Tag Archives: toast

Bostock {Toasted Brioche with Almonds}

Bostock {Toasted Brioche with Almonds}​

If you’ve ever seen fancy-looking Bostock in a bakery, you may be surprised to learn that it’s a snap to make as far as French pastry goes. The origin of the name is up for debate, but it’s sometimes also referred to as Brioche aux Amandes or “almond brioche.” All that is fine and good—almonds and brioche are enough of a selling point—but I was drawn to Bostock when I learned it’s not actually a pastry on its own, but instead a way to repurpose day-old bread. Yep, it’s the pastry equivalent of French toast! Bostock is nothing more than thick, day-old slices of brioche painted with simple syrup, topped with frangipane and sliced almonds (and sometimes seasonal fruit), and baked until golden.

Bostock {Toasted Brioche with Almonds}​

Permitting you are using store bought brioche, this recipe comes together very quickly. Simple syrup is made from equal volumes of sugar and water, and takes only five minutes to simmer. Frangipane, a sweet almond pastry cream made primarily of almond flour, sugar, butter and an egg, just needs two minutes in the blender. See? Quick and easy! Also, if you are more organized than I am, both elements can be made up to a week ahead—just make sure to let your frangipane come to room temperature before you try to spread it on the delicate brioche.

Assembly is easy as can be. Cut the stale brioche into 8 thick slices, then give each one a heavy brush of simple syrup and a luxurious smear of frangipane. Add some fresh fruit if you like, or don’t; I sliced up a nectarine for half my pastries. Sprinkle on some sliced almonds and bake your Bostock for 25-30 minutes, or until it’s puffed and browned a bit.

Bostock {Toasted Brioche with Almonds}​

One more wonderful thing about Bostock? You don’t have to let it cool completely! Definitely don’t eat it straight out of the oven, but go right ahead and enjoy it warm with a (admittedly heavy) dusting of confectioner’s sugar. It’s crispy and toasty at the edges, and the frangipane squidges against your teeth in the most satisfying way. Bostock is softer at room temperature, but still pretty dang stellar. I haven’t seen many people tell you to eat it cold, but I’ll admit that I like the leftovers straight from the fridge, too.

Bostock {Toasted Brioche with Almonds}​

Like its spiritual cousin French toast, Bostock is a genius way to repurpose leftovers into something much greater than the sum of its parts. While the classic recipe is made with brioche, you could give the Bostock treatment to a number of leftover carbs. Challah, stale croissants, and day-old waffles come to mind. You could also swap out the simple syrup for warmed jam—I’m absolutely going to try matching the flavor with my seasonal fruit topping next time! Saturday morning double cherry Bostock, anyone?!

Bostock {Toasted Brioche with Almonds}​
Bostock {Toasted Brioche with Almonds}
makes 8 servings

Simple Syrup:
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water

Frangipane:
1 cup blanched almond flour or 4 ounces blanched almonds
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold-ish room temperature, cut into cubes
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

For Assembly:
8 thick slices brioche, preferably a bit stale (mine were from 1 14oz loaf)
2 medium sliced nectarines or other seasonal fruit (optional)
2-3 tablespoons sliced almonds
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

Arrange a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

Make the simple syrup. Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat. Set aside.

Make the frangipane. In a food processor (or very good blender), pulse almond flour, all-purpose flour, salt and sugar together. Pulse in butter. Pour in egg and almond extract, and process until frangipane is a homogenous paste.

Place brioche slices in a single layer on the prepared pan. Brush each slice with simple syrup, making sure to use up all the syrup. Spread about 2 heaping tablespoons of frangipane over each slice of brioche, covering the entire top. Press in fruit, if using, then sprinkle on the sliced almonds.

Bake Bostock for 25-30 minutes, until the frangipane as begun to brown in places. Let cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes before dusting with confectioner’s sugar and serving slightly warm or at room temperature.

Bostock is best the day it’s made, but may be wrapped and kept in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
Bostock {Toasted Brioche with Almonds}​
Bostock {Toasted Brioche with Almonds}​

English Muffin Bread

English Muffin Bread Today I’m taking this blog into new territory: bread! You won’t find me feeding any sourdough starters or anything, but I have taken a chance on a few bread recipes over the last year because…well, I had some time on my hands. English Muffin Bread is my favorite by a long shot. It’s got all the craggy structure of English muffins, toasts like a dream, and is so delicious it’s kind of ridiculous.English Muffin BreadI first heard about English Muffin Bread when Rebecca posted her recipe a few years ago, and then crossed paths with it again recently while Instagramming my way through the Southern Living 1985 Annual Recipes cookbook. It looked so easy to make that I couldn’t resist giving it a go!

While my initial try was a bit dense, it was still tasty (as nearly all homemade bread is), and I soon found myself making eight more batches in an effort to nail down the perfect balance of English muffin texture, rich flavor and ease of preparation. I’m here to tell you that I succeeded.English Muffin BreadMy English Muffin Bread is a one bowl, no-knead, single rise situation. By giving this dough just a few minutes of your time and then a bit of patience, you’ll be rewarded with all the craggy texture you love in English muffins, but in a sliceable, toastable loaf. Two of them, actually.

That may sound like more bread than you need, but if you’re anything like me, you won’t have a problem getting through it. However, if you have more self-control than I do, you could freeze or gift a loaf, or just halve the recipe. Oh, and for what it’s worth, making two loaves of this bread is way less expensive than purchasing store-bought English muffins. You know, if you care about that sort of thing.English Muffin BreadEnglish Muffin Bread couldn’t be easier to make. Simply whisk together flour, a touch of sugar, kosher salt, instant yeast and a little baking soda, then stir in water and melted butter until a shaggy dough forms. Divide your dough in two, then put it in two cornmeal-dusted loaf pans. No, you didn’t miss a kneading step—thanks to the high volume of liquid and the desired texture, there’s no need to knead! <—see what I did there?!English Muffin BreadLet your dough rise for about an hour, just until it peaks over the tops of your pans. The combination of yeast and baking soda along with the single rise mean that the oven-ready dough will be very airy and a little delicate. It should be a bit wet looking and a little jiggly—be gentle with the pans so you don’t knock out any of the holey, craggy structure.Bake your loaves for 25-30 minutes as 400F, until golden all over and hollow-sounding when tapped. If you’re worried about under-baking, a food thermometer should register 190F when the bread is done.English Muffin BreadEnglish Muffin BreadTurn your loaves out onto a rack as soon as they come out of the oven, then let them cool completely. This is supremely important. Do not let the intoxicating smell of fresh-baked bread tempt you to rip into this while it’s cooling or you will find a gross, gummy mess. The hole structure needs to cool completely for maximum English muffin goodness. I find that cooling takes 2-3 hours, but that’s a small price to pay for the quality of toast you are about to consume.English Muffin BreadEnglish Muffin BreadWhile you can absolutely enjoy a slice of English Muffin Bread without doing anything to it, an extra crispy, golden brown, toasty finish really makes each slice sing. The holes and crags are emphasized, the cornmeal on the edge gets extra crunchy, the minuscule amount of butter in the dough gives it just enough richness. Like a perfectly toasted English muffin, it’s perfect with a smear of soft butter. Or honey. Or jam. Or Nutella. Or peanut butter. Or avocado. Or fried into French toast. Or made into a grilled cheese.

I’ve tried it all those ways. Quality control, y’all.English Muffin Bread

English Muffin Bread
heavily adapted from Julie L. York of Asheville, NC, via Southern Living magazine
makes 2 loaves

For the pans:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3-4 tablespoons cornmeal

Bread Dough:
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
4 1/2 teaspoons (2 packages) instant yeast
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 2/3 cups warm water

For proofing:
plastic wrap
oil, butter or cooking spray

For serving:
butter
jam
honey

Grease 2 9×5-inch loaf pans with butter. Add cornmeal and rotate pans so that the entire insides are coated in a thin layer. Tap out and discard excess cornmeal.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and instant yeast.

In a large liquid measuring cup (or other vessel) whisk together melted butter and warm water. It should be warm to the touch (90-110F) but not hot.

Whisk/stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients in two installments. Stir until a sticky, shaggy dough forms and flour is coated, then stir an additional 30 seconds to make sure things are saturated.

Grease your hands, then divide dough into prepared pans. Even dough out so that no portion is too much taller than any other. Grease 2 pieces of plastic wrap with oil, butter or cooking spray. Lay them loosely over the top of each loaf pan.

Place pans in a warm, draft-free environment for 45-60 minutes, or until the dough has risen just above the tops of the pans. While dough is rising, preheat oven to 400F.

When dough is ready, gently peel off and discard plastic wrap. Dough may seem a bit wet and jiggly. Gently place pans in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden all over. The interior temperature should be at least 190F.

Immediately turn bread out onto a rack. Let cool completely so crumb structure can set. Do not slice into bread until it is completely cool.

Slice and toast before serving with desired condiments. Leftovers will keep well-wrapped in the refrigerator for up to a week.