For those of you that are already familiar with bostock, I need to ‘fess up that these may look like the real thing, but they are actually sort of a fake bostock. Hence the name. The bread part is an enriched sweet dough, similar to cinnamon roll dough, but it’s not brioche. Everything else follows the recipe for bostock.
I feel like there’s an unspoken rule that says one shouldn’t mess with recipes, especially French pastry recipes, but if one does, one is obligated to call it something else, especially if one changes one of the main components or ingredients for it. I feel like brioche is one of the main components, if not the main component, of bostock, and that I’m committing a major pastry sin by subbing a lesser enriched dough. And yet, having made these a few times, I think it works well.
There is a certain Seattle bakery that sells what they call Twice Baked Challah that is basically bostock, but made with Challah bread. Nowhere in their description of it online or in their display case labels do they mention the B word.
Bostock is basically a French pastry where slices of day old brioche are rejuvenated by adding a simple syrup (usually orange flavored) to soak into each slice, and then each slice is slathered with jam and frangipane, sliced almonds, then toasted until slightly browned on the edges, and finally topped with a light dusting of confectioners sugar.
I was actually planning to do a post about a type of Mexican sweet bread called rebanadas de mantequilla, which translates to “slices of butter”. It is slightly sweet dough that has been baked into a loaf, sliced, slathered with butter and then dredged in sugar. I based the dough off of a few recipes from online.
But then the internet showed me what ̶l̶o̶v̶e̶ bostock is. And it was a game changer. I was looking for another way to dress up the bread, and so searched for “sliced almonds” and “brioche” simply because the dough I made is similar to brioche. And when I saw pictures of bostock, I felt like this was the way to go with the rebanadas dough.
You might be wondering why then did I not just make a loaf of brioche to make bostock? The reason is that I already had this perfectly fine dough, and it felt like a waste to have to start over with a brioche recipe. And after looking at what goes into bostock, rebanadas de mantequilla seemed a little plain. I don’t know, I still might make a separate post for it. They are really good with coffee. Stay tuned!
What I really like about this bread dough is that it can be kneaded by hand without a stand mixer, and you don’t need to worry about doing the windowpane test, as you do for brioche. Plus, when I brought some of the fauxstock to work, several people came up to me to tell me that out of all the things I’ve brought in over the years, this was their new favorite!
While it is definitely not as rich a dough as brioche, I think I works for bostock because of what I call “the bostock treatment”, i.e., the adding of all the extras–the simple syrup, apricot jam, frangipane, and the sliced almonds and confectioners sugar. In fact, you could probably do “the bostock treatment” on almost any bread and end up with something really tasty and delicious.
Bostock is sort of like pain perdu, or French toast, but better because the different additions create contrasting textures and flavors, and it is baked, not fried. It has a soft, custard-like interior from the simple syrup and jam, and a crunchy, nutty exterior with the frangipane and sliced almonds. One website calls bostock the Beyoncé of French Toast!
For purists, use your favorite brioche dough recipe, or buy a brioche loaf from your favorite bakery. For me, I’m content with my fauxstock. 😉
Fauxstock (partly based on videos for rebanadas de mantequilla, and Martha Stewart’s recipe for bostock)
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 and 1/8 teaspoons active dry yeast (1/2 packet)
3 Tablespoons whole milk, lukewarm
2 cups bread flour, plus extra for working dough
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 ounces unsalted butter, tablespoon sized slices, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Vegetable oil for greasing bowl and pan
1 egg yolk
1 Tablespoon honey, optional
Apricot jam, about 3/4 cup
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, cut into small cubes
5 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon rum
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
after the second bake:
about 1/2 cup of sliced almonds and some confectioners sugar for dusting over each slice.
Place the milk into a bowl and take about 1/4 teaspoon from the 2 Tablespoons of sugar and add the yeast to the lukewarm milk and gently stir, then leave it alone for 5-10 minutes until milk is bubbly and frothy. Start over if milk isn’t bubbly or frothy after that time period.
Place 2 cups flour into a medium bowl and add the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, the remaining amount of the sugar. Stir with a whisk several times to ensure flour ingredients well dispersed.
Add cubes of soft butter and cut into the flour mixture, similar to making pie crust. Use plastic dough scraper, two knives, or your fingers to cut butter into flour mixture until pea-sized butter is well dispersed throughout the mixture.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture in the bowl and pour the eggs, vanilla, and the mlk/yeast mixture in the center and stir with a wooden spoon until dough starts to form. I used my plastic dough scraper.
When all the flour is moistened, dough will be very sticky. Keep stirring with a wooden spoon and eventually you will see a dough form. Add a Tablespoon of flour at a time, maximum 1/4 cup, if needed, to help remove dough sticking to the spoon or your hands. Scrape dough onto a well floured work surface and knead for about 8-10 minutes.
After kneading for about 8-10 minutes, dough should be smoother and elastic. Shape dough into a ball and place in a well oiled bowl, turning once to coat entire surface of dough with oil.
Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Leave bowl undisturbed in a warm area without a draft, until dough is doubled in size, about an hour.
After dough has doubled in size, punch ball of dough down to deflate, transfer to floured surface, knead it a little, and pat down and shape into a rectangle roughly about 6 inches by 8 inches, with the 6-inch side closest to you. Grease a tea cake loaf pan, 12 x 4.5 x 2.5
For shaping the dough for the pan, I used the first method featured in this video, which I will attempt to describe below, but sometimes it’s better to just watch a video to know what I’m trying to say:
Fold the two sides to the center. Pat down. Fold the bottom up to the center. Pat down. Fold the top to the center. Pat down. Fold down from the top towards the middle and use the heel of your hand to seal the dough. Repeat a second fold down from the top and again use your heel to seal. Seal the seam by pressing together with you fingers and also firmly slapping down the dough. Roll the dough to lengthen it if it is too short for the length of the pan. With the seam side at the bottom, Place in the greased pan and pat down to spread out evenly in pan, filling all corners. You may need to pat down several times.
Using a blade or sharp knife, make an incision down the length of the dough. This allows the dough to expand without splitting on one side making the top uneven.
Place a lightly greased piece of plastic wrap (I used baking spray) over the pan and let rest for about one hour until dough has risen again. It doesn’t have to be doubled in size.
When ready to be baked, whisk egg wash ingredients together. Remove plastic and brush entire top surface of loaf with egg wash.
Bake loaf at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes, or until browned on top and knocking on the top yields a hollow sound. Remove from oven. Gently loosen sides with a sharp knife, remove loaf from pan, and let cool on a wire rack.
When cooled, cut into equal thick slices. You should have about 10 equal sized slices. Ideally, let this sit out for a day until stale, but you can also just make bostock right away!
For simple syrup, add the water and sugar into a small saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil, then remove from heat at once and add the vanilla extract.
For almond frangipane spread, first add the almonds and sugar in the food processor and pulse until finely ground until almonds and sugar are mixed and resemble coarse sand or cornmeal. Add the rest of the ingredients and continue to pulse until smooth spread is achieved.
Assembly of bostock slices:
Brush both sides of each slice generously with the simple syrup. Alternatively, transfer the syrup to a 9 x 13 x 2 casserole pan and briefly dunk each side of each slice, letting it drip somewhat before placing on baking sheet. Lay each slice on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Spread some jam, about a tablespoon, on the top side of each slice, followed by spreading about 1-2 tablespoons of the almond frangipane. Sprinkle each slice with desired amount of almond slices.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes until frangipane looks just slightly browned.
Let cool until just slightly warm before sifting confectioners sugar over each slice.
You can also freeze these singly or in a group, just make sure you thaw them up to room temperature before reheating in an oven on a parchment lined baking sheet for about 10 minutes at 375 degrees F.
Makes about 10-11 slices, depending on thickness. You want each slice to be thicker than an inch. Can double recipe if you want to make more.