I made the poor man’s brioche from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice (BBA Challenge). I served it on Shabbos as challah along with the BBA challah. The side by side taste comparison was interesting.
I made the brioche on Wednesday and the challah on Thrusday, but the brioche tasted moister and fresher. That would be because of the much higher fat content. For the challah I used oil, and for the brioche, to keep it pareve, I used trans-fat free salted margarine and water instead of milk. My husband much preferred the brioche to the challah. Then again, he loves his challah to have more rather than less oil or margarine in it.
The crumb of the brioche was about as eggy as the challah, but had a completely different texture.
I thought I had adjusted for the saltiness of the margarine, but the brioche was a little on the salty side. But in a good way. My husband and I liked the salt level. On the other hand, I would lower the salt if I was using the brioche for babka or cinnamon rolls or something sweet like that. I cut the added salt in half, thinking that would come out right, but the Earth Balance spread is apparently pretty darn salty.
I shaped my loaves according to directions in Bernard Clayton’s The Breads of France (p. 82) for Brioche Parisienne and Brioche Nanterre. Brioche Nanterre involves small balls being placed in a zig-zag and the Briche Parisienne involves small logs of dough being placed side by side. The Brioche Parisienne baked up into pull apart slices and the Brioche Nanterre baked up into pull apart rolls.
The pull apart slices were very practical–I loved this–but the loaf made from balls was prettier. It looked almost braided. I will try this again with challah dough.