Thursday, April 7, 2011

Whole Wheat Brioche

Up until a year and a half ago any attempts I had made at bread baking had been laughable  and then two very special books came into my life and changed this entirely.  Those books are Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  If you haven't seen or heard of these books, go to your local book store or go online, check them out and buy them.  I promise if you feel like a bread failure they will cure it.  I honestly can't remember the last time I bought a commercial loaf of bread, probably in a pinch but since I've been fortunate enough to be writing and working from home I generally have the time to plan ahead and prep some dough.

I love brioche, but am trying to focus more on incorporating whole grains into our diet.  Lucky for me Healthy Bread in Five has a Whole Wheat Brioche recipe in it.  I tried it a couple time with some serious fails, and began to get really frustrated until I went to the Artisan Bread in Five blog and found that there was unfortunately a typo in my printed edition of the book.  Well that made me feel so much better, knowing that I hadn't lost my bread mojo.  I don't generally share recipes from these books on the blog because I truly think everyone needs to own these books, but as they have already shared the correct recipe online I figured I could save some other people out there from the frustrations I felt with the recipe in my book and maybe convince others to go out and buy the books.  

Whole Wheat Brioche
makes enough for two 2-pound loaves

4 cups white whole wheat flour (King Arthur Flour makes a great white whole wheat)
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 Tbsps granulated yeast
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten (I use Bob's Red Mill but Hodgson Mill also makes it too)
2 1/4 cup lukewarm water
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (can substitute melted margarine or neutral-flavored oil)
3/4 cup honey
5 large eggs
egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water) to brush on loaf before baking

1. In a large tupperware or other food safe container with a lid, whisk together the flour, yeast, salt and vital wheat gluten.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the liquid ingredients. Then add them to the dry ingredients and mix them without kneading, using a spoon, a 14-cup food processor or heavy-duty stand mixer with a paddle. The dough will be loose. 
3. Cover (not airtight) and let the dough rest at room temperature until is rises and collapses, approx two hours.
4. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before using. The dough can be stored and used over the next 5 days.
5. On baking day, grease a non-stick brioche mold or and 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch nonstick loaf pan. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 2-pound (cantaloupe-sized) piece of dough. Dust the dough with more flour and quickly shape into a ball. Place the ball into the prepared pan and allow to rest, loosely covered with plastic wrap for about 1 hour and 45 minutes (dough should not feel cold and should have some spring)
6. Preheat the oven to 350F, with a rack in the middle of the oven. 
7. Just before baking, use a pastry brush to paint the loaf's top with egg wash. 
8. Bake the loaf in the center of the oven for about 40-45 minutes. For smaller or larger loaves you will need to adjust the resting and baking times. 
9.  Remove the brioche from the pan and allow to cool on a rack before slicing.

This bread is great on it's own with a bit of homemade jam, or perfect for a grilled cheese, that I promise you are going to want to stay tuned for tomorrow!  


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