"THIS IS LIKE CRACK." No it's not (but it certainly could be), but A says that's how I tend to overhype stuff. The funny thing is that I know I overhype a lot of things, so I actually try not to overhype it. Because I don't want to proclaim, "THIS IS THE BEST THING I'VE EVER TASTED" about everything I try. But sometimes I can't help it, and the overhype spills out. Anyway, this is my meager attempt at NOT overhyping this bread (because it is pretty good actually and you should give it a try but I'm trying to restrain myself).
I actually had never really heard of brioche until I watched - you guessed it - The Great British Bake-Off. It's made of an enriched dough with plenty of butter, eggs, and a bit of sugar. Can't think of a single virtuous way to deliver this bread from all sorts of dietary sins, but this bread hails from FRANCE. All bets are off my friends - I chose this bread handedly over whatever coffee flavored wafer/cookie/snack thingy I held in my hand. Bread is life.
I mean just check out that thickness! This is begging to be consumed. Can you imagine sinking your teeth into such buttery, pillowy delightfulness?
I glazed over the part that said "170 cal and 7g of fat" for ONE slice and zoomed in on "wheat flour" and thought, "oh this isn't entirely bad." But then again, I guess that doesn't necessarily mean whole wheat. Never mind. This is the food you eat in front of your dieting coworkers to make them hate you. Just kidding don't actually do that. Or if you do, be sure to eat the bakery paper - maybe they will think you're on a strange new fad diet.
Mind you, I bought this bread the week that I had packed up my entire kitchen. My pantry and fridge were utterly bare. No speculoos spread, no nutella, no jam, no nothing really to spread on this gorgeous thing. No cinnamon or powdered sugar either. The internet suggested butter, which I did (as if there wasn't enough butter in this already =X). That was a near fatal decision - the aroma took over my senses and I gobbled down that toasted piece before my coffee was ready. Heh.
And then I couldn't be bothered to toast the next piece. Yes, I went for seconds. Because as it turns out, this bread tasted perfectly fine plain, un-toasted, with nothing on it. The texture un-toasted is perfectly soft and fluffy with rich egg-y, buttery flavor but without the denseness that might leave you feeling gross. There's also a hint of sweetness, enough for me to know that it's there, that is just right. Actually it was a good thing that I lacked any nutella to slather over this bread- I would have otherwise missed out on an opportunity to enjoy the simpler things in life. Toast and black coffee. Life y'all, life.
It tasted uncannily similar to the milk breads that I've had from Asian bakeries, usually filled with red bean, sweet and savory ham and egg, and other delicious fillings. Except this probably has more butter and egg, whereas asian breads tend to use milk/cream. I expected it to be on the stale or dry side, but I was surprised that it tasted surprisingly fresh and moist, even on the second and third days that I had this bread. What kind of sorcery has occurred to enable me to pick up a decently fresh tasting French bread in New Jersey???
A liked it. As did his brother. And his father. And they all had this plain. Not surprisingly considering the resemblance to Asian milk bread. And I learned an endearing new pronunciation for brioche. Can you say BRIE-YO-SHI?
A also tried to argue that while it was good he wouldn't buy this again. Are you kidding me? Don't even pretend you didn't like it. $3.99 for a loaf is more than a $2 whatever sandwich bread, but considering I don't live near a bakery that makes fresh brioche daily, I'd say this is more than a reasonable buy. Can't wait to try it as French toast. With nutella. Or as a monte cristo. Or as a croque monsieur. Come at it Middle America! And Asian-America! And everyone else for that matter!
TL;DR: Trader Joe's Sliced French Brioche. Another French gem of buttery, moist, carb-y goodness. 8.5 out of 10.
Related: Puff Pastry