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Lead image of a cut loaf of Brioche Bread on a wooden board.
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Brioche Bread

This recipe makes two loaves of brioche. Eat one right away and wrap the other in plastic wrap and freeze for up to two months.
Course Breads
Cuisine French
Keyword bread, brioche
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Rising times 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 24 slices
Calories 398kcal

Equipment

  • 5-quart (or larger) stand mixer
  • Two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pans

Ingredients

For the Brioche Sponge

  • 1 cup (240 milliliters) whole milk warmed to 110°F
  • 1/4 cup (60 milliliters)  honey
  • 1 tablespoon (11 grams) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup (120 grams) bread flour

For the Brioche Dough

  • brioche sponge
  • 8 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (12 grams) kosher salt
  • 6-6 1/2 cups (720-780 grams) bread flour
  • 1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter sliced and at room temp

Egg Wash

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) water

Instructions

Make the Sponge

  • In a small mixing bowl, use a rubber spatula to combine the warmed milk, honey, and yeast. Allow the yeast to bloom for 5 minutes in the milk mixture.
    If the yeast shows no signs of movement or doesn't foam, discard the contents of the bowl and start over with fresh (new) yeast.
  • Once the yeast begins to foam, pour a quarter of this mixture into a medium size mixing bowl filled with the first quantity of bread flour, stirring to form a thick, smooth paste.
    Add the rest of the milk and yeast mixture to the bowl, stirring, until a thick batter forms.
  • Cover this mixing bowl with plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Place the bowl in the microwave or in a warm, draft-free area of your kitchen.
    Allow the sponge to rise until it has doubled in bulk or for about 30 minutes. 

Develop the Brioche

  • Add the brioche sponge, eggs, sugar, and salt to the bowl of a 5-quart (or larger) stand mixer. Do it in that specific order so the eggs can form a barrier between the salt and the yeast in the sponge since salt kills yeast.
    Add 2 cups (240 grams) of the bread flour to the bowl.
    Use the paddle attachment to blend this mixture together, on second speed, until it resembles a thick batter.
  • Add 2 more cups (24 grams) of bread flour. Blend once again on second speed to bring the mixture together to form a soft dough.
    At this point, the dough will become too stiff to continue using the paddle attachment. Scrape the bowl and the paddle down using a rubber spatula and switch to the mixer's dough hook.
  • Once the dough hook is on, begin mixing again on 2nd speed and add the remaining bread flour.*
    The dough should be stiff, but supple at this point.

Gradually Add the Butter

  • With the mixer on second speed, add the unsalted butter to the dough two tablespoons at a time.
    When the butter you've added becomes absorbed into the dough, add the next two tablespoons. While you wait for the previous addition to mix in, press the next one between your fingers to give it a head start.
    Continue kneading the dough on second speed for 10 minutes after the butter all the butter has been added. 

Allow the Brioche Dough to Rise

  • Remove the dough from the bowl and lightly grease the inside of the bowl with the butter wrappers or with a neutral-tasting oil. Return the dough to the bowl and turn it to cover the surface of the dough with a protective layer of fat.
    Cover the bowl with plastic film or a kitchen towel and place the bowl of brioche once again in the draft-free area to rise for an hour or until it's doubled in bulk.
  • After an hour of rising time, punch the dough down to dispel the gases that have developed during the rising.
    Lightly grease your bread pans with baking spray.
    Next, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 3 or 4 turns.
  • Use a bench scraper or knife to divide the dough in half. Cover the piece of dough that you left whole while you work with the other.
    Cut the uncovered ball of dough into eight equal sections. Using the fleshy part of your palms rotate the balls of dough between your cupped hands to pinch the bottom of dough, forming a ball. 
    Place that ball of dough into a lightly greased loaf pan. Form the remaining sections of dough this way to fill the pan. It's okay if you need to squish them into the pan. The more balls, the quirkier your baked loaf will be. 
  • Cover your pan and repeat this process with the other half of the dough. 
    Allow the brioche to rise for 30-45 minutes or until slightly doubled in volume. Again, you want to keep them in a warm area of the kitchen for this.

Bake the Brioche

  • While the brioche loaves are rising, preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
    Adjust one of the racks so it's sitting in the lower third section of your oven. Instead of baking on the middle rack like you normally would, drop it down a notch to account for the way the brioche will bake up. 
    Prepare the egg wash: in a small bowl, beat together the egg yolk and water until smooth and runny.
  • Once the dough has risen just under double its size, brush the tops with an egg wash.
    Bake the brioche for 30-35 minutes, or until the tops are a deep golden brown.
    When tapped the tops of the loaves should sound hollow. If they don't continue baking the for an additional 5 minutes.

Cool and Serve the Brioche

  • Remove the brioche from the oven and allow the bread to cool inside their pans for 15 minutes.
    Once cool, carefully remove the loaves of bread from their pans and place them on a cooling rack. You can slice and serve them while they're still warm or let them cool completely.

Notes

Tips and Tricks:

  • If you're making this brioche on a very hot, humid day, you might to knead in more bread flour up to an additional cup (120 grams). 
  • The easiest way to prep the butter for use is to unwrap it and cut it into tablespoon pats (use the wrapper as a cutting guide).
  • Test that the butter is ready to use by pinching a tablespoon of butter between your fingers. If should feel cool to the touch and slightly mushy. If smears easily, it's too soft; put it in the fridge to firm up for 5-10 minutes. If it's rock hard, heat it for 15 seconds in the microwave. 

Optional Toppings

After brushing the tops of the loaves with egg wash top with one of the following:
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of poppy seeds
  • a generous pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts

Storage and Freezing Instructions:

  • Wrap the brioche loaves in storage wrap or put them in a airtight container. Leave the wrapped bread on the counter or in a bread box for up to 5 days.
  • Don't store your brioche in the fridge. Cold air will also cause it to go stale faster. Instead, just
  • To "freshen" up the flavor of leftover brioche, just warm it in the microwave for a few seconds.
  • To freeze the baked loaves: allow the bread to cool completely. Then, wrap the loaves in a layer of plastic film, and transfer them to a freezer storage bag. You can also wrap it in a layer of foil if your loaves are too big for a bag.
  • Freeze the brioche for 2 months.
  • To thaw frozen brioche, just pull the bread out of the freezer and let it thaw on the counter.
  • I don't recommend freezing the brioche dough before baking. The loaves never bake up as high when you do that.

Nutrition

Calories: 398kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 190mg | Potassium: 120mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 364IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg