Whole grain bread is the bread we should eat and even the bread we want to eat but somewhere between our healthful ideals and our taste buds we frequently opt for white bread instead of whole grain. Peter Reinhart understands this conundrum and has a solution - great tasting whole grain breads! In his latest cookbook "Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads" he provides us the techniques and recipes to create wonderful whole grain breads in our kitchen.
The book begins with details on the fundamentals behind baking science and his delayed fermentation approach. Building upon these fundamentals Peter then presents us with recipes for "The Breads" ranging from whole grain sandwich breads, to specialty breads, bagels, and even crackers. Most of the recipes begin with a starter pre-dough and also require a biga, soaker and/or mash. Peter details the recipes and techniques well but be warned most of these recipes typically require a two-day process, see for example the recipe of "Whole Wheat Brioche" below. The result is exceptional whole grain bread and for those who frequently make home made bread adapting to Reinhart's approach will be straightforward.
Whole Wheat Brioche
From Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads by Peter Reinhart, Ten Speed Press, 2007
Makes 1 large or 12 small loaves
This whole wheat version is almost an oxymoron: brioche is, by definition, rich, buttery, white flour bread. But there is no reason why we cannot indulge once in a while in rich, buttery, whole grain bread. Brioche is a very versatile bread that can be used for French toast, bread pudding, tea sandwiches, or toast points for appetizers. It can be flavored with vanilla and used for tender pie and tart dough. It can also be wrapped around meats and mousses for Wellingtons, terrines, and ballotines.
The name brioche derives from the Old French word broyer, which means "knead" or "break up," as the dough usually takes a long time to mix because softened butter is added gradually. However, with the delayed fermentation method and the technique of adding melted butter to the soaker, the kneading time is greatly reduced in this version. The classic brioche à tête (meaning "brioche with a head") is the most popular presentation, and many home bakers now have small brioche molds in which to make these. Otherwise, a Kugelhopf pan or muffin tins work well. Shaping instructions for brioche à tête are at the end of this article.
|Volume|| Ounces||Grams ||Ingredient ||Percent |
|1 3/4 cups || 8||227 ||whole wheat flour|| 100|
|1/2 teaspoon|| .14|| 4||salt|| .75|
|1/2 cup || 4|| 113||whole milk, scalded and cooled || 50|
|1 cup || 8|| 227||unsalted butter, melted|| 100|
|Total || 20.14|| 571|| || 251.75|
1. Mix all of the soaker ingredients together in a bowl for about 1 minute, until all of the flour is hydrated and the ingredients form a ball of dough.
2. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate the soaker overnight or up to 3 days. Leave it in the refrigerator until you are ready to mix the final dough. This is the one soaker that should be chilled, as the butter must be firm when you mix the final dough.
|Volume|| Ounces||Grams ||Ingredient ||Percent |
|1 3/4 cups || 8|| 227 ||whole wheat flour|| 100|
|1/4 teaspoon|| .03|| 1||instant yeast|| .4|
|4 large || 6.5|| 184||eggs, slightly beaten|| 81|
|Total || 14.53|| 412|| || 181.4|
1. Mix all of the biga ingredients together in a bowl to form a ball of dough. Using wet hands, knead the dough in the bowl for 2 minutes to be sure all of the ingredients are evenly distributed and the flour is fully hydrated. The dough should feel very tacky. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then knead it again with wet hands for 1 minute. The dough will become smoother but still be tacky.
2. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days.
3. Leave the biga in the refrigerator until you are ready to make the final dough (this is the one time it is preferable to work with cold ingredients because of all the butter). It will have risen slightly but need not have risen significantly in order to use it in the final dough
|Volume|| Ounces||Grams ||Ingredient |
|Use all || 20.14|| 571||soaker|
|Use all|| 14.53|| 412||biga|
|5/8 teaspoon|| 4.5||5||salt|
|5/8 teaspoon|| .18|| 5||instant yeast|
|2 1/4 teaspoons|| .25|| 7||sugar|
|3 tablespoons|| 1.5|| 42.5|
extra whole wheat flour for
adjustments, 1 egg beaten
with 1 tablespoon water
and a pinch of salt for egg wash
|Total || 41.1|| 1165.5|| |
1. Using a metal pastry scraper, chop the chilled soaker and the biga into 12 smaller pieces each (sprinkle some of the extra flour over the pre-doughs to keep the pieces from sticking back to each other).
2. If mixing by hand, combine the soaker and biga pieces with all of the other ingredients except the extra flour and stir vigorously with a mixing spoon or knead with wet hands until all of the ingredients are evenly integrated and distributed into the dough. The dough should soften as the butter warms up and be slightly sticky; if not, add more flour or water as needed. If using a stand mixer, put the pre-dough pieces and all of the other ingredients except the extra flour into the mixer with the dough hook. Mix on slow speed for 3 to 4 minutes, occasionally scraping down the bowl, until the pre-doughs become cohesive and assimilated into each other. Add some of the extra flour or more water as needed until the dough is soft and slightly sticky.
3. Dust a work surface with flour, then roll the dough in the flour to coat. Knead the dough by hand for 3 to 4 minutes, incorporating only as much extra flour as needed; the dough should feel cold, firm, and slightly tacky. Form the dough into a ball and let it rest on the work surface for 5 minutes.
4. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces (or as many as desired) and round each into a smooth ball. Butter or grease 12 brioche molds or a 12-slot muffin tin. Form each of the pieces into a brioche à tête (see below) or whatever shape you prefer; you can also shape the dough into one large or two smaller sandwich loaves. Mist the top of the dough with pan spray (optional), cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature for approximately 3 hours, until it has grown to 1 1/2 times its original size.
5. Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). When the dough is ready to bake, carefully brush the tops with egg wash, place on the middle shelf, lower the temperature to 400°F (204°C), and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the breads and continue baking for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the breads are a rich, reddish brown all over (lift one from the mold and check the bottom and sides). They should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom and register at least 195°F (91°C) in the center.
6. Remove the breads from their molds, transfer them to a cooling rack, and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.
|Rich dough ||delayed fermentation method; commercial yeast |
|Days to Make||2|
|Day 1||Soaker and biga, 20 minutes set up and mix; overnight autolyse|
2 to 15 minutes mixing
3 1/2 hours shaping and proofing
20 to 50 minutes baking
Commentary: As with most of these whole wheat breads, you can make a multi-grain version by substituting the soaker on page 102 in place of the whole wheat soaker.
Brioche can be made with a little butter, or a lot, and still be considered brioche. Our version uses 40% butter to flour, though I have seen and made versions that go up to 100% butter (and down to 25%). The 40% version offers a middle ground from which the greatest number of tasty products can be made.
This soaker is unlike any other because the melted butter makes up most of the liquid. It will firm up overnight in the refrigerator, causing the soaker to feel thicker than others, but that will change when you make the final dough.
You can even use a bundt pan or kugelhopf mold to make a coffee cake-style brioche (as shown here). Whip 1 tablespoon softened unsalted butter with 1 teaspoon of whole wheat flour. Brush this butter paste on walls of the pan, including the tube. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sliced almonds into the pan, turning the pan to distribute the almonds so that they stick to the inside wall of the pan. Form the prepared brioche dough into a round bagel shape and drop it over the tube to fill the pan three-quarters full. Proof and bake at 325°F (163°C) for 45 to 55 minutes.
Because of all the butter, the dough must be cold in order to shape it. This means it will take much longer to rise than the other doughs in this book - about 3 to 4 hours, depending on the ambient temperature.
There is no bulk fermentation stage; after the final mixing, the dough is shaped and then proofed right away.
Shaping brioche à tête
(A) Roll one end of small, brioche dough balls into a cone. (B) Poke a hole in the round, fat half and slip the cone end through it so that a nub of dough comes though to make a "head." (C) Pan the shaped dough in brioche molds.
|Baker's Formula || Percent|
|Whole wheat flour|| 100|
|Salt || 1.6|
|Instant yeast|| 1.4|
|Egg || 32|
|Unsalted butter|| 39|
|Total || 200|
|Calories (kcal) || 123.85|
|Protein (g) || 3.38|
|Carbohydrates (g) || 14.31|
|Dietary fiber (g) || 2.20|
|Total sugars (g)|| 1.56|
|Fat (g) || 6.55|
|Saturated fat (g) || 3.81|
|Trans fatty acid (g) || .17|
|Cholesterol (mg)|| 38.57|
|Sodium (mg) || 117.28|
About Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor
With this whole grain follow-up to the acclaimed BREAD BAKER'S APPRENTICE, home and professional bakers will be making whole grain loaves so delicious that they put white breads to shame. After much tinkering and trial and error (with help from more than 250 recipe testers), beloved baking instructor Peter Reinhart has improved and simplified his groundbreaking delayed fermentation method to successfully meet the whole grain challenge with less hands-on time in the kitchen. Including recipes for both partial and 100-percent whole grain hearth, sandwich, and specialty breads, PETER REINHART'S WHOLE GRAIN BREADS is the definitive guide to baking incredible and healthful artisan-quality bread.
Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads is available at Amazon.com
Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.