The brioche dough in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day was the very first recipe I developed after meeting Jeff and deciding to write the book together. It seemed a natural place to start considering my pastry chef roots and absolute love of this quintessential enriched bread. I had plenty of experience making it the traditional way after working in a restaurant with Andrew Zimmern. He put a fabulous sandwich on the lunch menu that was served on fresh brioche. I went to work early, got the butter to just the right temperature, made sure the room was also at the proper temperature and then set about on the long journey which is brioche dough. Too much work, although fabulous. Fast forward a decade and I meet Jeff, he introduces me to his method and I try melting the butter and just dumping it, along with all the other ingredients in a bucket and quickly stirring. Low and behold I have a luxurious brioche dough in a couple minutes of stirring. I was thrilled and only wished I’d figured this out when Andrew set that lunch menu all those years ago.
For Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day we still wanted to offer a variation of sweets and enriched breads, but they had to fit with our goal of healthier ingredients. This meant less white flour, less sweeteners, less fat and yet still delicious, tender and rich. It took some time to develop, but we came to just the right balance and now I use this whole wheat brioche dough for everything from a Tarte Tatin crust to my kids’ sandwiches.
In the final push of producing the first edition of the Healthy Bread book some numbers were switched around and it makes the recipe as written in the book unworkable—this only affects the very first printing of that book in 2009, and not at all in the second edition of that book (2019). We are sad to see any mistakes in the book, and in particular one that will be such a staple to our readers. We apologize and below is the correct recipe.
Whole Wheat Brioche
Makes enough dough for at least two 2-pound loaves. The recipe is easily doubled or halved.
4 cups white whole wheat flour (we use the white whole wheat for its lighter color and flavor, but it works fine with regular whole wheat)
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
2 1/4 cups lukewarm water
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted or (zero trans fat, zero hydrogenated oil margarine) or (neutral-flavored oil)
3/4 cup honey
5 large eggs
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water) for brushing on the top of loaf
The following are the basic instructions, for more details refer to the book.
1. Mixing and storing the dough: Whisk together the flour, yeast, salt, and vital wheat gluten in a 5-quart bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) Food Storage Containers.
2. Combine the liquid ingredients and mix the m with the dry ingredients without kneading , using a spoon, a 14-cup food processor or a heavy duty stand mixer with paddle.
3. The dough will be loose, but will firm up with chilled.
4. Cover (not airtight) and allow the dough to rest at room temperature until it rises and collapses, approximately 2 hours.
5. Refrigerate it for at least 2 hours before using. The dough can be stored and used over the next 5 days.
6. On baking day, grease a Non-Stick Brioche Mold or an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch nonstick loaf pan. Dust the surface of the refrigerated whole wheat brioche dough with flour and cut off a 2-pound (cantaloupe-size) piece of dough (you can make a one-pounder as well). Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball. Place the ball into the prepared pan and allow to rest, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for about 1 hour 45 minutes. (dough should no longer feel cold and will have a bit of spring to it).
7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, with a rack in the middle of the oven.
8. Just before baking, use a pastry brush to paint the loaf’s top with egg wash.
9. Bake the loaf near 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– a one-pounder should need only about 35 to 40 minutes in the oven.
10. Remove the brioche from the pan (see page 50) and allow it to cool on a rack before slicing.
My father took this picture of Jeff and me at our first book signing in Edina, MN. We would love to meet you, so please come visit us if we are coming to a book store near you. Check our book tour schedule here!