Remember all the rage on the blogs and Twitter when Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day came out? Well, they’ve done it again…this time with Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. I was thrilled to be contacted by my friend Zoë François, co-author of the books, to do a review of the new book. I mean – me? What a treat to even be asked!
Here’s where it got tricky on me though. Healthy isn’t actually a common word in our vocabulary ’round here. Bread is also pretty tricky, too…as I Kill Yeast. I kill it. Dead. Cold house or something, but yeast is fairly suicidal in my presence. I really wanted to do her book justice, though…she trusted ME to review it. So, after flipping through the pages several times, I landed on Pumpkin Pie Brioche. Yum. Doesn’t the name just sound delicious? As I am still becoming DoughMessTic, I had yet to make brioche…and for those of you as new as I am, I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. Brioche is just a fancy word for really nice bread.
The Pumpkin Pie Brioche adventure almost failed before I even started, as in my town, my small, one grocery store and a WalMart town, White Whole Wheat Flour isn’t available. Nor is vital wheat gluten (VWG), whatever that even is. Eek. But you know what? Zoe said to go on and use my All Purpose Flour. She didn’t tell me exactly how much, but I gave it a good guess. You see, All Purpose Flour has enough gluten of it’s own to make the bread work without adding the VWG, and at the same time, it isn’t as heavy of a flour as the Whole Wheat. That means I had to adjust the amount of All Purpose Flour UP to accommodate the wetness. So I did.
Another thing I had to adjust was the oil. I didn’t have enough, and darn it, I wasn’t about to go to the store again after having JUST gone for eggs. So I used part melted butter and part oil. Oh yeah…honey. I don’t dig honey. Instead, I used the same amount of light corn syrup for the honey. Yeah, yeah, I know…I was doing everything in my power to completely ruin this recipe. Even I knew it had bread fail written all over it.
But you’d be wrong, and so would I. This recipe survived my manipulations. It survived my cold kitchen. It survived ME. It was gorgeous to work with! I think that’s the true test of a great recipe…if you can mangle it up the way I did and it still succeeds with flying colors, well, you’ve got one hell of a recipe there. I can’t wait to make it again, but I made so much of it on round one that it’s still sitting in my fridge waiting on me to make something else with it. This go round, I made these…
Pumpkin & Chocolate Toffee Cinnamon Buns with Caramel Cream Cheese Icing.
Try to say that out loud and not drool into your keyboard. I dare you.
I pulled out about half of my Pumpkin Pie Brioche and patted it down with some flour, then rolled it out into a rectangle. Then I softened some butter and spread it on top, sprinkled on a good helping of brown sugar and cinnamon then followed that with lots of chocolate chips and toffee bits. Then I rolled it up and pinched the seam. I sliced the rolls about an inch and a half thick and placed them in my paper brioche cups, and sprinkled on a little more toffee before sliding them in to a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.
Once I pulled them out, I topped them with a healthy dose of sweetened cream cheese icing and a drizzle of homemade caramel and chocolate syrup. Good God…talk about a treat. The flavors complimented each other in ways you can’t even fathom…so I recommend you make some yourself! If you need precise amounts or more detailed instructions on the filling or toppings, please email me…I’ll be happy to clue you in! Until then, here is the Pumpkin Pie Brioche recipe from the book Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day!
Pumpkin Pie Brioche
from Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, makes two 2 pound loaves
- 3 cups white whole wheat flour (I used 3 1/2 cups AP Flour)
- 4 1/2 cups unbleached All Purpose Flour (I used this amount, too)
- 1 1/2 Tbsps granulated yeast, or 2 packets
- 1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
- 2 Tbsps Vital Wheat Gluten
- 1 tsp Cinnamon*
- 1/2 tsp Ginger*
- 1/2 tsp Nutmeg*
- 1/4 tsp All Spice *(*I cheated and just used 2 tsps Pumpkin Pie Spice)
- 1 1/4 cups Lukewarm water
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup Honey (I used Light Corn Syrup
- 3/4 cup Neutral flavored oil or melted butter (I combined the two)
- 1 3/4 cups Pumpkin Puree or one 15 oz can of Pumpkin Puree
- Egg wash (I omitted as I was making buns)
- Raw Sugar for sprinkling on top (Again, I omitted)
Mixing & Storing the Dough:
Whisk together the flours, yeast, salt, VWG & spices in 5 quart bowl or lidded (not airtight) food container.
Combine the liquid ingredients with the pumpkin puree and mix them with the dry ingredients without kneading, using a spoon, a 14 cup food processor (with dough attachment), or heavy duty stand mixer (with paddle). You might need to use wet hands to get the last bit of flour to incorporate if you are not using a machine.
The dough will be loose, but it will firm up when chilled. Don’t try to use it without chilling it for at least 2 hours. You may notice lumps in the dough, but they will disappear in your finished products.
Cover (not airtight), and allow the dough to rest at room temperature until it rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours.
Refrigerate the dough in a lidded (but not airtight) container and use over the next 5 days. Beyond that, the dough stores well in the freezer for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container. Freeze it in 2 pound portions. When using frozen dough, thaw it in the refrigerator for 24 hours before use, then allow usual rest/rise times.
On Baking Day:
Grease a brioche pan or an 8 1/2x 4 1/2 inch nonstick loaf pan. Dust the surface of the dough with flour and cut off a 2-pound piece of dough. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball. Place ball in the prepared pan and allow to rest, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for 1 hour 45 minutes. (Note: I baked mine in mini brioche paper cups and only allowed them to rise in the oven as the temperature got up to 350. Big cheat, but it worked.)
Thirty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 350F with a rack placed in the center of the oven. If you are not using a stone in the oven, a 5 minute preheat is adequate.
Just before baking, use a pastry brush to paint the loaf’s top with egg wash, then sprinkle with raw sugar.
Bake near the center of the oven for approximately 45 to 50 mintes. Brioche will not form a hard, crackling crust. The loaf is done when it is medium brown and firm. Smaller or larger loaves will require adjustments in resting and baking time.
Remove the brioche from the pan and allow it to cool on a rack before slicing or eating.