Classic And Creative Brioche Pastries With Joanne Chang
Those of you who have been reading this blog for a long time know that I spent a little over a year working at Flour Bakery. It was at a time in my life when I was seriously considering culinary school. I was unhappy in my editing job at the time (to the point that I was in tears pretty much every Sunday evening stressing about and dreading the week ahead), and I wanted to do something I felt passionate about. As I was searching job postings, I came across one for a baker position at Flour. I had a lightbulb moment and thought maybe I could work at the bakery and learn on the job as opposed to paying for culinary school. It was one of the best decisions I've ever made.
While at Flour, I learned so much (skills that I now apply in my everyday at-home baking), and that is mostly due to being surrounded by smart, friendly, and talented bakers, pastry chefs, and chefs, including chef/owner Joanne Chang.
I still remember painstakingly trying to get the chocolate flowing from my parchment paper piping cone to create nice letters on a cake and Joanne coming over and showing me how to write more fluidly and to focus less on each individual letter and more on how the finished words looked. My cake writing is still nowhere as nice as hers, but I definitely improved after that.
Now, Joanne has put together a class on Craftsy, so everyone can have the opportunity to learn from her, which I think is awesome. She recently asked me if I would be interested in reviewing the class, and I jumped at the opportunity. For the class, called Classic & Creative Brioche Pastries, Joanne starts with a lesson on making brioche dough and then shows you all the different pastries you can make from that dough.
While I've made several of the brioche pastries at the bakery, my shift never included making the actual dough. I did make it at home last Christmas, so I could serve my family sticky buns on Christmas morning, following the recipe in the Flour cookbook, but the Craftsy class takes following a recipe even further by letting you see the whole process from start to finish.
Joanne talks you through the entire thing; tells you visual, tactile, and even auditory clues to check for; and allays fears that may come up as you go through the process. You get her tips along the way, as well as a sense of what equipment to use and how she uses it -- things that aren't readily apparent from reading a recipe. She also tells you at what points you can store the dough or brioche pastries you create from it and what components you can make ahead to make serving the pastries when you need them easier.
You also get the ability to submit questions and get personalized answers from Joanne in case you have any struggles or are wondering about substitutions. And you can share your finished projects right on the website.
I watched the video and followed along with the accompanying recipes to make brioche dough, which I shaped into brioche à tête and cinnamon-sugar brioche buns. In the video, Joanne shows you how to make mini brioche à tête, but I only had a large mold, so I followed her directions for the small ones but improvised a bit to make a full-size one.
The cinnamon-sugar brioche buns are similar to monkey bread and really fun to make, and I also made those following her steps in the video. They came out beautifully, and we enjoyed them for breakfast all weekend.
If you're looking to improve your baking skills, I definitely recommend checking out Joanne's class on Craftsy. You'll get to see step by step how to make brioche dough and a number of brioche pastries, like pain aux raisin, chocolate brioche, and the famous sticky sticky buns, as well as the components you need to assemble those pastries, like pastry cream and sticky bun goo. I was impressed at how many recipes were included in the course and just how versatile brioche is. (There are even recipes for savory treats like breakfast pizzas and ham-and-cheese pockets.)
If you'd like to check out Joanne's Craftsy class, follow this link for 50% off.
Have you taken any online cooking or baking courses?
I received complimentary access to the class, but as always, all opinions are my own.
This post contains an affiliate link to a cookbook I love. If you follow the link to purchase the cookbook or make other purchases, I'll earn a few cents.