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Classic Brioche Bread with Video

Classic Brioche dough bakes up to a light and silky bread. It can also be the basis of many delicious pastries. Here’s how to make Brioche bread from scratch…

a loaf of brioche a tete on a green towel
Brioche “a tête” is baked in a traditional fluted pan.

This buttery and beautiful enriched bread dough can be used to make a tasty loaf of bread, and so much more. You can create Chocolate Cherry Buns or Apricot Pistachio Buns with this dough.

Brioche burger buns are super popular right now. Visit my Hamburger Bun recipe to see how to shape hamburger buns.

If you maintain a sourdough starter, you can click over to this recipe for Sourdough Brioche.

Tips for making great Brioche Bread from scratch:

  • Use LOTS of butter. Classically, the recipe has a ratio of about 2:1, flour to butter. This is a very rich dough.
  • Use eggs and sugar to tenderize and lightly sweeten the bread.
  • Knead the dough a long time to develop the gluten. This helps the super-rich bread hold it’s shape as it rises.
  • The dough can be chilled either before of after shaping the loaves. If your dough is getting warm, chill after rising and before shaping the loaf. If the dough is fairly cool you can shape the bread right after the first rise.
  • When you bake the dough in a loaf pan it is called a “Nanterre”. Brioche baked in a fluted pan is called a Tête (head) because of the top knot on the loaf.

FAQs about making Classic Brioche Bread:

Do I have to use a stand mixer to make Brioche?

Well, technically, since Brioche was made long before stand mixers were invented it is possible. But it’s not easy without a stand mixer. You have to fold and “slap” the dough on the work surface for a good 20-30 minutes to develop gluten. Traditional kneading with your hands would warm up the dough too much.

Do I have to use expensive European butter for this recipe?

I recommend using European butter because the lower water content means the butter is more pliable at cooler temperatures. This makes it easier to incorporate the butter into the dough. You can use American butter, just make sure it’s pliable, but not melting.

Why does Brioche dough have to knead for such a long time?

The long kneading process is imperative to a great loaf of Brioche bread. Because of the high butter content, you need well-developed gluten to help the bread rise and hold the air pockets.

Can I chill Brioche dough over night?

Yes, after the first rise you can put the bowl of dough into the refrigerator then shape and rise the dough the next day. If the dough isn’t too warm to handle, you can also shape the dough after the first rise and place the pans into the refrigerator over night. Finish rising and bake the next morning.

What other types of bread can I make with Brioche dough?

Because of it’s enriched and slightly sweet crumb, Brioche dough can be the basis of many other tasty treats. Roll the dough, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and raisins, then swirl into a loaf to make cinnamon raisin bread. Shape the dough into cinnamon buns or fill it with chocolate to make Babka.

How long does Brioche stay fresh?

2-3 days at room temperature.

What can I do with leftover Brioche?

Make French toast or bread pudding!!

Can Brioche be frozen?

Yes. Freeze either the whole loaf or slice and freeze for easy eating.

Watch the video to see how to make Classic Brioche Bread:

a loaf of classic brioche bread.
Brioche Dough baked in a loaf pan is called a “Nanterre”.
a view of the interior of a loaf of brioche bread
Enriched dough makes a bread that is tender and soft with a fine crumb.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

a brioche a tete

Classic Brioche

Yield: 2 large loaves
Prep Time: 1 hour
Chilling & Rising Time: 6 hours
Bake Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 7 hours 40 minutes

Classic Brioche dough bakes up to a light and silky bread. It can also be the basis of many delicious pastries.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup (6oz, 180ml) whole milk, scalded and cooled to 110°F
  • 1 packet (2 1/4 tsp, 7g) dry yeast
  • 3 1/2 cups (17 1/2 oz, 495g) bread flour
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (3oz, 84g) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup (8 oz, 225g) unsalted European butter at cool room temperature
  • 1 egg for egg wash

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the milk, yeast and 1 cup flour. Mix to form a thick batter. Cover the bowl and set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. After 30 minutes uncover the bowl. With the mixer running, add the eggs, sugar, salt and another cup of the flour. Mix until combined. Switch to the dough hook. With the mixer running on low, add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour.
  3. Increase the speed to medium and knead the dough for 10-15 minutes until the dough gathers on the hook, becomes smooth and silky and slaps the sides of the bowl.
  4. If you're using a European butter you might not need to work the butter if it's already pliable. While the dough is kneading, turn the butter out onto the work surface and knead it with a bench scraper or pound it with a rolling pin until it's soft and pliable and has a similar texture to the dough. You want it pliable but not melted and greasy.
  5. Reduce the mixer speed to low. A tablespoon at a time, add the butter to the dough. The dough will break apart, keep adding the rest of the butter. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides if the butter builds up on the bowl. Increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough comes back together, gathers on the hook and again slaps the sides of the bowl.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. The dough should be quite soft and a little sticky at this point. Form the dough into a large ball and transfer to an oiled bowl, turning once to coat the dough.
  7. Cover the bowl and set aside for 1 1/2 - 2 hours until it doubles in volume. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead the the dough to form a ball and return to the bowl. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Chilling the dough will firm up the butter and make the dough easier to handle. (see note)
  8. To make loaves: Butter or pan spray two 9"x5" loaf pans. Divide the dough in half. Divide one half of the dough into 6 equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough under your cupped hand to form a smooth ball. Line the 6 dough balls into one of the pans in 3 rows of 2. Make the other loaf in the same way using the other half of the dough. Cover the pans and set aside to rise until doubled in size, 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
  9. To make classic "tete" brioche: Butter two 8" brioche molds. Divide the dough in half. Divide one half of the dough into 2/3 and 1/3 portions. Form the 2/3 portion into a large ball and set it into one of the buttered pans. Roll the 1/3 portion to a teardrop shape. Poke a hole in the top of the brioche and set the teardrop, pointed side down, into the loaf. Repeat with the other piece of dough to make another brioche. Cover the pans and set aside to rise until doubled in size, 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
  10. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the loaves until golden brown and the interior is 200°F, about 30 minutes.
  11. Turn the pan out onto a cool rack and cool completely before slicing.

Notes

If the dough is still cool after the first rise you can form the loaves and refrigerate the pans for 4 hours or overnight. Rise and bake the loaves in the morning.

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