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.
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 for kneading the dough, 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 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.
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.
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.
Bake in a 9"x12" buttered baking pan.
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