Delicious Whole Wheat Brioches à Tête
Delicious Whole Wheat Brioches à Tête Makes just over 2 pounds/ 950 grams dough, 9 brioches
- 3 large eggs (about 150 grams), at room temperature, for the dough, plus 1 large egg (about 20 grams) for egg wash
- 1/2 cup/ 120 grams ice-cold water
- 2 1/4 teaspoons/ 7 grams/ 1 (1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups/ 210 grams all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup/ 50 grams sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups/ 225 grams whole wheat flour
- 13 tablespoons/ 185 grams unsalted butter, cut into 10 to 12 pieces, at room temperature
- To make Delicious Whole Wheat Brioches à Tête At first mix 3 eggs for the dough, the water, and the yeast and stir to dissolve the yeast. Add the flour, sugar, and salt and mix on low speed until all the ingredients have come together, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Scrape the bowl if necessary to make sure all the flour is incorporated. Mix on low for another 3 to 4 minutes, until the dough is smooth and wet and resembles pancake batter.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a lint-free towel and let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour or up to 2 hours.
- Now Add the whole wheat flour and mix on low until completely incorporated.
- Add the butter to the dough piece by piece and mix on low until the butter is completely incorporated into the dough, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape the sides of the bowl and breaking up the dough with your hands if necessary to help the butter mix in.
- Once the butter is completely incorporated into the dough, mix on low for another 15 minutes, until the dough becomes sticky and soft and somewhat shiny.
- Turn the mixer up to medium-high for about 1 minute the dough by pulling at it—it should stretch a bit and have a little give. If it seems wet and loose and more like a batter than a dough, add a few tablespoons of all-purpose flour and mix until it comes together.
- If it breaks off into pieces when you pull at it, mix on medium for another 2 to 3 minutes, until it develops more strength and stretches when you grab it.
- When it’s ready you should be able to gather it all together and pick it up in one piece.
- Let Place the dough in a large bowl or plastic container and cover it with plastic wrap—the plastic should be directly on top of the dough, touching it, to prevent it from drying out.
- Let the dough proof in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or up to overnight.
- The next day, lightly flick all-purpose flour over a baking sheet.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and portion it evenly into 9 pieces, each roughly 3 1/2 ounces/100 grams. Roll each portion into a taut ball by placing it on a clean surface and cupping it with your entire hand.
- (If the work surface is floured, the dough will not “catch” on the surface and will instead slide around.) Your fingers and palm should surround the ball as if you are making a cage to trap it.
- Move your hand in a circular motion, keeping your fingers on the work surface, and firmly push the dough against the table.
- The dough should move around inside your cupped hand, rolling against the inside of your fingers and palm; each time it rolls around it will ideally catch the work surface on the bottom while the top starts to smooth and tighten.)
- Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet a few inches apart and cover them lightly with plastic wrap. Let proof in a warm place in your kitchen for about 1 hour. The balls should be soft.
- Now brush nine brioche molds with butter or spray with pan spray.
- Now you will make the tête part of the brioche: Place a ball on its side so that the bottom of the ball is facing right and the top of the ball faces left. Using the pinky edge of your hand, karate-chop the ball at approximately one-quarter of the way from the top of ball.
- Roll the edge of your hand back and forth against the dough ball, dividing it into one-quarter and three-quarters. You want to roll pretty aggressively, almost as if you are trying to sever the head of the ball.
- When you feel like you are about to lop the head off, stop rolling.
- This motion also takes practice!
- Pick up the ball and place it squarely in a brioche mold with the floppy almost-severed tête perched on top. Pinch the tête with all five fingers and squish them straight down into the brioche, all the way to the bottom of the mold. Once the tête is some-what secured, release it. Hold your index finger and middle finger together and press them deep into the dough between the tête and the base; you should press so deep that you feel the bottom of the mold with your fingertips. Remove your fingers and dip them in flour to keep them from sticking, then repeat, pressing deeply into the dough all around the tête. (This will allow the tête to remain separate from the rest of the brioche; you basically can’t press too hard, so go all the way down to the bottom.) The brioche with its tête will look like a little snowman.
- Repeat the same with the rest of the balls. Place the brioches, in their molds, on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap or a lint-free towel. Let proof for 1 to 1 1/2 hours at warm room temperature, until the brioches have almost doubled in size and feel wobbly when you poke them.
- Now preheat the oven to 350°F and place a rack in the center of the oven. Whisk the egg for the egg wash in a small bowl with a fork. Use a pastry brush to brush the tops of the brioches evenly with the egg wash.
- Separate the brioches so they are evenly spaced on the baking sheet. Bake the brioches for 30 to 35 minutes, rotating the baking sheet midway through the baking time, until they are golden brown all over.
- Remove from the oven and let cool in the molds on a wire rack. Remove the brioches from the molds and serve.
- Brioches à tête are best when served fresh, but you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day and reheat in a 300°F oven for 5 to 6 minutes to refresh.