singularly in her kitchen. I look forward to my girls being a bit older so we can cook meals together. Right now Mini helps, but knowing that at any point the flour could be flung or an egg dropped adds a little something to the mix, that cooking with older children and adults is enjoyably missing.
I also went to the Mustard Seed in Nottingham. My friends needed to stock their herb/spices basket, and we were letting the dough rise anyway so why not go on an adventure. They have a great selection of herbs, spices, grains, sweeteners, and herbal health supplements. I use mostly local herbs, but some aren't found locally, and spices are all imported, so if they can't come locally, buying them from a local store is the next best thing. I picked up a black pepper blend, as recommended by my friends. I also found a cute little book that is filled with recipes and information about cooking with Agave Syrup, which they also stocked. I bought the book and the syrup. I have heard great things about the Agave, and since my mom was recently diagnosed with diabetes, I really should be more diligent about limiting my own sugar intake.
The owner makes custom blend teas, of which I picked up her Mama Tea which is great for the pregnant and nursing gals. I also couldn't resist the custom blend bath salts. I selected a detox salt soak. So I think a soak in the tub with a cup of tea with a look through my new cookbook is in order!
It was a great little shop, and it's perfectly on the way to the Exeter Farmer's Market that I will be going to a few more times this Winter! So convenient. Now the tips to Exeter can include a stop at Lee Circle Antiques, The Mustard Seed, Flag Hill Winery, and Riverslea Farm...Oh what an enchanted trip along Route 125, indeed!