This French Brioche bread recipe is buttery but with the perfect fluffy crumb, it is soft and puffy with the most delicious buttery smell that will fill all your kitchen. You haven´t tried Brioche Bread yet until you baked your own and had a slice of it short after baking while it is still warm. Eating and serving your home baked brioche is special, you will love it, a heart warming and exceptionally comforting experience.
Brioche is a type of French bread made of a dough enriched with butter and eggs giving it a tender, moist crumb and dark golden crust. For me good brioche is neither sweet, nor savoury, a kind of bread that you can eat on its own or with something sweet eg. jam or Nutella (my homemade Nutella recipe in here) or even with something savory eg. eggs and ham that would be a typical Easter breakfast in my home country, Hungary. It is a super versatile type of bread, learning how to make it will be a rewarding beautiful experience! Let´s get started!
Table of Contents
What is Brioche Bread?
Brioche bread is a type of bread with French origins whose egg and butter content gives it a rich and tender crumb. Its texture should be buttery yet light and puffy with a signature golden crust.
Brioche Bread is considered a Viennoiserie because it is made in the same basic way as bread, but richer because of the extra addition of eggs, butter, liquid (milk, water, cream, and, sometimes, brandy) and occasionally sugar. Brioche can be made in a loaf tin, round cake tin and there are several type of brioche breads that are shaped and baked without a tin.
The normal method of preparing the brioche is dough is to let it rise to double its volume at room temperature and then punch it down and let it rise again in the refrigerator. The dough is then shaped, placed in a container for the final proofing, and brushed on top with an egg wash before being baked at high temperature.
If you love French desserts, make sure to check out my ultimate best French pastries list with recipes!
My Top 5 Baking Tips for home bakers
- Read the recipe carefully including my tips and recommendations on how to avoid and fix typical issues during baking. Not much issue expected while making Brioche bread but you have to respect time concretely giving enough fermentation time to the dough
- Avoid using substitutes and changing the recipe unless you are aware of how to fully reformulate the recipe in order to keep the balance in texture as well as flavour. In general, replacing egg, using gluten-free flour etc. will all have an impact on your Brioche bread
- For consistent, happy baking experience always measure your ingredients with the help of a Digital scale. Cup measurement is provided as an indicative figure only and might be used for less complex and large batch recipes however it is not an appropriate method if you want consistent results
- Did you know that most home ovens can significantly under or oven run? Also, oven temperature hugely drops when opening the oven door therefore it is recommended to always pre-heat the oven above the required baking temperature.
- Temperature is so important when it comes to baking and accurate oven temperature is key, can make or break any recipe. Make sure you invest into an inexpensive Digital oven thermometer to avoid under baked, burnt, sad looking Brioche bread
Some important notes regarding the INGREDIENTS of the Homemade Brioche Bread
- Butter: Use always unsalted as you want to be in control of the quantity of the salt. I am using 82% fat content butter in all my recipes. In this recipe butter needs to be SOFT, so keep it on room temperature for a couple of hours before using. In the meantime, avoid last minute microwaving as that would result in butter melting here and there and we do not want that neither. Basically butter needs to be soft enough to knead into the dough. Please make sure butter it at the right consistency in order to avoid troubles very early on with your brioche dough
- Sugar: A small amount of white granulated sugar is used to make this brioche dough. As mentioned above brioche is not a particularly sweet bread. If you want to learn about the different types of sugar and how to use them in baking, please read my article in here
- Yeast: I am using fresh yeast in this recipe however it can be made with dry yeast too. My instant dry yeast pack says that its 7 g yeast equals to 25 g fresh yeast. I used 12,5 g fresh yeast to make the recipe that is equal to 3,5 g dried yeast (approx. 1 tablespoon). Please check your local brand and calculate your need accordingly
- Milk: Use room temperature whole milk
- Egg: Room temperature as always, 1 egg + 1 yolk to keep the dough extra moist
- Flour: Brioche bread as its name says a bread therefore make sure to use high protein content bread flour which contains more gluten and helps to achieve that lovely airy and chewy texture everyone loves. Worst case scenario, if you really can´t find bread flour, go with AP. If you want to be a Pro when it comes to deciding what type of flour to use in your baking, please read my article in here
- Salt: An essential ingredient in most of the dessert recipes. Balances flavour and enhances other ingredients
7 tips regarding the TECHNIQUE of making homemade Brioche bread
1. How to work with yeast for this Brioche recipe
I know a lot of people afraid of handling yeast, please don´t be one of those people! It is super easy if you follow some simple rules that are mainly related with…can you guess?! Yes, temperature as always!
The process is easy: heat milk until luke warm, mix half of the sugar in then sprinkle yeast on top and wait 10 minutes until yeast starts to foam - this process is called activating the yeast. Same rules apply whether you are baking with fresh or dried yeast. Key here is that your milk is warm enough (luke warm) but not too hot. Make sure that your kitchen is not too cold (above 20C / 68F). If yeast does not start foaming after 10 minutes, chances are very low that the dough will rise so I recommend to start over again.
Please make sure you follow the quantity of the yeast. The dough won´t get better or softer by adding more yeast! There is an exact science of adding leaving agent to baking products adding less or adding more is equally bad choice.
2. How and why knead Brioche bread dough
Brioche bread as its name indicates is bread therefore the process of making it is similar to bread meaning it involves kneading.
Once yeast foamy, place all the wet ingredients (the yeasty mixture + egg) into the bowl of your Stand mixer then after mixing for a minute add the dry ingredients (bread flour, rest of the sugar, salt) and start kneading with the help of the dough hook. First, it will look a bit messy but after a few minutes the dough will start to come together then add butter in very small portions piece by piece while the mixer is on. Very important that butter is on room temperature and soft but not too liquid (not melted) which would make it impossible to mix that into the dough. Butter might not get mixed in immediately but keep your Stand mixer on an eventually it will all come together. Do not add more flour just keep your mixer on! Once dough comes together, you will have to knead it for another approx. 10 minutes on medium high speed up until the dough is super shiny, elastic and you achieve the gluten window as per picture below. If the dough tears during this test, knead it for an another minute then check again. At this point the dough should not stick at all.
Please do not change the recipe and add a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I promise the dough will come together in the process of kneading and does not require more flour or milk etc.
3. How to proof Brioche bread dough
There are 3 alternatives for rising dough: quickly on room temp or slower in the fridge or combining the two as in case of this brioche recipe.
Make sure you do not skip the overnight fridge rise as that has 3 functions: 1. Ensures a beautiful crumb and texture 2. Develops flavour 3 .Next day you start with a cold dough that is much easier to work with
So once the dough comes together in your stand mixer and nice and shiny, form a ball and place this brioche dough into a glass or plastic bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and continue with the rising process as the following:
1st rise on room temp (23-25C / 73-77F) until dough doubled in size then punch the air out of the dough, form a ball again, cover with plastic wrap and then comes
2nd rise in the fridge overnight min 12h, 24h even better. After that, you will need to shape the dough (see below tips) and then comes the
3rd rise on room temp (23-25C / 73-77F) now with the brioche shaped in the tin. This will take another 1-2h. Particularly with the 3rd proofing you have to be careful not to over proof your dough
How to check that brioche dough is well proofed (not under proofed, not over proofed but just right?
Under proofed dough is equally problematic than proofing the dough for too long. Instead of focusing on time whether it is 1h or 2h - that might vary depending your temp and humidity - here is how to check whether your dough is ready to be baked.
Gently press the dough
- if the indent bounces back immediate - your dough need more time to proof
- if the indent stays there or only comes back halfway - your dough is ready to be baked
- if the indent causes the loaf to deflate - your dough was over proofed
If by any chance you over proofed your dough, it is better to punch the air out of it and start the process again by shaping and proofing again. To avoid over proofing please make sure you do not forget your dough and you do not force proof it with oven.
4. How to shape Brioche bread
The possibilities are endless when it comes to shaping brioche dough, today I am sharing with you a traditional round brioche that is made of 6 balls.
For shaping the dough many recipes state to use a small amount of flour, I recommend instead to use Silicone baking mat in that case no extra flour is needed. I use Silicone baking mat while I bake all the time: is is very handy eg. rolling pie dough, baking cookies and macarons, or when I have to roll something very thin I roll it in between two Silicone baking mat.
Please note that the size of the tin that is appropriate for the quantity of our dough is 16cm/ 6 inches, slightly bigger can still work.
After the overnight 2nd rise cut brioche dough into 6 equal pieces, make sure you use a Digital scale for that. Form 6 balls with your hand and place 5 of them around a prepared round baking tin (I like to use parchment paper in the tin) + 1 in the middle. Apply a throughout but gently egg wash on top and around the brioche balls.
The balls should not be too close to each other at this point as the we need them rise the 3rd time now on room temp. Try to place them into a warm place of your house: 23-25C / 73-77F is sort of ideal, but avoid speeding the process with your oven as that can lead to over proofed brioche. The 3rd proofing should be anywhere around 1-2h depending on your room temp and humidy. What we are looking for is the brioche to about double (max) and fill the cake tin but make sure you do not over proof it. Please check above proofing tips!
5. How to bake Brioche
First of all how not to bake Brioche? Do not bake it without an appropiate 3rd proofing as explained above.
Decoration is not strictly necessary on the brioche however if you want to do so either apply sesame seeds on top in that way the brioche can be used in sweet and savory way too, or sprinkle it with pearl sugar just before baking on top of the egg wash.
Towards the end of the 3rd rise pre-heat your oven to 190C / 374F then once Brioche dough nicely risen place it into the oven, lower the temp to 180C / 356F and bake for about 45 minutes. If brioche was browning too much place an aluminium foil on top for the last 10 minutes but do not open the oven door in the first half of the baking time.
Please make sure you invest into an inexpensive Digital oven thermometer to avoid under baked or burnt Brioche especially if you have had some trouble with your oven before.
Once Brioche is out of the oven, let it rest 1-2 minutes in the tin then turn it upside down, carefully remove from tin, flip it back and place it onto a cooling rack.
6. Secret behind shiny Brioche
Have you ever wondered how to get that beautiful shine on Brioche? It is actually super easy. Once brioche is baked, move it onto a cooling rack and while brioche is still warm apply a thin layers of melted butter all the way on the top and side as well. Easy peasy!
7. What equipment is needed to make homemade French Brioche
Making homemade Brioche bread is really hassle-free, easy and it is mostly about waiting the dough to rise. Regarding the equipment I suggest the following:
First and foremost make sure you measure the ingredients with the help of a Digital scale.
For kneading a Stand mixer is super handy with the dough hook on, however if you are strong like my Mom you can attempt doing it by hand, good luck!
If you want to be a Pro, use Silicone baking mat to shape the dough, in that case dough will certainly not stick and no need to use extra flour.
For baking you will need a round cake tin about 16cm/ 6 inches.
Other sweet bread recipe for you to try
Homemade Brioche bread
- 110 g (½ cups) Whole milk lukewarm
- 30 g (2 tablespoon) Granulated sugar
- 12,5 g Fresh yeast check my yeast guide to convert it to dry yeast
- 1 Egg yolk room temperature
- 1 Egg room temperature
- 250 g (2 cups) Bread flour high protein content flour
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- 120 g (½ cups) Unsalted butter room temperature
- egg with splash of water for egg wash
- small amount of melted butter for glaze
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
- Start with mixing half of the sugar with lukewarm milk then sprinkling yeast on top. Make sure kitchen is nice and warm. In 10 minutes yeast should foam.
- Place the yeast mixture into your Stand mixer with the kneading hook on then mix it together with egg yolk
- Mix in dry ingredients; bread flour, rest of the sugar, salt and start kneading until dough comes together, this will take about 3 minutes
- Slowly add in butter piece by piece while mixer is on and once all butter in, knead for another 10 minutes on medium high speed until dough becomes elastic and shiny . Once gluten window achieved (see tips above) stop kneading
- Move dough into a bowl , cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise on room temp for 1-2h until dough doubles in size. Once dough risen, punch the air out of it and form a ball again
- Move the dough into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rest and rise in the fridge overnight for min 12 hours
- Next day, after dough rested, divide the dough into 6 equal pieces and roll balls out of them. Use Silicone baking mat for shaping the dough
- Prepare a round cake tin (16cm / 6inch) with parchment paper on the side and bottom, place 5 balls around and 1 in the middle
- Mix 1 egg with a splash of water and apply egg wash on the dough
- Proof the dough the 3rd time now on room temp for about 1-2h until dough doubles and the balls fill the tin
- Pre-heat your oven to 190C / 374F towards the end of the proofing time
- Apply egg wash again
- Optional: sprinkle the top of the dough with sesame seeds
- Place the tin it into the oven, lower the temp to 180C / 356F and bake for about 40-45 minutes
- Melt butter and apply a thin layer on the baked Brioche all the way on the top and side
- Let Brioche cool on cooling rack