Good Eats and Sweet Treats from My Small Boston Kitchen

Quick Whole Wheat Brioche Buns

Yet another month has come for the Secret Recipe Club, and another great recipe discovery. This month I was assigned a great blog called Gastronomical Sovereignty, written by Kristy, who says through her blog she’s “blindly stumbling through the ethical considerations of culinary deliciousness.” Pretty neat huh? It took me a while to settle on just one of her many recipes, but once I came across these brioche buns it was settled. I love brioche, and her rolls looked fantastic!

Brioche has always been really hard for me – I’ve never really mastered it. I’ve made loaf after loaf, but they are typically a bit too dense, and just don’t have the magic that a perfectly executed brioche loaf does. This recipe for brioche requires limited raising time, which was appealing, and also skips the refrigeration step – they can be made in one 3-hour block of time! Definitely right up my alley. Since I can never leave well enough alone, I decided I would add some whole wheat pastry flour to the mix, just to see what the implications would be. I also halved the recipe, which is always an interesting (read: potentially hazardous) choice, and managed to almost make it through the entire recipe without making a mistake. Almost.

After putting the dough together and plopping it onto the counter to knead, I realized it was WAY too wet. It made this pathetic little puddle on the counter, so I went back through my steps, and of course I’d missed something. I forgot to cut the egg in half… Since everything was already mixed together, I just decided I’d work the dough adding as much flour as it needed, until it came together and was the right consistency. I added a LOT of flour, and even still when I set the dough aside to proof, it was very moist.

When the dough had more than doubled in size, I divided it into 4 pieces (should have been 8) and let it proof for another hour. Again, I missed the instruction to divide the dough into EIGHT pieces, so when I came back to check it after an hour, the “buns” were enormous rolls… oops?! At that point, there was nothing I could do except laugh, so I slathered them with egg wash and popped them in the oven.

One last thing – I baked them on a silpat because it was handy when I was dividing the dough, but next time I would do parchment paper as I was supposed to. The bottoms of my rolls developed  a crust – and more of one than I would normally like. BUT – the moral of this long winded story is that the rolls came out wonderfully. They are slightly sweet, a bit denser than typical brioche (likely due to the wheat flour, and extra flour added while kneading), but still mildly buttery and perfectly eggy. I loved them! I ate one straight out of the oven, as Kristy has instructed to do, and was so glad I did. Absolutely fab. We also made breakfast sandwiches with them (pictured above), and they were the PERECT vehicle for that. If I made these again, I would absolutely keep the whole wheat flour in there – I think it enhances the flavor but also makes them slightly more nutritious – but I probably wouldn’t cut the recipe in half. Best not to take chances where I can make silly mistakes! Still, I was really happy with how these came out, and they gave me the boost I needed to try tackling traditional brioche again soon.

Quick Whole Wheat Brioche Buns


  • 1 cup warm water (105-110 degrees F)
  • 4 tablespoons warm milk (105-110 degrees F)
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 3 1/3 cups all purpose flour (you can use up to 1 cup of wheat flour)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs, room temperature and lightly beaten in 2 separate bowls


  1. In a measuring cup with a spout, combine water, milk, yeast, and sugar. Give it a quick stir and let stand for about 5 - 7 minutes or so, until foamy.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl. whisk flour and salt together. Add the butter and rub between your fingers in bits until the mixture resembles wet sand.
  3. Using a spatula or a wooden spoon, fold in 1 egg and yeast mixture until a dough like consistency forms. Dump the dough out onto a well floured counter space and knead for 8 - 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. If it sticks to the counter, add a little extra flour. Just remember the more flour you add, the heavier and tougher your buns will be!
  4. When the dough is smooth and elastic, roll into a ball and place in a well-oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and/or a tea towel and let the dough rise in a warm location until doubled in size - about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a dough scraper (or a sharp knife), divide the dough into 8 equal parts. Tear each of those parts in half. Gently roll each piece into a ball and arrange 2 - 3 inches apart on baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap (you'll want to coat the plastic wrap with nonstick spray) and let rise again for 1 hour.
  6. At the 1 hour mark, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F with the rack in the center of the oven. and prepare your egg wash. For the egg wash, beat 1 egg with 1-2 tablespoons of water until incorporated. Baste each bun with the egg wash.
  7. Bake about 13- 15 minutes until golden brown on top. Remove from heat, transfer to a wire rack to cool, and serve. You can eat them fresh out of the oven (delicious!) or let them cool completely.


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