Crumbly Wheat Brioche

About a year ago, I decided I wanted to try making brioche.  I’d never even eaten it before, but it was so universally lauded that I thought I’d give it a shot.  I looked all over the food-blogosphere to find a recipe I could make without a stand mixer, but was almost universally told that it was “impossible” without a stand mixer, as hand mixers don’t have strong enough motors, and only insane people would do this by hand.

Because it’s me, I decided that was ridiculous, and I set about to do it with my hand mixer and my hands.  The caramel rolls I made with it were far too rich for me, but the extra I rolled into a loaf was dense, finely-crumbed, golden, egg and butter bread.  You didn’t even need to put butter on it (but we did anyway, of course).

This is not that brioche.  This is brioche I made last week when I wanted to try it again, again equipped with my hand mixer and a wooden spoon.  I got a blister and a cramped hand, and turned out a loaf no less buttery, but not with the traditional texture of bread.  I suspect it’s so crumbly because I didn’t properly develop the gluten, but I’m on the hunt for another recipe as well, and will definitely try again.

Crumbly Wheat Brioche (makes 2 loaves)

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 c. warm water (100-110 degrees)
  • 1/3 c. warm milk (100-110 degrees)
  • 5 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 525 g (3 3/4 c.) flour, half all-purpose, half wheat
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 50 g. (1/4 c.) sugar
  • 3 sticks butter, cut into tablespoons

Directions:

1.   Place warm water, warm milk, and yeast into a measuring cup.  Stir until yeast dissolves, add a teaspoon or so of sugar, and wait 10 minutes, or until mixture has doubled.

2.   Add flour and salt to bowl, mix on medium-low speed until moistened.  Scrape bottom and sides of bowl.

3.   Add eggs and sugar.  Increase speed to medium and beat until dough comes together.  It’s very crumbly, but just keep on mixing.


4.   Reduce speed to low and add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing until each is almost incorporated before adding the next.  You can also do this step by hand – I did.  It takes longer and is more difficult, but it can be done!

5.   Beat on medium-high until dough pulls away from sides of bowl, about 7 minutes.  This can be done with a hand mixer, but pay attention to whether the motor is working too hard.  I ended up only beating 2-3 minutes before working it a little further with the spoon.  To try developing the gluten further, be sure to beat the full 7 minutes or so.


6.   Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise about an hour, or until dough doubles in size.  Place in refrigerator and let rise 3 hours, lifting edges of dough every 30 minutes to let dough deflate.

7.   Divide dough in half, roughly roll into cylinders, and place in loaf pans.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, remove loaf pans and set on or near the stove while you preheat the oven to 350.  Bake about 40 minutes, or until deep golden brown on the edges and cooked through.

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