Basic Brioche Bread Recipe
Basic Brioche Bread Recipe is made with an egg and butter enriched yeast dough that is very fluffy, yet moist and perfect for so many uses! Serve it sliced for regular or French toast, shape and bake it into an Easter Bread, or serve it as brioche buns for dinner. If you have any leftovers, which is unlikely, use them to make bread pudding.
I hope that my detailed guide and tutorial will take the intimidation out of working with yeast dough and allow you to bake with joy, instead of fear 😀
Whether you decide to slice the brioche bread for sandwiches, or tear it apart and serve as dinner rolls with dinner, this recipe is a must-know for anyone who wants to try their hand at yeast bread making. Understanding how the yeast dough works will take away the intimidation factor out of working with the yeast.
I have tested this recipe in every way possible so that I can share everything you need to know to have a successful batch every time. Whether you have a stand mixer, a bread maker, or decide to make it by hand, you can make brioche at home!
Tip – if you just want the recipe, scroll all the way down, otherwise, read on to learn all about mastering brioche.
So, what is Brioche?
Brioche is a lightly sweetened French bread that is a cross between a bread and a yeast-based pastry. The egg and butter-rich brioche dough is soft, fluffy, and beautifully tender. This type of pastry bread can be used for both sweet and savory purposes like french toast, or a simple egg sandwich.
For a fancier savory version, try a Croque Madame sandwich with brioche bread, ham, cheese, creamy béchamel sauce, and an egg. Can you say “yumm”?
But! Don’t think that this brioche needs anything to “fancy” it up. It’s good just as is! The dough has a pleasant buttery rich flavor, akin to croissant which doesn’t need any dressing up at all. So, a cup of tea or milk and a slice of brioche and you’ve got a perfect breakfast or a snack.
It doesn’t hurt that all that butter in the dough makes this brioche bread stay fresh for as long as 4-5 days! And I don’t mean barely soft, I mean still as good as ever soft!
How to make the Best Brioche
A proper brioche dough needs to be kneaded until soft, smooth, and elastic, then allowed to rise for 1 hour. Next, the brioche dough needs to be refrigerated for 4 hours or up to 2 days. After that, you remove it from the fridge, punch it down and shape it. After the brioche proofs one more time it is ready for baking.
This is a tedious process that does yield the best tasting results. During the refrigeration process, the flavors of brioche deepen, mature, and fully develop. The flour has the time to fully absorb the liquid and the butter can solidify. The cold brioche dough is easy to shape and that’s important since warm, butter ladened dough can be runny and harder to work with.
Speeding up brioche:
BUT! What if you want brioche, but don’t have the time for refrigeration? Well, go ahead and skip the cold-fermentation in the fridge and just allow it to proof once, before shaping and giving it a final proofing.
I have done this and the flavors and texture were not as good as when you do refrigerate it, but still – very good! So, feel free to skip it, if you must.
The easiest way to make Brioche Dough:
There are 3 ways to make the brioche dough and there are pros and cons to each. Make your choice depending on your needs and equipment availability.
- By hand – you most likely already have the equipment (hands), but it is the most labor-intensive. If you have some built-up frustration that needs a way out, this is a good way to get it out! Still, this particular dough starts out very sticky and runny which makes it a bit difficult to knead.
- With a stand mixer – this one is a good choice since it frees up your hands for other things. Do keep an eye on your dough tough, and stop kneading as soon as the dough stops sticking to the sides. Kneading past that point will stretch the gluten too much and the over-kneaded dough will produce tough flat bread.
- With a bread maker – this thing is built just for bread, so naturally, it’s the best and easiest choice for making brioche or any other kind of yeast-based dough. Also, the bread machine doesn’t need a lot of supervision, like the stand mixer method. Out of the three methods, this one is my favorite because the shape of the mixing paddle creates the best motion for stretching those gluten fibers.
Tips for Success:
- Check your yeast: if you haven’t used your yeast in a while and don’t know it is still active, dissolve the yeast in a little bit of warm water with a teaspoon of sugar and leave to proof or puff up for about 5-10 minutes. If it gets bubbly and puffy, use it. If not, do not even attempt the recipe until you get unexpired yeast.
- Use Canadian or bread flour if available. The increased protein/gluten content of these flours is best for yeast-based baked goods.
- Use Red Star Platinum yeast. This yeast is very forgiving and will provide phenomenal results even if you’re a novice baker. If you try it once, you’ll never go back to any other, just like I haven’t. It is more expensive than other yeast, but only about 1$ per batch, so not too bad.
- Make sure to knead the brioche dough until it looks very smooth and doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl as it spins around. This is a sign that gluten is well developed. If it doesn’t look smooth, just continue mixing and it will!
- Use a kitchen scale to measure the ingredients for consistent results. Using a cup to scoop flour (sifted or unsifted) will yield different amounts every time. Using a scale is your golden ticket to success.
I would like to finish this super long pre-recipe post with uses for brioche dough or loaf –
Brioche Dough & Bread Uses:
- Hamburger Buns
- Easter or Panetonne type holiday Bread
- Hot Dog Buns
- Filled Pastries
- Hot Cross Buns
- French Toast (stuffed w/ Nutella & strawberries? 😀 )
- Grilled Cheese Sandwich
- Bread Pudding
- Brioche Croque Monsieur & Croque Madame Sandwiches
Now that you’re armed with all this knowledge, let’s get to the recipe itself!
Brioche Bread Recipe
- Brioche dough uses classic ingredients: flour, eggs, milk, butter, sugar, yeast, and salt. I add vanilla and more sugar if I know the brioche bread will be used as a dessert. I omit the vanilla and use less sugar if the bread will be used for savory purposes.
How to make Brioche Bread
- Combine all ingredients except for butter and salt in a mixer bowl, or the bread maker. Knead for about 20 minutes or until smooth and pulls away from the sides. The dough should look smooth, pull away from the sides and be very soft without holding shape well. If the dough still looks runny even after kneading, add a little bit more flour, one tablespoon at a time. Do not add too much flour or the brioche will be dense and heavy.
- Do not overknead or the brioche bread won’t rise as well and will be dense and heavy.
- Add the butter in halves, then the salt. Allow the dough to knead it in. You might have to break the dough into chunks to help the mixer or the bread machine to knead the butter in. This might take about 10-15 minutes.
Tip: If using the bread machine for the kneading and proofing, you can add the butter and salt when the machine beeps, signaling that it’s time to add the “add-ins”. This usually happens bout 20 minutes into the kneading.
If the butter doesn’t fully incorporate before the bread machine stops kneading and starts the “proofing cycle”, turn the dough cycle OFF and ON again and let the dough go through one more kneading cycle (another “DOUGH” cycle). The extra kneading time will be perfect to finish the kneading.
Tip: To save time, all ingredients (including butter and salt) can be added together and kneaded until the gluten is well-developed, the dough is elastic and stops sticking to the bowl. Adding the butter and salt right away, can make take longer to get to the point where it doesn’t stick to the sides.
- If you’re planning to make the brioche with dried fruits, chocolate, citrus zest, or other add-ins, knead them in after adding the butter just until they’re evenly distributed throughout the dough.
Shape & Bake Brioche Bread
- Once kneaded, allow the dough to proof for 1 hour, then cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.
- Next, split the dough into 16 or 8 pieces and roll into tight balls. Divide between 2 pans if making smaller (16 pcs) loaves, or arrange in one 9″x5″ bread pan and allow to proof again. Next, brush with egg yolk and sprinkle with poppy seeds if you’d like, then bake until golden.
- Allow the brioche bread to cool, then tear or slice and enjoy! Whether you make it as one big loaf or two smaller loaves, now you’ve got the most delicious piece of rich, buttery bread you’ll ever have. Enjoy!
Check out these other yeast-based baked goods:
- Poppy Seed Pastry Buns – my grandma’s specialty, these are such a treat!
- Simple Sugar Coated Donuts – donuts are always a good idea, right? 😀
- Fried Meat Piroshky – something savory for you, you’re going to love them!
- White Chocolate & Blueberry Bread Wreath – Filled with chocolate and blueberries it’s a dream as a toast with butter!
Brioche Bread Recipe
Basic Brioche Bread Recipe is an enriched yeast dough made with lots of eggs and butter. This buttery pastry bread is perfect as dinner rolls or the best french toast among a ton of other things.
Brioche dough Ingredients
- 35 ml water or milk (35 ml = 2 tbsp+1tsp)
- 1 packet instant dry yeast (1 packet = 2 1/4 tsp)(use Platinum Yeast for best results)
- 4 large eggs
- 3-8 tbsp granulated sugar (use less for savory, more for sweet dough)
- 350 g bread flour works best, but all-purpose flour will work too (350 g = about 2 1/3 scooped cups)
- 3/4 cup soft, but cold temperature, cubed unsalted butter (3/4 cup = 12 tbsp)
- 1 tsp kosher salt (use 3/4 tsp if using table salt)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (use only if brioche will be used for dessert)
Optional Add ins for Sweet Brioche
- 1 cup dried and rehydrated in hot water or alcohol fruits (do this 30 minutes or several days ahead)
- 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
- 1 tbsp orange or lemon zest
How to make Brioche Dough
Prep: Grease a large bowl with oil or nonstick spray, set aside.
Measure and prep all of the ingredients. Weigh the ingredients for best results.
Check your yeast to make sure it's active, if you need to (Note 1).
Combine and knead: Add 4 eggs, 3 to 8 tablespoons of sugar (Note 2), 1 tsp of vanilla (if using), and 2 tbsp + 1 tsp of water in a mixer bowl or the bread machine. Top with 350 g flour and 2 1/4 tsp of instant yeast (note 2) and knead on low speed until it barely comes together. Then, knead on medium-low speed for about 20 minutes (on a KitchenAid stand mixer - speed 3) or until the dough looks smooth, and doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl (tacky to touch). If you keep kneading past this stage the dough will start to look chunky and flow into a puddle, all a sign that it has been over-kneaded.
If using the bread maker, keep the lid open to prevent the dough from warming too much and melting the butter. When the gluten is fully developed in the dough and it looks smooth, elastic and doesn't stick to the bowl as it spins around the bowl, stop kneading. - The dough will still stick to hands and everything else if allowed to stay for longer than 1 second, but when it spins around the bowl, you will see it pull away from the sides.
Check for gluten development: Another way to make sure the gluten is developed (windowpane test) is to stretch a small piece of the dough into a square, creating a "window" - if the dough gets very thin, smooth and translucent and doesn't' tear in that window, the gluten is well developed.
Add butter and salt: Next, add butter in halves, in small cubes and continue kneading until the butter is fully incorporated about 15-20 minutes. You might have to break the dough into small chunks to make the incorporation with the butter easier.
Add optional add-ins (Note 3)
Add the dried and re-hydrated fruits, citrus zest, chips or any other add-ins halfway through the butter being incorporated into the dough.
Rise and chill: Allow the dough to rise at room temperature*** for 1 hour (or until almost doubled in size), then cover and chill for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days (note 4).
After that, remove from the fridge and shape working quickly as not to warm up and melt the butter in the dough.
This amount of dough will make either one big loaf, two smaller ones, or 16 dinner rolls.
For two smaller loaves, split the dough into 16, then roll each piece into a tight ball and arrange 8 pieces in each of 9"x5" parchment-lined bread pans. For one larger loaf, divide the dough into 8 and roll each into a ball. Arrange the shaped balls in one 9"x5" parchment-lined pan.
For dinner rolls, divide the dough into 16 pieces and roll into tight, smooth balls. Add to a 9"x12" baking pan spacing evenly.
Allow to rise until at least doubled in size, about 3 hours (Note 5). This rise is longer since the dough needs to come to room temperature before it can start rising.
Lightly brush the tops with the whisked egg yolk and sprinkle with poppy seeds if you wish.
How to bake the Brioche:
Place in a preheated to 350°F oven and bake until golden-brown in color. The more sugar the dough has, the deeper brown in color it will be.
~20 minutes for 2 loaves.
~35-40 min for 1 loaf, or until the inside registers 185°F degrees and the tops are golden in color.
~or until the tops are evenly golden brown.
If the dough browns too fast, loosely tent the top with foil.
Remove from the oven and leave in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove from the pan to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
How to store Brioche
Store the Brioche Loaves in a ziplock bag for up to 4 days or tightly wrap with plastic wrap and freeze for up to 1 month.
Note 1: how to check if the yeast is active:
- Do this if you're not sure if the yeast is still active, or if using active dry yeast instead of instant yeast.
Dissolve the yeast in the water (amounts in the ingredient list) with 1 tsp of sugar. Allow to proof in a warm place for 5-10 minutes. If the mixture gets foamy and bubbly, use it (add with the liquid ingredients). If not, do not attempt the recipe until you get good, active yeast.
Note 2: sugar amount
- Use more if using the brioche for dessert-like purposes or less if using it for savory purposes.
Note 3: adding dried fruits
- Soak the dried fruits (blueberries, cranberries, chopped apricots, raisins, etc.) in warm water or rum (Bacardi rum works well) for at least 30 minutes, or better yet - up to several days ahead. Keep refrigerated if soaking more than a couple of hours ahead. Then drain and shake off or paper towel dry all excess moisture.
Knead the dried fruits into the dough right before all the butter is kneaded in.
- The refrigeration can be skipped if short on time. Do not skip if possible. Refrigeration firms up the dough and makes it easier to work with as well as deepens the flavor.
Note 5: places for proofing the dough:
- Oven with the light on is a great place for proofing dough, it is draft-free and the light makes the temperature slightly warmer than room temperature.
- The top of the fridge or cabinets is another good place. The temperature is higher, the higher up it is.
- Boil water in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. Then remove the water and quickly place the bowl with the dough inside. Shut the door and do not open until the dough has doubled in size.
If making dinner rolls with Brioche Dough:
Bake in a 9"x12" buttered baking pan.