Brioche Dough: How Much Gluten?

It’s still the age of Ragnarök here in Louisville, I’m looking out at dark grey skies and more rain, rain, rain. I don’t let that slow me down if I can help it but blowing, misty rain is hell on whipped cream. Fortunately reader David has a question for me. It goes like this:

Your brioche dough recipe calls for all purpose flour when one might expect to use bread flour for a higher rise. Is brioche not typically expected to be as airy and light or is there another reason for it?

Interesting question, David. It all depends on what you want to use the brioche for. Will you be making a simple loaf? Dinner roll-type têtes de brioche? Or perhaps you’re using it as a base for a bee sting cake or cinnamon rolls. In any of those cases you might want to vary the formula a bit to achieve a difference effect.

For a straight-up brioche loaf, a higher gluten flour might be desirable since as you say, you’ll get a higher rise and a lighter crumb. The increased gluten will make that crumb a little tougher and chewier, but a certain “tooth” is expected for a bread or a roll.

A pastry is a completely different story. There you want rise and structure, but not at the expense of tenderness. In that case a brioche dough made with a lower-gluten all-purpose flour works better. You might also want a little more butter in that particular batch, maybe even some browned butter…I’m just sayin’.

All of which is to say that brioche is adaptable stuff. As a general rule I think all-purpose flour makes a nice all-around brioche dough. But adjust it as you see fit!

2 thoughts on “Brioche Dough: How Much Gluten?”

  1. Heeeeey Joe,
    please let me start off by saying you do and are doing an A-MAZING JOB! I was literally sick when you site went down for that short period, lol! I SUPER STOKED you decided to return! THANK YOU!
    Would you please assist with a fluffy, flakey and light brioche recipe (does that exist or even make sense) that will maintain such? I’ve have tried AND tried AND tried all types of recipes. Basic brioche, Tangzhong method or sponge method. After the bread has cooled and sat for a day or so, it has dry crumbly interior. Is there a preservative/additive so that it maintains the lightness & fluffiness. Any suggestions?

    Cheryl

    1. Thanks Cheryl!

      I’m glad to be back around and blogging. Regarding brioche dough, a big part of the fluffiness comes from the extended mixing. Some recipes call for up to 20 minutes of mixing as you add the butter. Mine calls for about two minutes of working the dough with each addition if butter. Take that seriously and I think you’ll get the results you want! Here’s the tutorial. Let me know if it works any better for you!

      https://joepastry.com/2008/basic_brioche_dough/

      Cheers,

      Joe

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