Classic Brioche

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Yield: 12 small brioche or 1 large loaf

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Brioche is a yeast bread that's so rich, it can be eaten pleasurably with absolutely no adornment at all. Which isn't to say that a tart-sweet raspberry preserve or orange marmalade, or peach jam, Devon cream or butter aren't all welcome additions; simply that a bite of brioche can proudly stand alone. With all of its butter, this is a difficult dough to develop by hand, and we don't suggest trying it. An electric mixer or bread machine is ideal for the task; if you have access to either of these helpers, don't hesitate to tackle this recipe. It's only a tad more challenging than any other yeast bread recipe, and the results are out of this world.

Classic Brioche

star rating (10) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 12 small brioche or 1 large loaf
Published: 01/01/2010

Ingredients

Dough

  • 2 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup cool water
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

Egg wash

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon water

Tips from our bakers

  • Brioche makes wonderful bread pudding or French toast; its richness and tender, close grain make it the ideal bread for soaking up flavored egg mixtures.
  • For a savory version of brioche, add chopped herbs to the dough. Small savory brioche make wonderful bases for Eggs Benedict or poached eggs Florentine.
  • Brioche dough can also be divided into golf ball-sized pieces, rolled into rounds, and placed side by side to make a ring that can be pulled apart. Feel free to braid the dough if you like, or bake it as a sandwich-style loaf.

Directions

1. Place 1 1/2 cups (6 1/4 ounces) of the flour, the yeast, water, and eggs into the bowl of a mixer or the bucket of your bread machine. Beat at medium speed (or knead in the bread machine) until smooth. Cover the mixture and let it sit for 45 minutes.

2. After 45 minutes, the sponge will have developed some bubbles, but not risen much because the mixture is thin. The yeast is getting a jump start.

3. Add the remaining 1 1/4 cups (5 1/4 ounces) flour; the sugar, and salt.

4. Beat for 8 to 10 minutes (switch to a dough hook if you're using a mixer), or knead in the bread machine, until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl and becomes shiny and elastic.

5. With the mixer or bread machine running, add the soft butter 2 tablespoons at a time, letting the butter become absorbed before adding the next chunk. Repeat until all of the butter is added. Cover the dough and let it rise for 1 hour. It'll be very soft at this point, and should have grown by about a third. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently fold it over several times (use a bench knife to scrape up any bits that stick to the table). Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover the bowl, and refrigerate it for a minimum of 4 hours and up to about 16 hours. The dough will firm up considerably.

6. To make large brioche, remove the dough from the refrigerator, take a piece of the dough the size of a golf ball and set it aside. Form the rest into a round loaf. Grease a brioche pan and place the loaf into it. Take a small bowl and grease the inside and the outside of it; place this little bowl on top of the dough, and shape the reserved small piece of dough into a ball. Put this ball inside the bowl and allow the dough to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until it's an inch above the edge of the pan and looks puffy. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

7. Once the dough is risen, remove the small bowl and gently replace the topknot. Whisk together the egg and water, and brush the bread with the egg glaze. Bake for 40 minutes, until the center of the bread tests 190°F when measured with an instant-read thermometer. Check the bread after 20 minutes: if it's browning too quickly, tent the top with aluminum foil. Traditional brioche is a very deep golden brown, as the photo illustrates, but if you want a lighter crust the foil tent will do the trick. Remove the bread from the oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes before loosening the edge of the bread from the pan and tipping it out. Place the bread on a rack to finish cooling completely before slicing.

8. To make individual brioche, divide the dough into 12 pieces. Take a marble-sized piece of dough from each of the 12 pieces and set it aside. Roll each larger bit of dough into a ball; place them in greased brioche tins or paper pans. Roll the small pieces into balls. Set them aside and let them rise with the small brioche for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

9. When the dough has risen and is puffy-looking, preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease your finger, and poke a "belly button" into the center of each individual brioche. Gently place the small marble of doughs into these dents, then brush the tops with egg wash. Bake the brioche for 25 to 30 minutes, until the centers test 190°F when measured with an instant-read thermometer. Remove the brioche from the oven an cool on a rack before serving.

Nutrition information

Serving Size: 66g Servings Per Batch: 12 Amount Per Serving: Calories: 249 Calories from Fat: 154 Total Fat: 17g Saturated Fat: 10g Trans Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 111mg Sodium: 171mg Total Carbohydrate: 18g Dietary Fiber: 1g Sugars: 0g Protein: 5g

* The nutrition information provided for this recipe is determined by the ESHA Genesis R&D software program. Substituting any ingredients may change the posted nutrition information.

Reviews

1
  • star rating 03/09/2015
  • Jeff Redman from Sacramento
  • People keep raving over brioche and keep trying it, but I'm never wowed. So I thought I'll make it myself. King Arthur's recipes are reliable, so I'll try their recipe. At every step the dough looked and acted as described. The baked loaf looks amazing. Never-the-less, and I can hardly believe it, what with the eggs and all that butter, the result was just as I have always found brioche, practically tasteless except for a slightly bitter aftertaste. It must just be me. I guess I better stick to challah.
  • star rating 01/30/2015
  • Bonnie from Markleeville, CA
  • Okay. I last rated this 4 stars. I wanted to try again. Now I am rating this 5 stars. I found that this bread is used a lot as a dessert ingredient. I made the best bread pudding ever! I could never go back to any kind of leftover breads for bread pudding. This bread also came out better than the last one. I have a feeling I over cooked the last Brioche. This recipe, I will use it again, and again. Loved the taste better this time. I braided this last loaf. It's beautiful!
    Bonnie, we're so glad to hear that you made this recipe again and were more pleased with the results second time around. Persistence pays off! You're very right about brioche making the best bread pudding--it is one of my favorite ways to enjoy this sweet bread. Happy baking! --Kye@KAF
  • 01/21/2015
  • ginben1 from KAF Community
  • I have not made this yet, so no stars, no recommendation...What purpose does the "golf ball" to serve? Can it be made without it? Also, would this work in a small pullman pan? We would love to answer this question for you. Please contact us at the Baker's Hotline at 855-371-2253 so that we can answer your question and hopefully encourage you go to ahead and try making this soft, supple bread for yourself. -Kye@KAF
  • star rating 01/17/2015
  • Bonnie from Markleeville, CA
  • This was "okay". I didn't change recipe, or tweeked it. I like the bread I made this for french toast. I never had or tasted brioche before. I felt it was "okay". Nothing to rave about. Would I make it again? Not sure really. I think I would try another recipe and compare. I would like to make a brioche also to try bread pudding which is one of my favorite dessert. Thanks again!
  • star rating 11/23/2014
  • dargiebiz from KAF Community
  • Extraordinary recipe. The dough is so supple and silky, it was a pleasure to handle it. Every time I've made it, the crumb has been fine-textured and meltingly tender, and the loaves have gotten raves. I'm sold on this recipe. It's worth the planning and waiting for bread this good.
  • star rating 11/20/2014
  • Greg from Missouri
  • Very easy and very rewarding. I made these last week as a test run for Thanksgiving and they turned out great. Question, would it be possible to parbake and freeze these a few days in advance and then finish them off Thanksgiving day?
  • star rating 05/22/2014
  • Justin W. from Fishkill NY
  • This brioche recipe is absolutely delicious! I have just one question for the master King Arthur Bakers: I braided my loaf after removing it from the refrigerator and let it rise for about an hour and a half. It baked beautifully, but after coming out of the oven the braid didn't stay together but pulled apart at the seams. Any advice on how to braid a brioche but have the interior become one solid loaf? Thanks so much!
    To help seal your braids together, please brush off excess flour at the seal point, and dab with a little water or egg before pressing the strands together. That should help them to hold.~Jaydl@KAF
  • star rating 04/18/2012
  • CLRogers from KAF Community
  • Though the length of time from start to finish was long, I found this brioche recipe to be no harder than any other bread recipe, and, ohhh, what a prize at the end! My first attempt came out just perfect in an 8" fanned glass Pyrex bowl. It made the house smell wonderfully inviting. I refrigerated it for only 4 hours but followed the recipe to a "T". I love King Arthur Flour and all the fabulous products and recipes. I need to visit the "new" store soon with my baking gal pals.
  • star rating 02/19/2012
  • kellyhechinger from KAF Community
  • This recipe is wonderful! I use it for cinnamon rolls, french toast and just slicing and enjoying! Came out just perfect. I live in high altitude so there is always some small adjustments but I truly think this was one of my favorites! Going to use the same recipe for King Cake too. Thank you for the recipe and all the bakers helping info. On my bucket list is coming to visit King Arthur Flour!!!
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