This Brioche Loaf Bread is incredibly rich, buttery, soft, and slightly sweet. It is perfect as breakfast toast, makes amazing French toast and bread pudding, and will elevate just about any lunch sandwich.
If you need even more reasons to make this recipe, here’s why:
- This recipe makes just one brioche loaf, so if you’re baking for one, you won’t be wasting perfectly good bread.
- The recipe is easy enough to double to make two loaves, which I highly recommend if you love leftovers, think French toast!
- You can finish baking this recipe the same day or make the dough the day before and finish baking the next day.
- I shouldn’t have to mention but it tastes incredible.
- It stays soft and moist for days.
- You can use brioche dough to make many different variations like brioche rolls, brioche coconut bread, coconut brioche buns, etc.
So why don’t you skip the store-bought brioche because even though this recipe takes time to make you will be rewarded with an absolute treat. Real butter and real eggs give this loaf a rich taste and incredible flavor that will for sure make your lunch sandwich look impressive and a whole lot more enjoyable.
Table of Contents
What is Brioche?
Brioche is technically a French pastry, think croissants and Danish pastries. It is a delicious bread, enriched with eggs and butter. The high amount of fat makes it ultra light, with a fine crumb that’s incredibly rich.
What does brioche bread taste like?
Brioche bread is buttery, rich, soft, and slightly sweet. It also has a deep golden brown crust that’s usually played up using egg wash.
Source of this Brioche recipe
I’ve been making this recipe for many years, so I can say it is tried and true, tested over and over again with success each time. I’ve adapted this recipe from two different cookbooks:
Ingredients and Substitutions
As always, you can find the full list of ingredients and quantities in the recipe card at the bottom of this post. Below are some notes and substitution tips:
- Butter – I use unsalted butter in this recipe, but in a pinch you can use salted butter, just make sure to reduce the amount of salt called for by half. Since butter contributes to the flavor of this bread a great deal, this is the time to splurge on very high quality butter.
- Milk – Use whole milk or 2% milk here. You’ll notice that the recipe calls for 2 to 3 tablespoons. I always start with 2 tablespoons and add more if needed later. Most of the time I don’t really need all 3 tablespoons of milk. Milk can also be used in egg wash instead of water.
- Granulated sugar – This will give the yeast food and make the bread a little sweeter. You can reduce the amount of sugar if you prefer your brioche bread a little less sweet. Any type of sugar can be substituted here, except for liquid sweetener like honey or maple syrup because it will change the ratio of wet and dry ingredients in this recipe.
- Yeast – I use active dry yeast here, but you can also use rapid rise instant yeast. Even with instant yeast, I would still recommend blooming it in liquid first to ensure the yeast is working.
- Flour – bread is typically made using bread flour for the higher protein content, which will make your bread chewier. However, to keep things simpler, I’ve used all-purpose flour here.
- Salt – I use kosher salt, if you’re using table salt, only use about ⅔ teaspoon.
- Egg – There are 3 whole eggs in the bread dough and an additional egg is used for the egg wash. You have to use egg here, there is no substitution.
How to make Brioche bread
First, bloom the yeast
Typically, you would bloom the yeast in warm liquid. For this recipe, since the amount of liquid is so little, I didn’t bother warming it up. Just make sure the milk is at room temperature, if it’s cold, it will take forever for the yeast to activate.
Sprinkle active dry yeast over the liquid surface and let it bloom for about 10 minutes, the mixture should puff up. If using instant yeast, do the same to hydrate the yeast and make sure it is working.
Prepare the dough
In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the three eggs and lightly beat them until foamy with a hand whisk.
Add the bloomed yeast mixture to the beaten eggs. Mix the dry ingredients together, and add it to the egg and yeast mixture.
Use the dough hook to knead on low speed for 15 minutes. Check occasionally to see how your dough is looking, if it is too dry, sprinkle in the remaining 1 tablespoon of milk. By the end of 15 minutes, it should start to pull away from the side of the bowl.
Leave the mixer on low speed and add the softened butter, a few pieces at a time, allowing the butter to incorporate into the dough before adding more. This will take about 10 minutes.
Then let the mixer knead for another 10-20 minutes or until the dough mostly pulls away from the side of the bowl. Scrape the dough out of the mixing bowl to prepare it for the first rise. The dough will be very soft and may be a bit sticky. Refrain from adding more flour to it because that can dry it out.
Note: like my milk bread dough, this brioche dough is very slack due to high hydration (high water content in the dough), this is what makes the bread soft and moist after baking. Only add flour for shaping and rolling if you absolutely need it.
Since this dough is only for one loaf, it is small enough for me to shape it into a ball in my hands without needing to shape it on a countertop. If you are making a double batch, the dough will be too big to do this and you’ll need to knead and shape it on a floured or oiled countertop.
Once shaped into a smooth ball, place the dough ball into an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour. At this point, you can either let the dough rise in the fridge overnight or continue at room temperature until at least double in size.
Tip: using oil on your hands and the counter instead of flour while shaping the dough will help with sticking and also prevent you from adding too much flour which can dry out the bread. However, this dough has a lot of butter so it shouldn’t stick to your hands very much.
If you let the dough rise in the fridge overnight, you’ll need to let it come to room temperature before working with it the second day.
Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured countertop, deflate it and shape into an elongated shape to fit your loaf pan. Place the dough in a buttered and lined loaf pan. Place the pan in a warm spot, cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise until more than double in size and supple looking.
Bake the bread
Apply egg wash twice on the risen dough, once before you preheat the oven and once more before you place the dough into the oven. Bake at 350°F until the top is deep golden brown, and an inserted wooden skewer comes out clean or internal temperature reaches 190°F.
Tip: if at any point during baking you notice the top getting too brown, you can tent it with a piece of foil to avoid burning.
My bread doesn’t rise
Make sure to always check that your yeast is working properly before continuing with the recipe. If the yeast mixture doesn’t puff up when bloomed, it is best to start over. Otherwise, your dough will not rise.
Note that rising time can vary, depending on the environment, especially temperature. If you’re making the brioche during summer, expect the dough to rise faster than in winter.
My bread came out too dense
There’s a chance that you over-proofed your dough! If bread dough is over-proofed, it will deflate. And if you bake this deflated dough, you will end up with a loaf of dense hard rock.
Or you may have added too much flour to the dough either due to measuring error or using too much flour while shaping the dough.
How to make sure you don’t overproof bread dough
It is important to make sure you don’t overproof your bread dough, especially during the second rise. If the dough is over-proofed, your bread will deflate when baked. Check for these visual cues:
- Dough is ready when it looks puffy and supple. When you press on it, an indentation should form and bounce back slightly.
- Dough is over-proofed if the surface of the dough looks wrinkly like it’s starting to fall back on itself, or the dough deflates when you press on it.
- Dough is under-proofed if it hasn’t at least doubled in size and when you press on it, the indentation bounces back immediately.
Because rising time can vary based on the environment, it is pertinent to check how the dough looks while proofing instead of just relying on the time.
This is why rising time is always a range and never an exact number. The noted time will give you an idea of when to check on the dough but make sure to combine it with visual cues.
What to do if you over-proofed brioche dough
If you happen to overproof your dough during the first rise, you can still continue to the second rise because you need to deflate the dough to shape it anyways.
However, if you overproof the dough during the second rise, you will need to reshape and allow it to rise again. Don’t bake over-proofed dough!
This recipe doesn’t work, the dough is way too wet!
This dough is supposed to be very soft due to the high amount of fat from all the butter and eggs. But if you follow all the recipe steps, you should end up with a slack yet strong bread dough that you can shape into a ball. If not:
- Did you measure all of the ingredients correctly? It is best to invest in a kitchen scale and measure all your ingredients by weight. It actually makes the prepping a lot faster.
- Are you using large eggs or extra large eggs? Large eggs can also range from 1 ⅞ oz to 2 ¼ oz, so depending on the size of your eggs, that may vary the amount of liquid in the dough.
- Did you use all of the milk or did you hold back some at the beginning? I always start with 2 tablespoons of milk and rarely do I need to use all 3.
- How are you measuring your flour? I typically fluff the flour inside the container, then scoop using my measuring cup and level with an offset spatula. If you use the “spoon and level” method, you may be using a little less flour than I do. It is best to use a kitchen scale.
- Did you knead long enough? The longer you knead the more gluten develops, which gives the dough its structure so it can be handled and shaped easier. This dough needs to be kneaded for at least 30-40 minutes.
What makes brioche different from most breads?
Bread is typically made with flour, water, sugar, salt and yeast. What makes Brioche different is that it is enriched with eggs and butter. Because of this, brioche is very rich, with soft crumbs and golden in color.
Brioche is also sweeter than most bread due to the higher amount of sugar in the dough.
Can I make the dough the night before?
Yes, you can make the dough the day before, I’ve written this into the recipe. You simply stop at the first rise and allow the dough to rise overnight. The next day, you’ll shape the dough into a loaf and move on to the second rise and bake.
This can actually benefit your bread by allowing the dough to develop more flavor. However, if you don’t want to do this, you can still bake the bread the same day you start the dough.
Can I make brioche by hand?
I highly recommend a stand mixer because of the long kneading time required to develop gluten for this brioche dough. You can certainly make this by hand but it will require a lot of elbow grease.
It can also be very difficult because the dough is very wet and soft, especially at the earlier stage. You may be tempted to add more flour to make it easier to knead which will throw off the wet/dry ingredient ratio and make your bread dry.
I have not tried making this recipe with a hand mixer but I think it would work better than trying to knead this dough manually. If you have a hand mixer with the dough hook attachment, give it a try.
Can I make this recipe in a bread machine?
I don’t own a bread machine so I can’t answer this question. However, from researching around, it seems like brioche dough may be too soft for a bread machine to handle. There are specific brioche recipes developed for bread machines, but they may not be as rich.
What is brioche best used for?
Brioche is incredibly versatile, you can use it to make anything you would with regular sandwich bread, and it would be a hundred times better. You can use it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert! Here are some suggestions:
- Toast with butter and jam, as if you need even more butter!
- A wonderfully rich peanut butter and jelly sandwich
- Use the dough to make burger buns
- French toast
- Bread pudding
- Bostock – a French pastry that resembles an almond croissant
- Room temperature: you can store brioche bread at room temperature for 1-2 days. Only slice off whatever you’re planning to eat to keep the moisture within the loaf. Store the bread in a ziploc bag.
- Refrigerator: you can also keep it in the fridge for up to a week. Again, only slice what you need and keep it in a ziploc bag.
- Freezer: for the freezer, you’ll actually want to freeze the brioche loaf pre-sliced. This way you can defrost only what you need. Your bread should last up to 3 months.
More delicious bread recipes
- Braided Cinnamon Bread with Berries
- Hawaiian Dinner Rolls
- Macadamia Coconut Rolls
- Pani Popo (Samoan Coconut Buns)
- AnPan (Japanese Red Bean Buns)
📖 Recipe card
- 3 large eggs (room temperature)
- 2 – 3 tablespoon of milk (room temperature, 28 – 42 g)
- 2 teaspoon of active dry yeast
- ¼ cup of granulated sugar (45 g, divided)
- 2 cup all-purpose flour (265 g)
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 4 ounce unsalted butter (thin slices, room temperature, 113 g)
- Extra flour for rolling as needed
- 1 whole egg
- 1 tablespoon milk or water
- Mix 2 tablespoons of milk together with 1 teaspoon of sugar, and sprinkle the active dry yeast on top. Let it bloom for about 10 minutes. The mixture should puff up, if not repeat this step to ensure yeast is working.
- In a small mixing bowl, add the remaining sugar, flour and salt and whisk to evenly distribute.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, lightly beat the eggs with a hand whisk. Add the bloomed yeast mixture along with the flour mixture to the beaten eggs. Use the dough hook to knead on low speed (speed 2) for 15 minutes.
- Check occasionally to see how your dough is looking, if it is too dry, sprinkle in the remaining 1 tablespoon of milk. By the end of 15 minutes, it should pull away from the side of the bowl.
- Leave the mixer on speed 2 and add the softened butter, a few pieces at a time, allowing the butter to combine with the dough before adding more. This will take about 10 minutes. Then let the mixer knead for another 10-20 minutes or until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.
- Scrape the dough out on a lightly floured counter and shape into a ball. Place it into an oiled glass bowl and let rise at room temperature for 1 hour.
- At this point, you can let the dough ferment in the fridge overnight, or let it double in size (approximately 1-1.5 hours) and move on to the next step.
- Let the dough come to room temperature if you just remove it from the fridge.
- Brush a loaf pan with melted butter or coat with nonstick spray. Line the pan with a piece of parchment paper leaving some excess hanging out on both sides. Then coat the parchment paper with melted butter or nonstick spray as well.
- Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured counter, knead and shape into an elongated shape to fit your loaf pan. Place it in a warm spot, cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise until more than double in size and supple looking, about 2-2.5 hours.
- Brush the top of the risen dough with egg wash very lightly.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Apply egg wash once more and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown, and an inserted wooden skewer comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and let cool to the touch on a wire rack before attempting to remove it from the pan. Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing into it.
- Always check that your yeast is working properly before continuing with the recipe to ensure success. If the yeast doesn’t puff up when bloomed in liquid, it is best to start over. Otherwise, your dough will not rise.
- Rising time can vary, depending on the environment: temperature, humidity, barometric pressure. The dough will rise faster in warmer weather compared to colder weather, in higher altitude compared to lower altitude, etc.
- Cutting the butter into thin slices will help it incorporate into the dough easier than cubes.
- Make sure the butter is at room temperature or it will not incorporate easily.
- This dough is very buttery so it shouldn’t need a lot of extra flour for rolling and shaping.
- At any point during baking, if the top of the bread is getting too brown, you can cover it with a piece of foil to avoid over browning or burning.
- If you had lined the pan with parchment paper, simply lift the bread out of the pan. Otherwise use a butter knife to loosen the sides and flip it out onto a tea towel or wire rack.
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