Are you craving buttery, soft bread that will melt in your mouth? You’re at the right place! This recipe for homemade French brioche is certain to fulfill your appetite.
And the coolest thing is that it’s easy to make; just pay close attention to the kneading and rising times. They’re vital to the end product, trust me.
I know what you’re thinking: this dish is likely not the healthiest one around. And you are correct, it is not exactly quinoa and spinach. But occasionally, it is acceptable to indulge in a small piece (or two, or three…. it’s difficult to stop at just one, isn’t it?).
You will be astounded by how beautifully it mixes with the brioche since it is the ideal blend of sweet and salty flavors.
What is French Brioche?
This rich and flavorful French bread has been enjoyed for centuries. It is hardly surprising that this bread has endured the test of time, given its fine, sensitive crumb and buttery flavor. In fact, the term brioche was first recorded in 1404!
Despite the fact that it was initially produced with a sourdough starter and wild yeast, modern recipes frequently rely on commercial yeast for convenience.
But what makes brioche bread so exceptional?
Well, this is due to the “enriched” dough that was used to manufacture it. This type of dough contains fats and proteins, such as butter and eggs, which give French brioche its distinctive flavor and texture.
The high-fat content of enriched dough might inhibit gluten development and make the initial kneading of the dough more difficult than with ordinary bread dough.
Nevertheless, with a little patience and work, you can create a beautiful and rewarding loaf of brioche bread that can be used in both sweet and savory recipes.
Brioche dough is a rich, decadent pastry dough prepared with butter and eggs, which provides its distinctive soft, airy texture. As a result of combining all of the ingredients except for the butter, the dough will be first thick and slightly sticky.
After that, the butter is added in small portions and gradually integrated into the dough. While the butter is mixed in, the dough will become even stickier and looser due to the added moisture and fat.
After all of the butter has been added, the dough must be worked, and the gluten developed. Typically, this is accomplished using a mixer with a dough hook attachment.
As the dough is kneaded, it will become shiny and sturdy, neatly separating from the bowl’s sides. This may take some time, but have patience since the dough will finally acquire the right consistency. The French brioche dough should be smooth, flexible, and somewhat sticky when it is done.
Kneading brioche by hand
Prepare to roll up your sleeves and get your hands a little dirty, as we will be hand-making some delicious brioche! This recipe demands a great deal of perseverance and some physical strength, as the dough is extremely sticky. However, we have a few suggestions to aid you through the procedure.
As you mix and knead the dough, you may start to wonder whether or not it is too sticky. Trust us; it’s definitely not. The dough should be on the wetter side regardless of the amount of butter. Therefore, however how tempting it may be, do not add additional flour.
Instead, try utilizing the “slap and fold” approach to manage the dough. Simply place the dough on a flat surface and fold it over on itself.
This helps to stretch and strengthen the gluten and distribute the butter evenly throughout the dough. Work rapidly so that the dough does not become too sticky on your hands.
With a little time and work, you will have a deliciously soft and fluffy brioche loaf that is ideal for toasting or utilizing as a base for sweet or savory sandwiches.
Don’t be frightened by the dough’s stickiness; it’s all part of the process.
Ingredients you’ll need
Flour: We recommend using all-purpose flour with a protein content of about 9-11% for this recipe. This amount of protein is sufficient for gluten formation but not enough for chewy bread. Keep in mind that the protein content of all-purpose flour might vary between brands and even between nations, so it’s best to verify the protein content rather than the brand name.
Yeast: This recipe can be prepared using either instant yeast or active dry yeast. Instant yeast will rise more quickly than active dry yeast, but both will work as long as they are viable. To determine the viability of your yeast, combine it with a tablespoon of warm milk (about 95-105 F or 35-40 degrees Celsius) and sugar. If it becomes foamy within 5-10 minutes, it is ready to be used.
Eggs: Depending on the country, egg sizes might vary in both weight and name (e.g., large, extra-large, jumbo, etc.). Instead of depending on the size label, it is important to measure eggs by volume to guarantee your recipe works out as intended.
Butter: Use high-quality butter when preparing the dough. You may use either unsalted or salted butter, but you must modify the salt content of the recipe proportionally if you choose salted butter.
Besides these main ingredients, you’ll need granulated sugar, water, salt and lukewarm milk.
How to make Brioche Bread
Step 1: Let’s start by adding the warm milk, yeast, and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook. Mix in the eggs, flour, and salt to make a thick, slightly sticky dough. Turn the mixer on to medium-low speed and let it run for about 5 minutes to start making the gluten.
Step 2: Time to add butter! Gradually add each cube into the dough, waiting until each one is fully mixed in before adding the next one.
Increase the mixer’s speed to medium and keep mixing until the dough begin to get stronger and come together, pulling away from the edges of the bowl.
It will still be quite sticky, so be cautious not to add too much flour. Excessive flour will make the bread too dense.
For the best gluten development and fluffiest brioche crumb, mix the dough for at least 15-20 minutes or until you can stretch it thin enough to see through. This is called the “window pane effect.”
First Dough Rise:
Step 3: Once the dough is ready, take it out of the bowl and form it into a smooth ball. Put it in a clean bowl and seal it with plastic wrap or a moist kitchen towel.
Let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, which should take between 1.5 and 2 hours, depending on how warm the room is.
Step 4: Gently deflate your dough and shape it into a ball. Cover it using plastic wrap and leave it in the refrigerator overnight. The above step can be shortened, but the bread will taste best if it has a long, cold-proof of 8 to 12 hours.
If you don’t want to let the dough rise overnight, it will still need a couple of hours in the fridge after rising at room temperature to let the butter harden and make shaping easier.
A Cold Proofing:
The dough will still need to rest in the fridge for a few hours after proving at room temperature if you don’t want to wait overnight. The butter will stiffen during this period of cold rest, which will simplify shaping.
Shape Variation Options:
Variation 1: Use a bench scraper or knife to cut a portion of the dough into 8 equal portions. Roll each piece of dough into a tight ball, and place the dough balls in a tin that has been lined in two rows.
Variation 2: Cut a portion of the dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long roll about 10 inches long. Braid the three lengths together, tucking in the ends, and put the braided dough in the pan that has been lined.
Final Dough Rise:
Let the formed bread rise in a warm place until it’s doubled in size, which should take about 2 hours, depending on how warm the room is.
Heat the oven to 390 F (200 C).
In a bowl, mix an egg with a tablespoon of water. Brush the egg wash over the top of the dough.
Bake the bread for about 30 minutes or until it turns a deep golden brown. If the tops are browning too fast, loosely cover them with aluminum foil.
Once the bread is done, let it cool on a cooling rack before slicing. Brioche can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days or in the freezer for up to three months.
Enjoy your fresh-baked, spongy brioche bread!
French Brioche Bread Recipe
French cuisine is famous for its delectable, buttery bread, which is excellent for breakfast, lunch, and snacks. It is a versatile option for any meal thanks to its soft and fluffy texture, which goes well with both sweet and savory spreads.
- ½ cup plus ½ Tbsp of lukewarm milk (95-105°F)
- 1 cup room temperature butter, cut into cubes
- 2 ½ tsp of yeast, instant or active dried yeast
- 4 Tbsp of sugar, granulated
- 5 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- 5 eggs, large (or 6 smaller ones)
For the Egg wash
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbsp of water
Prepare the brioche dough
- Mix yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar into milk in a stand mixer with a dough hook. Let it sit for 5–10 minutes until it gets foamy.
- Put the rest of the sugar, the eggs, the flour, and the salt in the mixer. Mix on low until you get a thick, slightly sticky dough. Mix the dough for about 5 minutes to make the gluten.
- Add the butter a cube or two at a time, making sure that each addition is fully blended in before adding more.
- Turn the mixer to medium and continue mixing until the dough starts to get stronger and come together.
- Mix the dough for at least 15 minutes for the best gluten development and brioche texture. The dough should be thin enough that you can see through it. This is called the “window pane effect.”
- Take the dough out of the mixing bowl and shape it into a ball. Put it in a clean bowl and cover it with a wet kitchen towel or plastic wrap.
- Let the dough rise for 1.5 to 2 hours or until it has doubled in size, depending on the temperature of the room.
- Roll the dough back into a ball after gently deflating it.
- Refrigerate overnight with a lid or plastic wrap. (This step can be shortened, but the best flavor comes from letting it sit in the fridge for 8 to 12 hours.)
- In case you don’t want to wait overnight, the dough still needs to rest in the fridge for a couple of hours after it has been proofed at room temperature.
- This time in the cold will let the butter firm up, making it easier to shape.
Shape and the second rise
- Take the dough out of the fridge and cut it in half so that each half is the same size.
- Put each portion in a loaf pan that measures 8.5 by 4.5 inches (21 by 11 cm) and is lined with parchment paper.
Dough shape variations:
- Variation 1: Cut a piece of dough into eight equal pieces. Roll each piece into a tight ball and put them in the pan in two rows next to each other.
- Variation 2: Cut one piece of dough into three equal parts. Each piece should be rolled into a long roll about 10 inches long. Braid the three lengths together, tucking in the ends, and place the braided dough in the pan.
- Let the dough rise in a warm place until it’s twice as big (about 2 hours, depending on room temperature).
Baking the Brioche
- Set the oven temperature to 390°F (200°C).
- Mix an egg and 1 tablespoon of water with a whisk, then brush the egg wash on top of the dough.
- Bake the brioche bread for about 30 minutes or until it is a deep golden color. Cover it with a sheet of aluminum foil after 20 minutes if it’s getting too brown too fast.
- When the bread is done, it should sound hollow when you tap it and have an internal temperature of 190°F. Let the bread cool down before you cut it.
- Brioche can be kept at room temperature for up to three days in an airtight container, or it can be frozen for later use.
Also, if you have any leftover Brioche bread that is about to expire, you can use it to make this fantastic Creme Brulee French toast!
If you like this recipe for French brioche bread as much as we do, share it on Pinterest with your friends and followers. Just click on the image below to add it to your board. Your followers will be grateful that you shared something so tasty. And if they’re feeling especially thankful, they might even bring you a jar of homemade jelly to go with your freshly baked bread. Bon appétit!