Brioche

This homemade Brioche is heaven when it comes out of the oven! It has a soft and fluffy texture, and a sweet buttery flavor. 

Part bread and part pastry, there’s a fair amount of hype around Brioche, and for good reason.

Brioche - Fluffy bread made with eggs and butter

Enriched with butter, eggs, milk, and a touch of sugar, this bread has the most amazing rich flavor and airy texture.

It’s incredible on its own, torn into bite-sized pieces and maybe spread with a little swipe of butter, but also as an ingredient for other recipes. For example, brioche is one of the best breads for Bread Pudding and also for French Toast

This recipe makes 3 loaves at once, and since bread freezes so beautifully, you can bake one time and have enough bread to last you a while. 

Brioche Recipe - Baked into a Loaf or into Buns

Brioche is easy to make from scratch, but in my opinion, you should use a stand mixer to make it.

There is a comment from someone below saying that it went well kneading by hand, but ideally a mixer is used. There is a lot of kneading, the dough is quite wet and sticky, and the butter ideally needs to stay cool.  

How to Make Brioche:

Combine warm milk, yeast, an egg, and flour in a bowl:

How to Make Brioche - With Yeast, Milk, Eggs, and Bread Flour

Mix these ingredients together with a sturdy spatula, and you’ll end up with a very wet and sticky dough:

Sponge for First Part of Brioche Dough

This is actually called a sponge.

What is a sponge? It’s a precursor to the dough, and adds a deep flavor and a lovely texture to the bread. It’s considered the equivalent of adding another rise.

Sprinkle a cup of flour over the sponge, to cover it:

Flour on top of the Sponge

Let the dough rest for 30 minutes, and when you come back, there should be cracks in the dough, like this:

The flour will crack as the sponge rises from the yeast

This lets you know that the yeast are active and working well.

Add sugar, salt, eggs, and flour to the sponge:

Eggs and Sugar Added to the Dough for - Brioche Loaf

Fit the bowl onto the stand mixer and mix it all together using the dough hook.

You will get a richly colored beige dough that’s relatively smooth. Now, add softened butter, a few pats at a time, and incorporate them into the dough:

French Brioche - Classic Recipe Made with Eggs and Butter

When the butter has been mixed in, the dough should be soft and slightly sticky:

Brioche Bun Recipe - Made in the Stand Mixer

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then let rise at room temperature for 2 hours, until doubled in size:

Brioche Bread Recipe - Dough made with lots of butter and eggs

Turn the dough upside down to redistribute the yeast slightly, then cover again and refrigerate overnight. 

Divide the dough into 3 sections, then each section into 6 pieces.

Roll each piece into a ball, and place 6 dough balls into each loaf pan (this makes 3 loaves total):

Dough Balls in Loaf Pan Ready to be Proofed

Cover with plastic wrap, then let rise for 2 hours. The dough balls didn’t look like they would fill the pan, but look how much they puff up:

Brioche Roll - 6 Balls of Dough in a Loaf Pan ready to be baked

Brush the brioche with egg wash, if desired, and bake the loaf for about 30 minutes, until golden all over:

Brioche Bread - Made from Scratch Recipe to be sliced or torn into buns

One thing I’ve noticed with brioche, is it is quite sensitive to hot spots in the oven. So partway through baking, the top will likely need to be covered with aluminum foil to keep it from browning too much. 

If you have a really top-notch oven that bakes evenly, you may not need to cover it, but just keep your eye on the loaves.

When the loaf has reached 200F inside, it’s done. You can pull it apart into rolls, or you can slice the loaf and enjoy.

Brioche Bun - Homemade from Scratch with Butter and Eggs

Homemade English Muffins, English Style Scones, and Homemade Soft Pretzels are some of my other favorite breads to make from scratch. Enjoy!

I also use this Brioche in my Brioche French Toast with Orange Macerated Strawberries.

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5 from 7 votes

Homemade Brioche

This homemade brioche is worth the effort, with a soft and fluffy texture, and a buttery sweet flavor.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine French
Keyword brioche, how to make brioche
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Resting Time 12 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 13 hours 30 minutes
Servings 18 (makes 3 loaves)
Calories 118kcal

Ingredients

For the Sponge:

  • 1/3 cup warm milk (110 degrees F)*
  • 2.25 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 large egg at room temperature**
  • 10 ounces all purpose flour, by weight (2 cups, measured)

For the Dough:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 7.5 ounces all purpose flour, by weight (1.5 cups, measured)
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter at 65-70 degrees

Instructions

  • Start with the sponge. Place the milk, yeast, egg, and 1 cup of flour in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix the ingredients with a spatula until combined (it will be very sticky).
  • Sprinkle the remaining cup of flour on top, covering the sponge completely, and let it rest in a warm place for 30 minutes (no need to cover the bowl with plastic wrap).
  • After 30 minutes, check that there are cracks in the flour (see blog photo). The cracks let you know that the yeast are alive and well.
  • Add the sugar, salt, eggs, and 1 cup of the flour to the sponge. Fit the bowl on your stand mixer, and using the dough hook, mix on low for 1 minute, until the dough starts to come together. With the mixer still running on low, add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour.
  • When the flour has been incorporated, increase the speed to medium, and mix for 15 minutes. After 10 minutes have passed, if the dough seems too loose, add 3 additional tablespoons of flour, to help the dough form into a cohesive piece. Make sure you don’t skimp on kneading the dough for 15 minutes.
  • Turn the mixer down to medium low speed and add the butter, a couple pats at a time, waiting until each installment of butter is absorbed before adding the next. When all the butter has been added, bump the speed up to medium high for a minute, then reduce to medium and knead the dough for 5 minutes. The dough will be soft and slightly sticky.
  • Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and let it rise at room temperature for 2 hours, until it has doubled in size.
  • Using a spatula, gently turn the dough upside down and compact it back to its original volume (we are redistributing the yeast, but take care not to "bash down" the dough too much).
  • Cover the bowl again with plastic wrap and let it rise in the refrigerator overnight, or for at least 8 hours.
  • With a sharp knife, gently slice your dough into 3 sections. Cut each section into 6 pieces. You may gently roll those pieces into balls, but you can also leave them sort of square. Place 6 balls each into three standard loaf pans***, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 2 hours.
  • When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375F, and bake the loaves for about 30 minutes, until the interior measures 200F using an instant read thermometer. If during the baking process your brioche browns too much, loosely cover the loaves with aluminum foil. Enjoy!

Notes

*You can heat the milk in a saucepan, or microwave it for about 20 seconds, to warm it to 110F.
**You may warm the egg in a glass of warm water, if you're in a hurry.
***The size of the loaf pan is flexible. I've used the standard 8.5x4.5 but have also used pans that are slightly bigger and slightly smaller. It should still take around 30 minutes, but as stated in the recipe, go by temperature for doneness.
You may brush the loaves with egg wash right before baking, if desired. This gives it a more glossy and shiny look.
Freezing instructions: Personally, I bake all three loaves at once, then freeze the bread in a fully baked state. Then later I just thaw the loaves on the counter for an hour or so, and use it. However, you can also freeze the dough unbaked, after it has done the cold rise in the refrigerator. Then you can thaw the dough overnight in the fridge, and bake it fresh.
Recipe adapted from James Peterson in his 2009 cookbook Baking, whose recipe is adapted from Julia Child's brioche in Baking with Julia.

Nutrition

Calories: 118kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 78mg | Sugar: 2g

Post updated in November 2019. Originally published February 2011.