Life as a PhD student at MIT isn't easy. Endless problem sets, exams, sponsor visits and committee meetings result in many sleepless nights. Your research work becomes your life and you feel guilty for every moment spent not working.

One of my guilty pleasures is baking. Whenever I need to celebrate or drown my sorrows, which occurs frequently as a graduate student, I find a new recipe. Over the past couple of years, I have subjected many of my friends and neighbors to my concoctions. They haven't seen anything yet!

For Christmas, I received the Flour cookbook. For those of you who don't know what Flour is, I feel sorry for you. Flour is a fantastic bakery and cafe located close to MIT. I'll often stop off here on my way home after a bad day for a sweet, sugary pick-me-up.

After receiving the cookbook, I decided with all my copious free time (yeah right) that I was in need of another project. My mission is to bake every recipe from the Flour cookbook before I graduate. Now the race is on.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Research is in the Lead!

Brioche ready to roll.
Surprise, surprise.  I'm behind on my baking posts.  Things have been a bit crazy lately, making it difficult to keep up with the posts.  Luckily, it's now summer, and my Sidney-Pacific Presidential duties are nearly over (one more day to go!).  I'm going to make a serious effort to catch up on my baking and my posting.

This post is actually for some treats that I made back in March.  I know, I've been really bad.  I used the leftover brioche dough to bake up some awesome brioche au chocolat according to the recipe on page 78 of the cookbook.  Since I LOVE chocolate and breakfast treats, I knew this one would be a winner.

This recipe was actually super simple since I already had the brioche dough made from my sticky bun adventure.  All I needed to do was thaw it out, whip up some pastry cream, assemble, proof and bake.  OK, so maybe it's not super simple, but at least the one step was out of the way.

The magic of the baking is shown in the pictures.  I rolled out the dough into a precision 20" by 5" rectangle.  If you look carefully you can see my tape measure in the picture.  Every engineer needs a tape measure:).  I topped the dough with the pastry cream and folded and sliced into 10 pieces.  

Ready for the oven.
One of the great things about this recipe is that you can freeze the made up dough and pull it out when needed.  This meant I got to enjoy broiche au chocolat for the next 5 Sunday mornings :).  

The finished product.
With the pastries divided up, it was time to proof the dough and after a couple hours, the dough was pillowy, soft and ready to go in the oven.  After 30 minutes, they came out golden brown and absolutely delicious.  This is my favorite recipe in the cookbook so far!   Only 101 more recipes to go.  Can I pull this off?

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