Whole Wheat Brioche from Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day!

Cinnamon Crescent Rolls with Whole Wheat Brioche
Photo from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day | photo by Mark Luinenburg

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.


Zoë François and Jeff Hertzberg with their book Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day

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!

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243 thoughts on “Whole Wheat Brioche from Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day!

  1. That’s okay; it happens! Thanks for the correction; I’ll write it in the margins of my book when it gets here in a couple days. Can’t wait to start baking!

  2. Personally, I appreciate the mistake. It removes you from the level of bread-baking divine beings and turns you into normal humans like the rest of us. 🙂

    Thanks for the corrections. I’ve written them into my book!

  3. Just got my copy of HBin5 about a week ago. Love it! Last night I made the Msemmen, and it was scrumptious (though my cantankerous stovetop will require a few adjustments). One questio: the recipe doesn’t say when to salt the top crust. Before or after cooking? Also, the spice mixture makes an awful lot. Is that really intended for one flatbread? I had it oozing out the sides and had to remove some of it. It seems too liquid. Is it really 3 Tbsp of oil? Seems like it could do with just one.

    Anyway, I used to proof and edit books for a living. My editor-in-chief told me that the average book contains 15 errors. Don’t worry about a thing!

    Love your work. Keep it up, both of you!

  4. I just got the HBin5 book and I can’t wait! I’m craving cinnamon raisin bread. Can I add a sugar-cinnamon layer and raisins to this whole wheat brioche loaf recipe and make a sweet breakfast bread?

  5. I am so grateful that y’all post any printing errors here on the website.

    That and the fact that y’all make yourselves available to us as we work w/ your recipes.

    Makes one wonder about other cookbooks (when something doesn’t turn out). Since there’s such a long journey (out of the author’s hands) between the cook and the finished cook-book!

  6. I wondered about that amount of gluten in the brioche when I was reading the recipes. I just got the book last week after listening to a book talk with the authors in Milwaukee. I made the master recipe this weekend and am amazed at how good it is. I have baked bread for many years and have been experimenting with this process for about a year, but haven’t gotten anything as good as this. I love it!

  7. I have your first book and plan on purchasing HBin5. Before I do, are there any “whole wheat” or “whole grain” bread recipes that do not include white/all purpose flour in the book?

    1. Absolutely, about a quarter of our “master” recipes are 100% whole grain– I think there are about 10 of them. Jeff

  8. I want SO much to get your book and use your recipes, but I’m trying my best to stay away from yeast.

    What do you think about soaking grains (using whey, etc.) and sourdough recipes?

    1. Roxanne: Sourdough (natural airborne yeast without any commercial yeast added to the mixture) works with stored dough, but I found it a bit too temperamental to use in our books. But if you’re motivated…

      I haven’t tried these “soaking” techniques yet…

  9. Zoe and Jeff! Don’t worry about errors, they happen. Instead pat yourselves on the backs for making so many versions of truly GREAT bread available to the masses!

    I helped in my own small way. Was asked to do an ABin5 “tutorial” at a retreat for my knitting group in ME this summer. All were delighted with the brioche berry cake, egg non-McMuffin and, of course, the basic boule.

    My (your? our) new book is on the way and I tried your new basic WW recipe and was blown away by its flavor and shape. Love the seeds. Wow and thanks!

    1. Thank you Margot!

      I appreciate your understanding. We worked so hard not to have this kind of mistake, but in the end we are all human and it happens.

      I’m thrilled that you have tried the recipe from the new book and are enjoying it! And, thanks for spreading the word in ME to your knitting group. the brioche berry cake sounds amazing!

      Thanks, Zoë

  10. I love the new book! Even though I haven’t made any of the recipes yet. I want to read the whole book first, the information in this book is great! How wonderful to have a Dr. and a baker to write about bread baking!

    One question-I used bread flour instead of all purpose as recommended for our altitude of 7000 feet. Very good results. Now with the new recipes with more whole grains, is this still a good substitution to make? Does the VWG make a difference in this case?

    1. Hi Linda,

      The VWG will add the same kind of structure and strength to the dough that you would get from using bread flour. You could still use bread flour in place of AP for these recipes, plus the VWG. You will probably have to add a touch more water to compensate for the additional protein this will add.

      Thanks for reading the book and I hope you enjoy all the breads!


  11. One of the best things about your books, is the fact that you put the errors on the website. So many times, you can tell a recipe is wrong, but not exactly sure why. I like the fact that you admit books don’t always come out right, and you aim to fix it.

    My first batch of wheat from the new book is rising now. Mine seemed much wetter than the recipes in the first book. We eill see how it comes out.

    1. Hi Laura,

      Thank you for understanding, we so appreciate it. The errors are such a disappointment to us!

      How did the dough come out after resting and sitting in the refrigerator? Those whole grains can act as such a sponge after the full rising time. Did it all come together well in the end?

      Thanks, Zoë

  12. Jeff–

    LOL! Just how “motivated” do I need to be to attempt sourdough as my stored dough?

    I get the feeling I’d be way over my head to even attempt it…

    1. Hi Roxanne,

      You can do it! 🙂 It just takes a bit more time to get a loaf in the oven, but it is worth the effort to check it out!

      Let us know if you try it! Zoë

  13. You know, I thought that gluten measurement looked a little odd when I read through a couple days ago . . . I sort-of assumed it was 1/4 cup. 🙂 I was hoping to try it out to test the theory, but with two batches of bread that didn’t turn out so well I am thinking my really old gluten probably isn’t good anymore – so I have to wait.
    Lovely job!
    PS – one mistake in over three hundred pages?? I wish my track record was so good.
    And Zoe, I was very sorry to hear about your grandfather. It isn’t the nicest transition in life – we’ll be praying for you.

  14. Have you got a conversion sheet for grams?
    I have enough conversion charts but I prefer to know when you measure out the ingredients, how many grams you get. A one page conversion could easily be printed out and pasted into the book for those of us who prefer metric. Thank You.

    1. Sarah: we don’t have a conversion sheet for grams, just what’s in the book. You could easily generate this from Google… type the words…

      4 ounces in grams

      … and you’ll see how to use google to generate whatever you need. Jeff

  15. I wore out your first book and intend to do the same with this one. Must I include
    V.W.G in these recipes? Is the density of the bread the only thing that changes??

    1. Jessie: No, everything changes. It’s too dense to store, and my guess is that you will not like the result for most of them. If on the other hand you use everything up quickly, not as big a deal. But you’d have to decrease the water, and I’m not sure exactly how much. So I really wouldn’t recommend this. Jeff

  16. I forgot to ask, do you ever visit Miami?
    Its been very hot down here, however it does not stop me from making your bread. I just crank up my airconditioner.

    1. Jessie: Miami is a very hard media market to break into, for some reason. But we may have a trip to FL– to Tampa and Orlando in November. Jeff

  17. Love your books! I will be cooking at a summer camp and want to use some of your recipes..could you suggest the largest amount I should make up in a batch? Triple or X4 work ok do you think? Be great to serve fresh cinnamon rolls for breakfast…Thanks for any ideas…and the mistake is no big deal! Thanks for correcting so fast!

    1. Cindy: There’s no technical barrier to batch size, but eventually you’ll need commercial equipment to mix it. And be sure your buckets are big enough. Triple or quadruple may be a bit hard to mix by hand, but give it a try.

      Thnx re: the errors… It’s hard, but it happens. Jeff

  18. The wheat bread is terrific – so flavorful. I’m making it today for my ABin5 class as a teaser for the January classes. We’re doing “orange” breads today, the Oatmeal Pumpkin Seed bread and Vermont Cheddar. I love teaching these classes because the students are so successful and proud!

  19. What seed combination do you prefer to top the WWMaster Recipe?

    Would love to have a clue what’s topping the Cover Picture

    I’ve made it & it’s wonderful!

    1. Hi Helen,

      The seed mixture can be anything your heart desires, but we do have the actual recipe for the one on the cover in the book.

      Thanks and happy baking! Zoë

  20. Jeff,
    The way you measure is different from the way I measure. If I measure 10 cups of flour, and you measure 10 cups of flour we could easily have two cups of flour difference between us. Are the recipes that flexible?

    1. Sarah: Yes, volumes can vary– you may be happier using the weight equivalents in our second book, that doesn’t vary. Or just measure exactly as we specify in the book– scoop gently, and then sweep with a spatula or knife.

      The recipes are definitely NOT flexible enough to be off by 20%….. Jeff

  21. Is it in the book? Which recipe?

    It looks like sunflower, sesame, poppy & caraway….but proportions?

    I like trying recipes the way they’re written 1st. THEN I start to play


  22. Quick question about salt…
    What can I do if I either forget it or leave it out intentionally because I want to soak the grains? I make my traditional 100 % whole wheat by soaking the freshly milled flour in acidulated water. It causes an enzymatic reaction that decreases the phytic acid. Salt inhibits that process. I would love to incorporate that process with some of these recipes…

    Thanks for any tips!

    1. You can skip the salt, but of course, the final result will not taste the same. Many readers on low or zero-salt diet are working with this— we talk about it in the new book. Jeff

  23. The new book makes great reading, can hardly wait to start baking. I notice that in the first book, those of using a mixer were using the dough hook, but in this book, we’re told to use the paddle. Why the difference?

    1. Linda: Especially for the whole grain breads, the KitchenAid (or other brand) with the paddle does a better job quickly getting all the solids incorporated. The dough hook was really designed for drier doughs. If we had it to do over again, we’d probably specify the paddle for both books.

  24. Hi Jeff and Zoe, congratulations on your new book. I’ve had so much success with your first book so much so I haven’t bought commercial bread for a month now 🙂 I can’t wait for your next book to arrive in the mail.

    Can I ask if I can substitute bread flour if the recipe calls for all purpose flour in both of your books? Do I need to make adjustments to the amount of water if doing so? It’s just that I have a stack of bread flour that I’d like to use up. Sorry as I’m sure this question has been raised in the past.

    Kind regards,

  25. I tried the recipe but it is not very chewy but has consistency of banana bread. Not much bounce to it. Is that normal?

    1. Hi Jason,

      I’d say it is lighter in texture than the banana bread that I make, but I’d agree that it is not chewy like the master recipe. Because of the addition of the oil/butter and eggs it has a texture that is more cakey. Is that what you are finding?

      Thanks, Zoë

  26. Had a great time at your book talk/signing in Milwaukee .. I now have two tubs of dough in my refrigerator and have been making a small loaf of either white or whole wheat dough (or both) almost every day. I will need to cut back a bit (it’s hard to eat just a little of this bread). Anyway, wanted to let you know how much I’m enjoying the bread. I’ll try this brioche dough next.

    1. Hi Carl,

      Thank you so much for coming out to visit us in Milwaukee, what an amazing town! I’m thrilled that you are enjoying the breads.

      Happy baking, Zoë

  27. After succeeding beautifully with your first book, I am crushed to describe my first whole grain effort as “concrete frisbees.” Is Hodgson’s Mill graham flour different than other whole wheat flours?

    1. Hi Marina,

      Yes, it is a much courser and rough ground flour. It will work wonderfully in the Graham Cracker Bread, but it is not really meant to be used in place of the whole wheat. The Hodgson’s Mill flours tend to be a little courser than other brands in general. If you try the basic recipe with a brand that has a slightly finer grind I think you will have terrific success. If you want to adapt the loaf to the Hodgson Mill’s product you will want to add a bit more Vital Wheat Gluten and a touch more water to compensate for the large pieces of bran in the flour that tend to cut at the structure of the dough.

      I hope this is helpful. You can tailor the dough to any flour, but it will take a bit of play!

      Thanks, Zoë

  28. I am munching on a tasty slice of Becky’s Seeded Oat bread, but do not try my shiny crust method! In my haste to get the loaf into the pre-heated cast iron pot, I not only forgot to slash, I forgot the plastic wrap! After 2/3rds of the baking time, I pulled the lid off and there was a slightly pale and shiny loaf with curling edges. Is there a place to post our baking “secrets”? I haven’t gotten used to covering the resting dough. The bread is very good! Without the wrap.

    1. Hi Linda,

      Did the plastic peel off of the dough? Were you able to salvage the loaf. I love this bread and hope you enjoyed the bread, after taking off the plastic! 😉

      Thanks, Zoë

  29. I bought both of your books… love them. I was wondering why HBin5 didn’t have nutrition and dietary information such as calories, fat, sugars, fiber protein etc. I was hoping it would have been included.

  30. In your new book HBin5 you say you can use some beer. How much beer would I use to to replace some of the water? I am guessing this will make a much more yeasty taste of bread…that we like. Love your books… Thanks.. Jo

  31. 2 things

    1st I want to share how much fun it was today to go to a little independent bookstore and meet Dr Jeff and Zoe. Warm & friendly & passionate about baking bread! They brought a tub w/ dough in it (good to see how a 4-day-old-dough looks) and demo-ed forming loaf, on request. If you’ve a chance? GO!

    Then, I’d like to share where my newly signed copy of ABin5 is going next week. Last week I was at my CSA (doing a work trade) filling boxes. The manager had just done a trade w/ one of the members: more milk from her goats for the cheese the other woman had made. There was bread from a local organic bakery.

    So….watching these women eat freshly made goat cheese….you KNOW I had to tell them about ABin5 & HBin5. So: ABin5 is coming w/ me to be loaned out so these women can learn to easily make the bread to go w/ their goat cheese.

    All said conversation happening in the packing barn of an organic farm, surrounded by almost 200 boxes of freshly harvested produce.

    Thought you’d like the mental picture!

  32. I just made the brioche dough, patiently waiting for the rise. I am glad that you corrected the recipe, as there were a few other confusing issues in the description part of process. (I am a bread making newbie). I am so excited to try the end product. The first few chapters on the ingredients, supplies and the science behind the bread making process were fantastic.

    1. Thanks Samantha (same Samantha from Omnivore Books in SF?

      Helen: Thanks for your questions yesterday. Love this picture, want that cheese on my own bread! Part of why I started baking so much was to be able to eat organic bread for a reasonable price.

      Thanks, Jeff

  33. Book #1 was wonderful. Book #2 looks perfect.
    I grind my own flour which worked fine for the basic recipe. In using my flour for the Vollkorn bread, the wheat berries did not soften as much as I think they should. Should I pre-soak them or add more water to the recipe?

    1. Not sure, Dawn. I can’t figure why you should have gotten a different absorption with home-ground stuff, but it does absorb more water. Just try a little more next time– maybe a quarter cup more water? Jeff

  34. The plastic wrap did peel off before the loaf was finished baking. The crust survived with only small bits of plastic to pull off before slicing. I won’t make that mistake again!

  35. I forgot to add that I waited more than the required 24 hours before starting to bake. We are eating our way through some mighty-fine tasting bread at a fast clip. Yum!

    1. Barby: assuming that your starter is half water and half flour after you activate it, you can put in about a cup and a half of activated starter, reducing the flour in our recipe by 3/4 cup, and the water by 3/4 cup as well. You can then decrease the commercial yeast in the recipe, but don’t go to zero on the yeast. Stored dough becomes temperamental without any commercial yeast at all. See our post on decreasing the yeast dose at http://artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=85.

  36. I live part of the time in the mountains at 9,000
    feet. Can you recommend any change in ingredients or process because of high altitude?

  37. I love, love your books. I have both of them. I was at Wegmans yesterday and they had a brioche bread there that was wonderful, it had a strong orange taste and had candied oj peel and dried cranberries, how could I make something like that with your brioche recipe. It was called a Cranberry orange Brioche. Thank-you for any help.

    1. Hi Suzie,

      It sounds like it may be like the Panettone or Stollen doughs from the books. You could simply add orange zest and dried cranberries to the brioche dough. It may take some playing to determine how much zest is the right amount!

      Let me know how it goes, sounds delicious! Zoë

  38. Too late for me– just made the original recipe with 2 1/4 cups of gluten–thought it was way too much–guess I will have to throw it out and start all over! Ouch!$!$!$!$!$! Now I am bummed!

  39. Do different brands of VWG have different amounts of protein? I compared the wheat gluten flour I was getting in bulk and the Bob’s Red mill VWG and the Bob’s had a higher listing for protein per 1/4 cup.

    1. Hi Brooke,

      They may vary slightly, but I don’t think that is will be enough to detect in the recipes. The higher protein will provide slightly better stretch which will mean more rise for a whole grain bread that is being stored! You can always add an extra tablespoon of the VWG you are getting in bulk to the recipe and see if you like the result better.

      Let me know how it turns out! Zoë

  40. Can diastatic malt be used instead of vital wheat gluten? Also, with your recipes that call for greasing a non-stick pan, what do I do if I prefer to use an old-fashioned pan that is not non-stick?

    1. AT: No, you can’t use diastatic malt (or any other kind of malt) in place of VWG. Malt is just a sweetener derived from malted barley; VWG is a gluten protein extract of wheat that will make whole grain breads rise better and keep rising power in the fridge. Malt won’t accomplish that at all. Jeff

  41. I baked the last two pounds of Becky’s Seeded Oat bread in two loaf pans. I don’t have non-stick pans but nothing sticks to the anodized aluminum loaf pans I use. The crust color and crunch is the same on the top and inside the pan. These are new pans, not well seasoned, 18 gauge aluminum. I used no-stick spray. The dough rested over 90 minutes and came right out of the pan. Your results may differ.

    1. Hi Linda,

      That is wonderful! So glad it came out well. Some of the doughs that have a portion of oil or fats tend to be better at slipping out of the pan.

      Enjoy the bread! Zoë

  42. Love your new book (as well as the original), Jeff and Zoe! I’m making the Whole Grain Garlic Knots right now. The recipe calls for Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, but it doesn’t say when to add it. Help?!

  43. Wanted to let you know that I made your Pumpkin Pie Brioche – absolutely yummy on its own, especially with some berry jam – however I made a Bread Pudding with it. It was simply amazing – and I don’t even like Bread Pudding! I just decided to make it for the family. I had no problem eating the pudding made with this bread. What a great bread and what a great pudding it made, due to its flavors and slight density. So fitting for this time of the year. Thanks!

    1. Hi Vera,

      I’m so thrilled you made this dough! I have been baking this loaf for a month solid because my family just loves it! I too made it into a bread pudding and had to give some of it away so I wouldn’t eat the WHOLE thing! 🙂

      Thanks! Zoë

  44. Looking forward to your new book as I just got through reading your first one tonight. I loved it even though I haven’t made anything yet haha.

    Quick question, though, I notice that several of your recipes call for some rye even though it’s not a rye bread (i.e. the Oatmeal Pumpkin bread). I absolutely hate rye….is there anything I can sub since it’s a small amount called for? Thanks!

    1. Ashley: Sure, just throw in the same amount of whole wheat, white whole wheat, or spelt. Shouldn’t make any difference, except subtly in the flavor. Jeff

  45. Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and for my autographed cookbook! It was a pleasure meeting you and learning the MD side of how you make your bread. I honestly cannot wait to dig in and try some recipes out.

    They all sound so fantastic and I LOVE hte pictures too!

    I’ll keep you posted on if I can make it work.


  46. I just wanted to say thank you for offering up your book – I was at the Foodbuzz Festival this past weekend, and I can’t wait to try my hand at baking with these recipes!

    It was great to meet both of you!

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