Recipe: Brioche

If you’re starting to read this recipe, I hope you’re at least contemplating the thought of making your own bread. If you aren’t, then here are seven reasons why you should!

  • This one’s truly hard to mess up. I really mean it this time.
  • The dough is rich with butter and eggs giving it an incredible flavor and one of the most amazing crusts on the planet.
  • It’s a versatile recipe that can be used as a base dough for sweet applications- cinnamon rolls, monkey bread, fruit filled rolls- or served as is with a little butter.
  • If you have a mixer with a dough hook, there is no need to knead.
  • It’s the perfect make-ahead bread for any occasion as the dough needs to rest in the fridge overnight anyway.
  • Leftovers- as if- are perfect for French toast. My neighbor will vouch for this one.
  • Everyone around you loves it when you bake bread!

Recipe yields 3 pounds of dough. My home KitchenAid handled it just fine, but if you have a smaller mixer, you may want to halve the recipe or split into two batches when changing to the dough hook.

Ingredients:

Sponge:

  • 6 oz milk
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 tsp active dry yeast

Dough:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 3 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 10 oz butter, room temperature cut into pieces
  • small amount of oil for coating storage container
  • 1 egg for egg wash (or use remaining whites from above)

Method:

  1. For sponge: warm milk to 110F and sprinkle yeast over the top without stirring. Let sit for about 10 minutes, then stir to dissolve remaining yeast. Stir in one cup of flour until smooth. Cover and let rise 15 minutes until about doubled. Note: yeast need warmth to activate but they die around 120F. Milk should feel warm but not hot to the touch.

    sponge

  2. For dough:In the large bowl of a stand mixer, add the sponge, eggs, egg yolks, remaining flour, sugar and salt. Mix with the paddle attachment until well blended and fairly smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. This will take a few minutes.

    incorporate butter

  3. Continue mixing and add the soft butter a couple pieces at a time until all the butter is incorporated. Dough will be soft and sticky.
  4. Switch from the paddle attachment to the dough hook and mix on low speed for about 5 minutes until dough becomes very smooth. This is the step that takes the place of hand-kneading such a sticky dough.

    knead dough with hook

  5. Scrape dough into an oiled container and cover or wrap with plastic. Let rest overnight in the refrigerator.
  6. Remove dough from the refrigerator when you are ready to shape it. Lightly flour your work area and shape the dough any way you prefer. It can be rolled flat and filled as for cinnamon rolls. Loaf pans can be filled approximately 1/2-2/3 with dough. If you love crusts, muffin tins will produce a high crust ratio per serving. Three small dough balls can be placed in each muffin tin to form clover shapes when baked. Dough can be formed into long lengths, braided, and placed on a sheet pan. Most pans will need only light oiling, if any, as this dough has enough of its own butter to prevent sticking.

    ready for egg wash

  7. After shaping, cover and let rise until about doubled in size.
  8. Preheat oven to 325F (larger loaves) or 350F (smaller muffin size).
  9. Add a little water to an egg to create an egg wash. The whites left from the dough can be used but will produce slightly less browning without the yolk. Use a brush to cover surfaces of bread with the egg wash.
  10. Bake bread until golden brown. This will vary according to size from as little as 10-15 minutes for smaller muffins to 45 minutes for larger loaves.
  11. Let cool partially before removing from pans. Enjoy your tasty brioche, and I’ll be impressed if you can save enough for French toast…
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