This is a recipe for Brioche. A French yeast bread and pastry that’s enriched with butter and eggs. The recipe is surprisingly simple and easy to make and can be used to make sweet or savory treats like chocolate babka. Today, we bake the classic Brioche à tête.
I bet you’ve often seen brioche bread at the local bakery and wondered how they make it. It’s rich, buttery, sweet, and of course expensive.
This French bread referred to as viennoiserie is often a cross between bread and pastry because it’s rich like a pastry and also takes much longer than most bread recipes.
This is the recipe for Brioche à tête. Tete means head and that’s what you see on top – the head. If you watch the video, you will the way we shape the dough and gives it, its name.
What is Brioche bread?
- Brioche bread is a type of French bread known for its rich, tender, and buttery texture. It is made with a high proportion of eggs and butter, which gives it a soft and light crumb. It is slightly sweet and often enjoyed as a breakfast or brunch item and in various desserts.
- The dough for brioche is typically made using flour, sugar, salt, eggs, and yeast. It is then enriched with generous amounts of butter, gradually incorporated into the dough to create a smooth and elastic texture. The dough is often left to rise overnight, allowing the flavors to develop and the dough to become more manageable.
- This dough can be shaped into various forms, including loaves, rolls, or individual buns. The most common shape is what we are making today, the tête de brioche, a large round loaf with a small, round ball of dough placed on top. The dough is often brushed with egg wash before baking, producing a golden and glossy crust.
- Brioche bread is versatile and can be enjoyed in many ways. It can be sliced and eaten independently, used as a base for sandwiches or French toast, or transformed into delightful pastries such as brioche buns, pain au chocolate, or brioche doughnuts.
- Overall, brioche bread is cherished for its delicate texture, buttery flavor, and its ability to enhance both sweet and savory dishes.
Why is this the best French brioche recipe?
- It makes the best brioche bread. This recipe is also simple and easy to make. The dough takes just about 10 minutes in the stand mixer.
- Most of the ingredients are easy to find or simple pantry staples.
- This is a basic recipe for brioche that can be used to make many different shapes, sandwich bread, buns, and rolls.
- The process of making brioche is not like regular bread. Once you prepare the dough, you want to let it rest in the fridge overnight. That’s what helps develop flavor but it also gives you an opportunity to plan ahead.
- Make dough – 10 minutes
- Rise at room temperature – 60 minutes
- Chill dough – 6 to 12 hours (up to 24 hours)
- Shape brioche – 10 minutes
- Proof the brioche – 60 to 90 minutes (or overnight in the fridge)
- Bake – 25 minutes
Ingredients and substitutes
- Flour – Often, bread flour is recommended for making homemade bread. But I have been making bread now for over 10 years and I always use all-purpose flour for my brioche.
- Instant dry yeast – I like to use instant dry yeast because I’ve always had great success with it. But, you can also use
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast,
- 21 grams of fresh baker’s yeast.
- Sugar–brioche is a sweet bread but you can certainly reduce the sugar by half.
- Butter – is the star of the show so using good quality butter with high-fat content is recommended. I like to use good quality European butter.
- Eggs – Adds a lot of flavor to the bread, gives a tender crumb, and strengthens the texture.
- Milk – Enhances the flavor, and tenderizes the dough giving it a soft texture. The temperature of the liquid milk is an important factor in bread making. It has to be warm, not hot. Usually about 110 F.
Homemade Brioche bread recipe
- Dry ingredients – In a large bowl, combine salt and flour – set aside.
- Wet ingredients – In the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, combine warm milk (110F), yeast, sugar, and eggs. Followed by the flour.
Pro tip – Use a whisk to ensure everything is well combined. Especially, if you are using fresh baker’s yeast like me.
- By hand – start in a bowl then transfer to a floured work surface and knead for 8 to 10 minutes
- Stand mixer – once all the flour is well incorporated, knead on medium for 12 to 15 minutes
- Butter – Next, add the soft room temperature butter one cube at a time. Once all the butter is in knead for 10 minutes more.
Pro tip – A brioche dough is soft, elastic, smooth, and still slightly sticky so do not be tempted to add extra flour.
- Bowl – Transfer to an oiled bowl seam side down. Coat the surface with oil to prevent drying. Cover with a clean kitchen cloth or plastic wrap.
- Room temperature – Leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour. It will rise slightly but not too much. Punch the dough down.
- Fridge – Make a smooth ball again. Cover and let rise in the fridge for 6 to 12 hours or up to 24 hours.
- Room temperature – Thaw at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours.
Pro tip – A brioche is an enriched dough with lots of butter, sugar, and eggs. Hence, it does take longer for the yeast to mature so overnight in the fridge does add tons of flavor.
Shape the brioche a tete
- Divide – Butter the brioche molds and set them aside. Divide the dough into 2 portions. Then, divide each into 6 equal portions of approximately 110 grams each making a total of 12 buns. Alternatively, you can also make 8 equal pieces of approximately 80 grams each. (see video). Shape each portion into a ball. Set aside.
Pro tip – You can also use a muffin pan or mini cake pans.
- Method 1
- Press each ball with your fingers to create a slightly oblong shape (like a snowman with a big head and small body).
- Using your fingers poke a hole in the center of the large ball (body) and poke the small ball (head) through it. (see video)
- Method 2
- Divide each ball into two – one large and one small.
- Make a hole in the large ball.
- Then, place the small ball in the hole on the large ball.
- It does not have to be in. Just placed on top.
- Method 1
- Place in the prepared brioche pans. Cover with a clean kitchen cloth and let rise in a warm place until double in size. This can take an hour up to 90 minutes.
Pro tip – You can also let these proof in the fridge overnight, and thaw an hour before baking. Perfect for weekend or festive breakfast.
Proof and bake
- About 10 minutes before baking, preheat the oven at 375°F / 190°C / Gas Mark 5.
- Brush each brioche with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar pearls. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly golden brown on top.
Pro tip – If the buns get too dark on the top – tent with a foil.
- Cool on the cooling rack. It is best to rest these for at least 15 mins before you serve.
- Brioche loaf – this dough can be shaped into a loaf and baked in a 9 x 4 x 4-inch loaf pan.
- Jam babka – roll the dough into a rectangle, and smear a generous amount of your favorite jam. Cut in the middle lengthways and twist to make a babka. Bake until golden.
- Hamburger buns – these make the most delicious buns for your burgers. Divide into 12 and shape and shape into a flat ball. See my brioche buns recipe
Tips for Success
Here are some tips to help you make the best brioche bread:
- Use high-quality ingredients: Since brioche is a simple bread that relies on the quality of its ingredients, it’s essential to use fresh, high-quality ingredients. This includes using fresh eggs, unsalted butter, and good-quality flour.
- Plan ahead: Brioche dough benefits from a slow fermentation process, so plan your baking schedule accordingly. Consider making the dough the day before you plan to bake it and allowing it to rise and develop flavors in the refrigerator overnight. This long, slow rise helps enhance the taste and texture of the bread.
- Be mindful of temperatures: The temperature of your ingredients and environment can affect the outcome of your brioche bread. Make sure your eggs and butter are at room temperature before using them. Additionally, keep an eye on the dough’s temperature during mixing and proofing. If it becomes too warm, it can hinder proper gluten development and affect the texture.
- Give it time to rise: Brioche dough requires sufficient time to rise properly. Allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in size during the initial rise and the second rise after shaping. This can take longer than with other bread due to the high-fat content in brioche.
- Handle the dough gently: Brioche dough is delicate due to its high butter content. Handle it gently during mixing and shaping to avoid overworking the dough, which could result in a dense texture. Use a gentle folding technique to lightly incorporate the butter and knead the dough.
- Use the butter properly: When adding the butter to the dough, it’s important that the butter is soft but still cool. Add it gradually, in small pieces, while the mixer is running on low speed. This helps the butter incorporate evenly into the dough without melting completely.
- Experiment with variations: While traditional brioche is delicious, you can also experiment with different flavors and add-ins. Try adding a hint of vanilla extract, orange zest, or even chocolate chips to the dough to create unique brioche variations.
- Don’t rush the baking process: Bake your brioche bread at the appropriate temperature and for the recommended time. Keep an eye on it while baking to ensure it doesn’t brown too quickly. If it starts to brown too much, you can tent it with aluminum foil to prevent further browning while it finishes baking.
Here are some common problems and their potential solutions:
- Dense or Heavy Texture: If your brioche bread turns out dense or heavy instead of light and fluffy, there might be a few causes:
- Insufficient proofing time: Brioche requires a longer proofing time due to its high fat content. Ensure that you let the dough rise until it has doubled in size before baking.
- Overmixing: Overmixing the dough can develop too much gluten, resulting in a dense texture. Mix the ingredients just until they are combined and avoid excessive kneading.
- Incorrect yeast: Make sure your yeast is fresh and active. Expired or inactive yeast can lead to poor rising.
- Dry or Crumbly Texture: If your brioche bread is dry or crumbly, consider the following:
- Insufficient moisture: Brioche dough should be soft and slightly sticky. If the dough feels dry, try adding a bit more liquid, such as milk or water, during the mixing process.
- Too little butter: Brioche relies on a generous amount of butter for its richness. Ensure that you are adding the correct proportion of butter to the dough.
- Overbaking: Overbaking can result in a dry texture. Keep a close eye on your bread during baking and remove it from the oven as soon as it turns golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- Lack of Flavor: If your brioche lacks the desired flavor:
- Increase the amount of sugar: Brioche traditionally has a slightly sweet taste. Adjust the amount of sugar in the recipe to suit your preferences.
- Use high-quality ingredients: The quality of ingredients, such as eggs, butter, and vanilla extract, can significantly impact the flavor of your brioche. Opt for fresh, high-quality ingredients whenever possible.
Baking can be a bit of trial and error, and it might take a few attempts to perfect your brioche bread. Pay attention to the details of the recipe and the techniques used, and don’t hesitate to make adjustments based on your observations.
Why is my brioche dough so oily?
If your brioche dough is excessively oily, it could be due to a few reasons. Here are some troubleshooting tips to address the issue:
- Butter temperature: The temperature of the butter when incorporating it into the dough is crucial. If the butter is too soft or melted, it can result in an overly oily dough. Ensure that your butter is softened to room temperature but still cool to the touch. Softened butter should be pliable but not liquid or greasy.
- Butter incorporation: When adding the butter to the dough, it’s important to incorporate it gradually and evenly. If the butter is not mixed in properly, it can create pockets of oiliness within the dough. Be sure to add the butter in small pieces while the mixer is running on low speed, allowing it to mix thoroughly into the dough.
- Overworking the dough: Overworking the dough can cause the butter to separate and create an oily texture. Brioche dough requires gentle handling. Avoid excessive kneading or mixing, as this can lead to overdeveloped gluten and a greasy result. Mix the dough just until it comes together and then allow it to rest and rise properly.
- High-fat content: Brioche is naturally a rich and buttery bread due to its high-fat content. However, if you find that your dough is consistently too oily, you can reduce the amount of butter slightly in the recipe. Experiment with adjusting the ratio of butter to flour to achieve a balance that works for you.
- Room temperature and proofing time: The temperature of the room where the dough is proofing can also impact its texture. If the room is too warm, the butter in the dough may melt and result in an oily consistency. Ensure that the dough is proofed in a moderately warm environment (around 75°F or 24°C) to allow proper rising without excessive melting of the butter.
By paying attention to these factors and making adjustments, you should be able to achieve a balanced and tender brioche dough without excessive oiliness.
Creative ways to serve brioche
Brioche bread’s versatility makes it perfect for various creative serving ideas. Here are a few suggestions to inspire you:
- French Toast: Brioche’s rich buttery texture makes it an excellent choice for French toast. Slice the brioche into thick slices, dip them in a mixture of beaten eggs, milk, and favorite spices (such as cinnamon and vanilla), then cook them on a grill or pan until golden brown. Serve with maple syrup, fresh berries, or a dusting of powdered sugar.
- Brioche Burger Buns: Elevate your burger game by using sliced brioche rolls as burger buns. Alternatively, you can use this dough to shape the balls into hamburger buns. The soft and slightly sweet bread pairs wonderfully with savory fillings. Toast the buns lightly, assemble your favorite burger ingredients, and enjoy the indulgent combination of flavors and textures.
- Bread Pudding: Brioche’s tender crumb is perfect for making a delicious bread pudding. Tear the brioche into bite-sized pieces and soak them in a mixture of eggs, milk or cream, sugar, and your desired flavors (such as vanilla, cinnamon, or chocolate). Bake until golden and set. Serve warm with a drizzle of caramel sauce or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
- Brioche Bruschetta: Slice brioche into thin rounds and toast them lightly. Top each round with flavorful ingredients like fresh tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze for a delightful twist on traditional bruschetta.
- Brioche Bread Pockets: Cut a slice of brioche and remove the crust. Gently flatten the bread with a rolling pin, place your desired filling (such as ham and cheese or Nutella and sliced bananas) in the center, and fold the bread over to create a pocket. Seal the edges by pressing them together, then toast or grill the pocket until golden and crispy.
- Brioche Bread Pudding Muffins: Transform your brioche bread pudding into individual portions by baking them in muffin tins. Pour the bread pudding mixture into greased muffin cups and bake until puffed and golden. These mini bread puddings are perfect for serving at brunch or as a dessert.
- Brioche Croque Monsieur/Madame: Create a classic French sandwich by making a Croque Monsieur (ham and cheese) or Croque Madame (ham, cheese, and a fried egg) with brioche bread. Layer the fillings between slices of brioche, then grill or bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Remember, brioche’s rich and buttery flavor can complement both sweet and savory ingredients, allowing you to get creative with your serving ideas. Feel free to experiment and tailor the recipes to suit your taste preferences.
More brioche recipes
Brioche bread is known for its rich and tender texture, achieved by using a high proportion of eggs and butter in the dough. It has a slightly sweet flavor and a soft, buttery crumb, setting it apart from other bread varieties.
Brioche bread requires time and patience due to the dough’s need for proper rising and proofing. The preparation, including mixing and kneading, can take around 30 minutes. The rising time can vary but usually takes about 2-3 hours. Baking the bread typically takes 30-40 minutes.
Yes, you can make brioche bread without a stand mixer. While a stand mixer makes the process easier, you can also mix and knead the dough by hand. It will require extra effort and time, but the results can still be excellent.
If stored properly, this soft brioche will stay at room temperature for 3 to 4 days. It can also be frozen for a month or more.
If you overproof the brioche dough, it will taste yeasty. Over-fermenting causes the dough to develop a beer-like sourish taste. The best way to avoid this is to follow the recipe closely. Let it rise at room temperature for no more than 90 minutes. Then, chill overnight before you shape, proof, and bake.
Brioche bread is best stored at room temperature in a paper bag or bread box to maintain its texture. Avoid storing it in a plastic bag, as it can cause moisture buildup and make the bread soggy. Brioche can also be frozen in airtight containers or bags for longer-term storage.
Yes, you can prepare brioche dough in advance and refrigerate it overnight. The slow fermentation in the refrigerator enhances the flavor and texture of the bread. You can shape and bake the dough the next day, allowing you to have freshly baked brioche whenever you want.
Yes, brioche dough is versatile and can be used for various recipes. It can be shaped into rolls, buns or even used as a base for pastries like pain au chocolat or brioche doughnuts. Its rich and buttery flavor pairs well with both sweet and savory fillings.
Eggs are a crucial ingredient in traditional brioche bread as they contribute to its rich and tender texture. If you have dietary restrictions or allergies, you can find eggless or vegan variations of brioche bread that use substitutes like flaxseed meal, applesauce, or aquafaba as a vegan egg replacers.
Yes, you can make mini brioche or individual portions by shaping the dough into smaller rolls or using muffin tins for baking. This is an excellent option if you prefer individual servings or want to make bite-sized brioche buns or sliders.
Both are enriched doughs.
– Challah is a Jewish braided bread and is made without dairy.
– So while brioche bread is made with milk, eggs, and butter, challah is made with water, eggs, and oil.
– Challah needs less raising time compared to brioche which means it is ready much quicker than brioche.
Brioche is often considered a pastry because it is rich in butter and eggs. But, unlike brioche, croissants, Danish, and puff pastry are laminated doughs made with layers of butter between the dough. The result is a flaky pastry, unlike brioche which bakes into a rich, butter, soft bread. See types of pastry
Brioche is a highly enriched dough, so overnight proofing helps enhance its flavor and strengthen and relax the gluten. Overnight proofing is highly recommended. However, you can leave it to rise on the counter for longer, but you will still need to chill the dough before you shape, proof, and bake them.
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Total dough -about 1200 grams (62% Hydration )- Makes 12 buns x 110 grams each
- 1 Egg yolk
- 2 tbsp Water
- 2 tbsp Pearl sugar (optional)
- Dry ingredients – In a bowl, combine salt and flour – set aside.625 g Bread flour, 10 g Salt
- Wet ingredients – In the bowl of a stand mixer with the hook attachment, combine warm milk (110F), yeast, sugar, and eggs. Followed by the flour. Pro tip – use a whisk to ensure everything is well combined especially if you are using fresh baker's yeast like me.180 g Whole milk, 14 g Active dry yeast, 200 g Eggs, 75 g Sugar
- Knead – By hand – start in a bowl then transfer to a well-dusted worktop and knead for 8 to 10 minutes – Stand mixer – once all the flour is well incorporated, knead on medium for 12 to 15 minutes
- Butter – Next, add the soft room temperature butter one cube at a time. Once all the butter is in knead for 10 minutes more.Pro tip – a brioche dough is soft, elastic, smooth, and still slightly sticky so do not be tempted to add extra flour.113 g Butter
- Rise Room temperature – Leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour. It will rise slightly but not too much. Punch the dough down. Fridge – Make a smooth ball again. Cover and let rise in the fridge for 6 to 12 hours or up to 24 hours. Room temperature – Thaw at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours. Pro tip – a brioche is an enriched dough with lots of butter, sugar, and eggs, it does take longer for the yeast to mature so overnight in the fridge does add tons of flavor.
Shape the brioche a tete
- Divide – Butter the brioche molds and set them aside. Divide the dough into 2 portions. Then, divide each into 6 equal portions of approximately 110 grams each making a total of 12 buns. Alternatively, you can also make 8 equal pieces of approximately 80 grams each. (see video). Shape each portion into a ball. Set aside.Pro tip – you can also use a muffin pan or mini cake pans.
- Method 1 – – Press each ball with your fingers to create a slightly oblong shape (like a snowman with a big head and small body). – Using your fingers poke a hole in the center of the large ball (body) and poke the small ball (head) through it. (see video)
- Method 2 – – Divide each ball into two – one large and one small. – Make a hole in the large ball. – Then, place the small ball in the hole on the large ball. It does not have to be in. Just placed on top.
Proof and bake
- Oven – About 10 minutes before baking preheat the oven at 375°F / 190°C / Gas Mark 5.
- Bake – Brush each brioche with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar pearls. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly golden brown on top. Pro tip – If the buns get too dark on the top – tent with a foil.1 Egg yolk, 2 tbsp Water, 2 tbsp Pearl sugar
- Cool on the cooling rack. It is best to rest these for at least 15 mins before you serve.
Recipe Notes & Tips
- Measure all ingredients ahead of time so you don’t forget anything at the last minute.
- For accuracy, use a weight measure for the ingredients because every cup of flour can weigh differently depending on how you fill it.
- The liquid (milk or water) must be warm (not hot) – about 110F. If the liquid is too hot, it will kill the yeast, similarly, if the liquid is too cold it will not activate the yeast.
- Though instant dry yeast has a long shelf life, it can get ruined. Always check the expiry date on the yeast. If unsure, combine the yeast with water/milk, sugar/honey, and oil/butter from the recipe and let stand 5 minutes. If it gets foamy the yeast is good to go if not, it’s best to buy fresh yeast or check the temperature of the milk.
- Keep salt away from yeast as it can kill the yeast. I like to combine salt with the flour then add the yeast mixture.
- A soft loose well-hydrated dough is not necessarily a bad thing, it will often give you soft puffy bread. So, don’t be tempted to add more flour than mentioned in the recipe.
- Kneading is key to making good bread. While kneading by hand can be therapeutic, using a stand mixer is easier and quicker especially for soft doughs like brioche.
- Leave the dough at room temperature to rise until double in volume. While not recommended, when in haste, you can place it in a warm (30 C / 85 F – not hotter) oven this will expedite the rise.
- Bread does not have to be time-consuming. You can leave the dough in the fridge to rise for a few hours (even overnight) while you go about your chores. A slow rise will give more flavor to the bread.
- Always preheat the oven for at least 10 minutes before you place bread in or the low temperature will spread the dough too much.
1 lb = 453 grams, 1 cup = 240 ml, 1 stick = 113g, 1 tbsp= 15 ml, 1 tsp= 5 ml,
The nutrition information and metric conversion are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee its accuracy. If this data is important to you please verify with your trusted nutrition calculator. Thank you