Our dough technologists’ favourite foods from around the world
Tobias Zehnder is in search of the perfect brioche
Like perhaps no other country in the world, France has influenced the way we think about dining – cuisine –, the joy of living – joie de vivre – and even the art of living – savoir-vivre. Yet, it can still be easy to forget just how much wisdom and knowledge – how much savoir-faire – the French put into their culinary art.
This is especially true for their baked delicacies. Baguettes and croissants are obvious examples, being favorite breakfast foods pretty much everywhere, but perhaps a little less obvious is brioche. In France, these pastry breads made of leavened dough are in fact as popular as their puff-pastry counterparts, the croissants. For Tobias Zehnder, a dough technologist at FRITSCH, a perfect breakfast is not complete without a fresh, fluffy brioche. Describing his predilection for the French specialty:
„I like the soft, lush consistency of brioche. I’m amazed by its huge volume, which it gets from the airy dough. I also love the slightly buttery flavor, which comes from the fact that brioche has a higher butter content than a classical leavened dough“
, Tobias says.
FRITSCH now finds itself approached increasingly often by customers looking to produce it, not only from France but also from Italy.
Tobias has been a dough technologist with FRITSCH since April 2016. In fact, he practically grew up with the company, where his father, Gerhard, has now been working for more than 40 years. “Even while I was training to become a baker, I realized I wanted to work at FRITSCH one day, too,” he relates. His first step after finishing school was to do a baker’s apprenticeship in his hometown of Markt Einersheim. Just a few years after his training, he moved to Austria in order to gain new experience in different bakeries. After that, he completed his master baker training at the Chamber of Crafts in Munich and an internship at the FRITSCH Technology Center (FTC). At this stage, he still felt he was lacking a certain amount of experience in the industry. After all, experience is especially important for a dough technologist who wishes to serve customers in this important segment. So, he spent another two years at an industrial bakery in Lutherstadt Eisleben before returning to FRITSCH.
Brioche – a versatile French pastry
The word brioche comes from the French verb “brier”, to knead or pound, or perhaps even to roll out dough with a rolling pin. While it has never been proven outright, it is widely accepted that brioche originates from Normandy. The region on the English Channel has been famous since the Middle Ages for the high quality of its butter, which is in turn an important ingredient of brioche. From there, the little delicacy made its way to Paris, where it secured itself a permanent place in French cuisine. The preferred time to eat brioche in France is at breakfast, but they are also served as a sweet snack with coffee in the afternoon. “Brioche dough is ideal for creating many new products. What is really great about it is that you can decorate it with just about any topping, like almonds, poppy seeds, coconut flakes, cocoa nibs, nuts, or dried fruits, to create all kinds of flavors,” Tobias says with enthusiasm.
A real insider tip: twisted products from brioche dough
Zehnder is willing to put all his knowledge, including the considerable experience he gained from a young age, into finding the perfect brioche recipe. “Brioche traissé”, braided from two or three strands of dough, is a typical variant of brioche. “So, for me, the obvious thing is to make even more twisted products from brioche dough – perhaps knots, small single-stranded braids, or various kinds of pretzels. Sweet yeast pretzels are very popular in Russia, for example. Unfortunately, our MULTITWIST is all too often associated with producing only classical German pretzels,” Tobias states. He hopes in the future to inspire more bakers to use the MULTITWIST to process other types of dough, like brioche dough for instance. At the FRITSCH Technology Center, he has optimal conditions for testing new recipes, products, and line configurations together with customers from all over the world.
Personally, he loves making hamburger buns from brioche dough. “The soft, fluffy buns go excellently with a good quality hamburger patty. It’s an absolute hit with my friends,” Tobias reports. His trick? In addition to the typical brioche ingredients – flour, water, sugar, salt, yeast, whole egg, and butter – he also uses the sponge and dough technique which, among other things, promotes fermentation and pore formation. Furthermore, he has even created a recipe that can be processed on the MULTITWIST.
„I slightly modified the ratio of whole egg to water, without it losing any of its structure. This gives the dough extra stability, making it easier to braid on the MULTITWIST“
, the dough expert explains.
A little about Tobias Zehnder
Tobias Zehnder is a trained master baker and a dough technologist at FRITSCH. After his training, he first worked as a baker in Markt Einersheim and in Austria, and then held an internship at the FTC before working for an industrial producer in Lutherstadt Eisleben. Brioches are his great passion, so much so that he even likes to use brioche dough to make hamburger buns. Somehow, he doesn’t share his friends’ and family’s liking for Berliner doughnuts.
The FRITSCH Technology Center
The FRITSCH Technology Center offers a fully-equipped, 4,600 m² baking centre to our customers. FRITSCH's complete line and machine programme is naturally at your service – from the smallest ROLLFIX to the industrial production lines from the FRITSCH IMPRESSA programme. This means baking technology at its best. This is how the FTC, coupled with the expertise and passion of its employees, offers our customers the best possible support.