03 September 2010

Butterless Brioche

I've been developing a brioche bun for one of our customers.  The first sample I sent was a formula based on the Challah formula which is currently in production.  I want to eliminate the frustrations for myself as well as the mixing team so I went with a concept they are already very familiar with.  I took the basic Challah dough and I added gobs of butter, 30% of the flour weight to be exact.  When the customer received the samples they requested the buns be richer, sweeter, and more yellow in color.  The customer also told advised, we are competing against La Brea Bakery's brioche buns.

I went back to my formula and made a few changes: more sugar, more eggs, little here, little there.   It's kinda like making a pot of soup only not at all.  While I'm busy working on the new formula, I was given a sample of the La Brea Brioche bun.  I was expecting to be blown away.  I was not expecting to play "Where's Waldo" with the ingredient label when trying to locate the butter.  Not only is butter missing from the list of ingredients but these buns are totally fat free.  No wonder the customer can get a cheaper version from a competitor, butter is expensive and no butter is absolutely free.  Aside from the lack of butter, the buns tasted like the $.99 special, grocery-store-branded buns I bought for our last picnic.  Sorry, I got a little carried away with myself.  I didn't actually buy the grocery store buns, I made them and even my butter-less buns had more flavor than the La Brea Brioche.

How is it possible to sell butter-less brioche?  There are rules for labeling whole grain products and for labeling nutrient contents but I don't think there is any governing body watching out for the butter factor.  Where are the butter lobbiests?  Why aren't they up in arms about this?  I stopped breathing for a few seconds after I read the La Brea label.  Screw the whole grain servings, I want to know how many grams of butter I'm ingesting with each slice and it better be in the triple digits.

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