I'm making brioche, which are turning out OK, but not at the softness/airiness that I want. I've been trying to research what exactly I need to do to improve the crumb structure to get to my desired texture.
I thought I needed a lot of gluten. I've been using bread flour that is 14% protein. I've also been doing everything I can to make sure the gluten develops well: I add the sugar and salt after most of my gluten has developed (as sugar and salt inhibit gluten development), and I add the fat last (as fat coating flour apparently also inhibits gluten development). I've even went as fast as separating my eggs so that I can add the egg whites early in the process (since it's mostly water), then add egg yolks last (e.g. along with my other fat).
However, some articles I've been reading seem to suggest that too much gluten is the culprit to not-so-soft crumb. Should I be using flour with a lower protein content? Should I not care what order I add my ingredients? Should I replace the sugar with glucose, corn syrup, or honey since they apparently retain more moisture? Should I just add more yeast? Or do something else?
Any suggestions are highly appreciated. I do enjoy learning about the technical and scientific aspects of baking, so including those in answers would be even better.