When I was offered the opportunity to try out the new WonderMix Kitchen Mixer in our farmhouse kitchen, I was thrilled. I have been using the company’s WonderMill Electric Grain Mill for several years now. No matter how many times I use it, I am always astounded at how simple it is to use and how quickly it transforms the organic wheat berries I purchase through my local food co-op into beautiful, freshly milled flour. I couldn’t wait to see their new WonderMix stand mixer and put it through its paces in our farmhouse kitchen.
When the WonderMix arrived, I was taken with its unique design. I loved its square base and covered mixing bowl, knowing that dry ingredients would remain inside the bowl when mixing rather than ending up on the countertop. After carefully measuring my ingredients with my food scale for a recipe, it can be so frustrating to watch as dry ingredients are flung from a mixer’s bowl and deposited all over the countertop.
The mixing bowl is large, with a capacity of 5.5 quarts or 22 cups. I don’t have a single recipe in my arsenal that requires that much capacity, but I’m glad to know that I can easily mix a double batch of bread dough with room to spare. Not only does this mixer have a high-capacity mixing bowl, it has the motor strength to handle heavy doughs and mixtures. The WonderMix has an impressive 900 watt motor. To put that in perspective, my current stand mixer has a 325 watt motor. The WonderMix has the capacity and the power to handle even the most grueling tasks in my kitchen and yours. With its innovative dough hook and dough divider attachment combination, I knew right away that this was a bread baker’s dream machine.
The WonderMix offers two different sets of whisk type attachments available for the WonderMix. A whisk is often the ideal tool for a recipe, but whisking egg whites into a fluffy meringue is quite a different task than mixing a batch of buttercream or cookie dough. I often find with my other stand mixer that the dough paddle doesn’t adequately beat a batch of buttercream or cookie dough into the smooth, silky texture I desire while the whisk isn’t strong enough to handle the thicker mixture. Having two different pairs of whisk attachments means that I’ll always have one that is well suited for the task at hand.
The WonderMix boasts a wide assortment of other attachments and accessories. They offer a full function blender, slicer/shredder, and meat grinder attachments. If you are interested in working with grain, both a grain flaker and grain mill attachment are also available. This sturdy, powerful unit can do the work of a multitude of appliances. Its rectangular footprint also makes it much easier for me to easily store it in our kitchen.
The helpful owner’s manual that accompanied my WonderMix was filled with helpful instructions for using the machine along with more than 40 recipes. I turned immediately to the section of bread recipes and learned that this mixer promised to fully develop the gluten in a batch of bread dough in five minutes. I couldn’t wait to put that promise to the test.
I make several types of bread for our family. My favorite bread to bake and to eat is brioche. I enjoy brioche’s texture and rich flavor. I love to toast a slice of homemade brioche, knowing that the enriched dough will yield the lovely browned surface that I enjoy so much. My family enjoys it just as much as I do, so I make a batch of two loaves every week or so.
The prospect of making a traditional brioche can be daunting for the baker and taxing for the baker’s mixer. Traditional brioche is baked from dough enriched by fresh eggs and butter. Each addition must be perfectly timed before advancing to the next step. If these steps are rushed, the dough will break apart, forming several small clumps that will resist coming back together into one congruous ball of dough. Yet care must be taken not to over mix the dough as too much mixing can ruin the airy texture that makes brioche so wonderful.
Once the eggs have been successfully integrated into the dough, butter must be added in much the same way. It is added a bit at a time, allowing the butter to fully blend with the dough. This process can take thirty minutes or more. All of this kneading puts a heavy toll on a mixer. As the dough is kneaded, the mixer must be monitored to ensure that it does not overheat or, worse yet, burn out completely. Kneading this dough for such a long time is a herculean task for a typical residential kitchen mixer.
Over the years, I have worked to develop my own brioche recipe. It delivers the same delicious flavor and airy texture without requiring so much precision from the bread baker.
In the past few months, I attempted to adapt my recipe to incorporate some of our freshly milled whole wheat flour into the recipe. I didn’t have much luck. The loaves lacked the airy texture I love. No matter how I adjusted the recipe, the resulting loaves were too dense. It seemed that no matter how long I worked the dough using my mixer, I fell short of creating that lovely smooth characteristic that my Farmhouse Brioche always delivers.
I did finally determine that I could use my stand mixer to work the dough for several minutes and then knead the dough by hand for between 5 to 10 minutes in order to create a dough that was smooth and elastic enough to pass the windowpane test.
I had almost given up any hope of creating a multigrain brioche recipe that could be worked entirely by a mixer. Then the WonderMix arrived and I returned to the farmhouse kitchen, hopeful that this powerful machine would have the muscle I needed to fully develop the gluten and create a loaf that was exactly what I was looking for.
As the dough came together, I set my kitchen timer for five minutes. The WonderMix worked the dough without straining. When the timer sounded, I turned off the mixer and removed the dough. It was smooth and elastic, easily passing the windowpane test. The WonderMix had delivered on its promise to fully develop the gluten in five minutes.
I have made several batches of bread since then. Each batch has been just as beautiful and delicious. From now on, I will be using the WonderMix to make this multigrain brioche and all of our other homemade breads.
Now you can use this recipe to make your own loaves of multigrain brioche. You can also enter to win your very own WonderMix! One winner will be randomly selected on April 21, 2015. All subscribers to The 1840 Farm Community Newsletter and In Season Magazine will be automatically entered to win. You can earn additional entries through the widget below and increase your odds of winning this amazing mixer. Good luck to all who enter!
1840 Farm Multigrain Brioche
Makes two loaves
12 ounces (1 ¾ cup) warm water
21 grams (1 Tablespoon) honey
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon Dough Enhancer (optional)
600 grams (5 cups) All-purpose flour
240 grams (2 cups) whole wheat flour
3 large eggs, room temperature
4 ounces (1 stick) butter, grated
If you are using a dough proofer, preheat the proofer following the manufacturer’s instructions as you prepare the dough. Whisk the warm water and honey in the bowl of a large stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast over the top of the liquid. Allow the yeast to rest as you prepare the remaining ingredients.
In a medium bowl, combine the salt, dough enhancer (if using), and flour. Grate the butter and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth.
Add the eggs to the bowl with the warm water and honey. Whisk until combined. Mount the bowl on the mixer’s base and attach the dough hook and dough divider. Add the dry ingredients all in one addition before turning the mixer’s motor on low speed.
Mix for a few minutes, until the dough begins to take shape. The dough will appear to be slightly dry. With the motor running, begin adding the grated butter a bit at a time, allowing the butter to be incorporated into the dough before adding more. Continue this process until all of the butter has been added.
Stop the mixer and asses the dough. It should be shiny and moist, but not excessively sticky. The ball of dough should be smooth and elastic. If it is too sticky, simply start the mixer and gradually add up to ½ cup of All-purpose flour to the dough. Take care not to add too much flour as it will yield a finished loaf that is too dry. Increase the speed of the mixer slightly and work the dough until it passes the windowpane test, approximately five to ten minutes.
If you are unfamiliar with the windowpane test, the technique is quite simple but incredibly helpful when making a loaf of bread. This windowpane test will help you to determine if your dough has been kneaded sufficiently to yield a wonderful finished loaf. By using this technique, you will be certain that your homemade bread dough will produce a beautiful loaf of bread.
Conducting the windowpane test is simple. After you have kneaded the dough to the point when you think that it has been worked sufficiently, take a small ball of dough and stretch it between your fingers until it is thin and translucent, allowing light to pass through it (much like a window). If the dough stretches without breaking, it has been kneaded long enough to develop the gluten and is ready to prepare for its rise. If the dough breaks, continue kneading until it passes the test.
Once your dough passes the windowpane test, transfer the dough to a large buttered bowl to rise in a dough proofer or a warm, draft free location. Allow the dough to rise until it has nearly doubled in size. Using my dough proofer set at 82 degrees, this takes approximately 45 to 60 minutes.
Once the dough has nearly doubled in size, divide it into two equal sections. Form each section into a loaf and place in a buttered or oiled loaf pan. Be sure to oil the top rim of the loaf pan as this dough has a tendency to rise well above the top of the pan. Oiling the top rim of the pan will make releasing the baked loaf from the pan much easier.
Transfer the two loaves back to the proofing chamber or warm, draft free location for rising. Allow the loaves to rise until they have reached a height of more than one inch above the top edge of the loaf pans. Using my dough proofer, this takes about one 60 – 90 minutes.
As the dough nears the end of its rise, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. If you have a pizza stone, this is a great time to put it to use. I like to use stones when baking bread in order to deliver even heat to the bottom of the loaf as it bakes. I find that my loaves bake more evenly when I have the stones in the oven during preheating and baking.
Once the loaves have risen sufficiently and the oven has reached the proper temperature, transfer the loaves to the oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, turning near the halfway mark to ensure even browning. When the loaves are fully baked, they will be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove the baked loaves from their pans to a wire rack. Allow them to cool completely before slicing or storing.
Don’t miss my post about the best way to store fresh bread to learn how you should be storing your fresh loaf of bread. You can also learn more about My Favorite Bread Baking Tools and Ingredients and share your own with me.