With a rich buttery flavor and a soft texture, brioche is a classic type of French bread that is perfect for sandwiches, French toast, or just eating warm slathered in more butter. Our recipe for Buttery Brioche takes some time to create, but we're certain the effort is worth it.
You may notice that our recipe for brioche has a very long kneading time, especially as compared to other kinds of bread dough. The reason for this is that the fat in the butter and eggs can impede the development of gluten that occurs in bread dough.
The extra kneading time helps with the formation of the gluten. Our recipe calls for the use of a stand mixer to knead the dough. You don’t have to have a stand mixer, but to knead this sticky, soft dough by hand, you will need a very clean, lightly floured surface, and plenty of patience.
Buttery Brioche Recipe
- Mixing bowl
- Stand Mixer
- Wooden Spoon
- Dish Towel
- Rolling Pin
- Kitchen Thermometer
- ⅓ cup Warm Milk
- 1 tbsp Active Dry Yeast
- 1 pc Large Egg
- 2 cups All-Purpose Flour for the sponge; more flour is required for the bread dough itself
Remaining Bread Dough Ingredients
- ⅓ cup Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 4 pcs Eggs lightly beaten
- 1½ cups All-Purpose Flour for the dough; this is in addition to the flour for the sponge
- ¾ cup Butter at room temperature
- To create a bread sponge, put the milk, yeast, egg, and one of the two cups of flour in the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook. Stir this with a wooden spoon until combined to make a sticky dough.
- Sprinkle the other cup of flour for the sponge on top of the dough in an even layer. Let this bowl sit uncovered in a warm place for about half an hour.
- In half an hour, check the bowl. There should be cracks in the layer of flour on the top of the dough indicating that the yeast is working. If there are very few cracks or no cracks, let the bowl sit for another half hour in a warmer place.
- Add the sugar, salt, the rest of the eggs, and one cup of flour for the dough. Put the mixing bowl on the stand mixer and use the dough hook on low speed to mix it for about a minute, or just until the dough starts to come together.
- Add the remaining one-half cup of flour and mix the dough again at low speed for about thirty seconds.
- Turn the speed up to medium and knead it for about 15 additional minutes. After about 10 minutes, if the dough still seems sticky and is still sticking to the sides of the bowl, add a few additional tablespoons of flour. Eventually, the dough should start to ball up and pull away from the sides of the bowl. You do need to knead the dough for the full 15 minutes.
- Turn the speed down to low speed, and add the butter to the mixer as it is running at low speed. Cut the butter into small pieces and add the pieces a few at a time, allowing the butter to be incorporated before you add any more.
- When the butter has all been added to the dough, turn the mixer up to medium and knead the dough for an additional 5 minutes. The dough should be very soft and just a little sticky.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a clean dish towel, and put the bowl in a warm spot. Let the dough rise for about two hours until it is doubled in size.
- After two hours, punch down the dough just a little, pressing the air out gently. Press the edges of the dough toward the center of the bowl.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put the bowl in the refrigerator to rise overnight for at least 8 hours.
- The next morning, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. With a knife, slice the dough ball into three equal sections. Cut each of these dough pieces into 6 equal sections. Press the dough sections into a rough oval.
- Grease three standard-size loaf pans. Put six of the dough sections into each loaf pan and then lightly cover them with a clean tea towel. Let the dough rise for 2 hours.
- Heat the oven to 375 degrees and bake the loaves for 25 to 30 minutes. The center of the bread should test at about 200 degrees if you use an instant read thermometer. If the bread begins to brown too quickly as it bakes, you can create a kind of aluminum foil tent to put over the tops of the loaves to protect it from the heat.
- Remove the loaves of brioche from the oven and allow them to cool for twenty minutes before you take the loaves from the pan. Let cool for another hour before slicing and baking. Wrap leftovers tightly in aluminum foil.