The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

100% Whole Wheat Brioche

proth5's picture

100% Whole Wheat Brioche

Now there’s a string of words that usually don’t go together.

For old timers who thought I might have gone the way of Bill Wraith – no, I didn’t just disappear. At the end of December 2013, I officially hung up (sort of) the consultant/road warrior gloves and went into my long planned retirement.

I have been deliberately avoiding spending time on the internet to make sure that I am not mistaking posting on the internet for accomplishing anything in the real world and in spite of all of my friends skepticism, I really did take three months to rest. I am told my definition of “resting” is different than most people, but I do feel rested.

A visit from a fellow baker who works in all whole grains got me to thinking about whole wheat brioche. So I milled up some whole wheat flour and made up some brioche. I wanted to pinch their little cheeks they were so cute, so I thought I would share.

Leisure time has not caused me to become more interested in either food styling or photography. Maybe in time.

The mill used was a Fidibus as I did some paid work the last two weeks of March and the cosmos still owes me some “rest” time. I did a single milling pass on the finest setting.

The formula (and if you are contemplating these, you are an experienced enough baker to use Baker’s Percent so that’s what you are getting) (Oh, and if you are a new baker, I will stop to emphasize that nothing will enhance your understanding of the process more than properly learning Baker’s Math, so I encourage  you to learn the method.):

White Wheat Flour (freshly ground)        50%

Red Wheat Flour (freshly ground)            50%

Salt                                                                          2%

Sugar                                                                     18%

Yeast                                                                     1.5%

Water                                                                   10%

Eggs                                                                       60%

Butter (cold, pliable)                                       50%


Method               (now here’s the tricky part)

All ingredients should be scaled and chilled for at least eight hours. The butter will be removed from the refrigerator immediately before it is mixed and made pliable by “tapping” (whacking?) it with a rolling pin (or a steel pipe or other non breakable piece of equipment).

Mix all the ingredients except the butter on 1st speed in a 2 speed spiral mixer for 6 minutes, and on second speed for 25 minutes (yes) to a strong window pane.

Break the cold, pliable butter into pieces and mix it in using second speed (about 5 minutes) until the dough is soft and the butter is well incorporated.

Refrigerate overnight.

Divide, pre shape round, rest (in the refrigerator), and shape.  I made two sizes – the larger being 3.5 oz which I think is about 100 gms. Always use the weight appropriate for your tins.

Proof for 2 hours at 78F.

How do they taste? Well, they will never taste like the white flour version, but they are buttery, nutty, and pretty tasty.

I will say that I think that the Fidibus leaves the flour a bit too gritty for me and I need to get the Diamant back in production and re mill the bran a bit finer.

For those of you who do not experience nearly daily the joy of mixing with a two speed spiral, this formula will be tricky. The very, very long mix at second speed will generate a lot of heat in most mixers and you may want to chill dough a bit before adding the butter. I may try this formula in an Assistent (or whatever they are currently calling the thing – geez, it’s like a witness protection program for mixers)  and will amend this blog if I do.

Have fun!       



Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

So happy to hear it finally worked out.

All the best,

Nice breads!

proth5's picture

I have been disturbingly happy these past few months. I did worry that I would miss work, but I haven't - not even one bit.

Now I can devote some energy to waiting for Wheatstalk lottery results :>)

Thanks, again!


dmsnyder's picture

I'm happy to see you on TFL. It's been a little while.

The closest I can come to imagining 100% whole wheat brioche is good honey whole wheat bread spread thick with sweet butter. I don't know if there's any resemblance, but, if there is , that's not a bad thing.



proth5's picture

With my (former) job involving being away from home most of the time and riding around in airplanes, I made a detailed "re entry" plan (I don't miss that life, but there has been a certain shock to the system) and part of it was (and is) to strictly limit internet time.

I like your description of the taste - I'm no good at that kind of thing - but yes, if you like whole wheat these are not a bad thing.

Thanks for the kind words.

Your bread looks great, as always and you take nice pictures.  People have tried to coach me in that craft and I just have no interest. >sigh<


dmsnyder's picture

The camera I use the most is the one in my iPhone. It has a better autofocus and better macro function than my other cameras. I try to not have a distracting or unappetizing background - no piles of laundry that I should be folding, no garbage from breakfast, etc. I know a little about lighting but usually don't have the patience to optimize it before shooting. I do some post-processing digitally, if needed. I admire those who really know how to take pictures. I cannot claim to. 

For me, the best thing about retirement is not having to get up and rush to an office. I'm not a morning person. (One of the many reasons I would never want to be a professional baker.) The worst thing is the limited contact with patients, colleagues and students. I am still teaching a little, and that's a pleasure. 


proth5's picture

I've found that having a camera with variable (automatic) focus helps a lot, but other than keeping my workspace clean - I just don't have the desire. I spent 6 months in Okinawa and took, well, zero, pictures.  The ones I posted were taken by other folks. That's how much I don't do photography.

I spent over 15 years either getting on a plane Mondays and Fridays or staying someplace for months on end. When I was at work, I was mostly working in front of a computer.  I've tried to wean myself away from it - and I'm just beginning to realize how great it is to spend time at home actually enjoying the place instead of cleaning up whatever chaos had happened and then dashing off. I can still get myself up and going by 3AM if need be but I spent a lot of the winter hearing about airline delays and being happy that I wasn't involved. For me, it is the opposite - I am finally able to connect with people and shore up friendships. Which is why I gotta get back to the real world :>)


trailrunner's picture

Tired in a new a wonderful way :) I never looked back and it has been since 2004 !  On my cycling trips I do take some pictures but you know what I like to do most...I look intently at something and then I .....blink...pic imprinted where it does the most good. 

Keep posting as you have time...your commentaries and bakes are always a welcome spot on TFL. c

proth5's picture

I am figuring out the new routine. Yes, seeing things well is the best picture.


Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

Good to hear from you Pat, and great to hear you've hung up whatever it was that kept you on the run and away from milling and baking.  I dunno about 100% ww brioche though.  When I go to the carnival, I like to try some of the rides.  100% ww brioche is like taking a little Tolstoy to read on the Wild Mouse.  But if you say so, who am I to....

And there you go again uttering that magic "Diamant" word, making my pulse race.

Enjoy the good times now.


proth5's picture

But I was the challenge of pulling the thing together that got to me. The texture was actually quite light and I had a friend stop by who ate one with amazing speed. I do think that I could do a better job with the milling on the D... but I'm really trying not to push myself too hard. Just yet.

Thanks for your kind words and best wishes!


Janetcook's picture

Hi Pat,

Very cute brioche indeed and an adequate photo as well.  (I can even recognize the B&T in the back ground.) 

I am impressed not only by the fact that you jumped into a 100% whole wheat brioche but that you were courageous enough to run it for 25 minutes in the spiral!  I feel so clever knowing what a spiral is now - thanks to you and PHG :)

I will have to get bold enough to try the same sometime but my 'to bake' list is full, full, full so it probably won't be until summer - which, if today was any indication, is just around the corner.  Right now I am up to my eyeballs in hot cross buns - they are popping up everywhere.  Cute little things too.

Thanks for the report and formula.

Take Care,


proth5's picture


You inspired it...

It was a scary, scary mix. I did watch it like a hawk, though, even though I was doing some juggling drills (still very bad at juggling...) I was doing a two at a time pre shape for the brioche and I keep wondering why this doesn't translate. Oh well.

LindyD's picture

Quite an adventuresome formula, but not at all surprising coming from your kitchen.

Good to read that you’re back to having fun.

Fingers crossed you win the Wheatstalk lottery!


proth5's picture

have good luck with games of chance - I am on the waiting list.

Thanks for the kind words.


Bronze's picture

Exactly what I was looking for. I'm constantly desperate for 100% whole wheat recipes, for the sake of nourishment. There's nothing like the texture or taste of an egg bread, though. So thank you. Can't wait to try it.