This homemade brioche bread recipe makes delicious buttery and tender bread. If you are a budding bread baker, perfecting a French brioche recipe is one of the best ways to broaden your bread-baking portfolio.
This post has step-by-step instructions to show you how to make this homemade brioche bread at home.
Authentic Brioche Bread
French brioche is a super enriched and buttery bread with rich flavor. It has a delicate and tender crumb and is not very sweet; you can use it for sweet and savory dishes. An enriched dough is one where fats and proteins are added, and brioche dough has a considerable amount of butter and eggs added to the dough.
Adding all this fat means the dough reacts differently to standard bread. The high butter content slows gluten development down, so the initial kneading process is trickier than regular bread. However, you can build the dough's strength with patience and time.
You can make enriched bread without butter, like these challah buns. They use oil instead.
What should brioche dough look like?
Brioche develops over several stages, and the look and feel of the dough change throughout. The first stage makes a thick dough that uses all the ingredients except butter.
Add in the cubed butter in stage two, a bit at a time. Butter brings in fat and liquid. The dough will become slack and sticky with all this moisture and fat.
Once the butter has been added, it is time to develop the gluten in the dough. This is done by kneading the dough, preferably in a stand mixer, until it becomes glossy and strong, pulling away cleanly from the sides of the mixer.
This is a slow and steady process. The dough will seem sticky, but suddenly, it will come together and become glossy and strong.
Making brioche dough by hand
You can make this enriched French bread by hand, but you will need plenty of patience and elbow grease. With the addition of all the butter, you may think, ‘is my brioche dough too sticky?’ and you could be tempted to add more flour. Resist the temptation and continue kneading.
A slap-and-fold method works well for a very sticky dough. The dough can be slapped down hard on the bench and folded over itself. Use quick motions to avoid it sticking too much on your hands.
Find the ingredient amounts for the brioche loaf recipe in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post. Here is a rundown of the dough ingredients.
- All-purpose flour- All-purpose flour is used for this recipe, one with a protein level of around 11%. This protein content is enough to develop the gluten but not too much that the bread becomes chewy. Using bread flour with protein levels can lead to chewy brioche.
- Yeast - The yeast used in this recipe can be instant yeast or active dry yeast. Instant yeast will rise faster than active dried yeast. Whichever one you use, it needs to be viable. Usually, the instant yeast sachets are pretty foolproof, but sometimes active dried yeast can lose viability. To test the viability of yeast before beginning, warm the milk (to around 95-104°F / 35-40°C) and mix in the yeast with one tablespoon of the sugar. Leave it to sit for 5-10 minutes first. If it becomes foamy, it's good to go.
- Milk. This can be whole milk or skim milk.
- Large eggs. Egg sizes vary not only in weight but also in name depending on what country you're in. Some are labeled large, extra-large, and jumbo, while others are labeled by number. The actual volume of the egg within each shell varies a lot, too, within these labels. Approximately 260-270g of the egg is used in this recipe. That's around 5 large eggs with a volume between 1.75oz/52g and 1.9oz-/54g (measured without the eggshells.)
- Granulated white sugar. Only a small amount
- Butter - There is plenty of butter needed as it's an enriched brioche dough.
- A stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment- A stand mixer makes this brioche recipe nice and easy. It is possible to knead by hand, but with such a large amount of butter and eggs in the dough, it takes a lot of arm muscle.
- Two standard 8.5 x 4.5 inch (21x11cm) loaf pans are used.
Step 1- Add the warm milk and stir in the yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. To this yeast mixture, add the eggs, flour, and salt.
Step 2 - Turn the mixer on medium-low speed and combine until it forms a thick but slightly sticky dough. Mix this dough for around 5 minutes to begin developing the gluten.
Step 3- Add in the cubed butter. Incorporate each cube before the next addition.
Turn the mixer on medium speed and keep it mixing until the sticky dough strengthens, comes together, and pulls away cleanly from the sides of the bowl.
It will seem very sticky, but don't add more flour. Too much flour makes dense bread.
Mix the dough for the best gluten development and brioche crumb for at least 15-20 minutes.
Proper gluten development will allow you to stretch the dough so thin you can almost see through it. This is called the windowpane test. To test this, let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then grab a piece and stretch it.
Step 4 - Pull the dough from the bowl onto a bench and form it into a smooth ball. Place the dough ball into a clean bowl, cover it with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, and let it rise in a warm place for around 1.5- 2 hours until doubled in size.
How fast the rise happens will depend on the room temperature.
Step 5 - Deflate the dough gently and reshape it into a ball again. Cover it with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge overnight. This step can be shortened, but 8-12 hours long cold proof gives the best flavor.
If you want to skip the overnight proof, the dough will still need a few hours of fridge rest after room temperature proofing. This cold rest will let the butter stiffen up, resulting in much easier shaping.
Step 6 - Pull the stiff, cold dough from the bowl and tip it onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two equal portions, and line two loaf pans with parchment paper. Shape the dough as per the two options below.
Option 1 - Use a bench scraper or knife to divide a portion of the dough into 8 equal pieces.
Roll the pieces of dough into tight balls and place the dough balls in a lined tin, side by side in two rows.
Let them rise until they double in size.
Option 2- Divide a portion of the dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long, about 12 inches (30cm) long on a lightly floured surface.
Braid the three lengths together, tuck in the ends, and place the braided dough into the lined tin.
Step 8 - Let them rise until they double in size
Step 9 -Whisk an egg in a bowl with a tablespoon of water and brush the surface of the dough with egg wash.
Step 10 - Bake the bread for approximately 30 minutes until a deep golden brown. If you have an instant-read thermometer, you can check for an internal temperature of 195°F / 90°C.
If the tops are browning too fast for your liking, loosely cover the tops of the bread with aluminum foil. However, don't be afraid of a deeply browned top. That brings flavor!
Once baked, allow the bread to cool on a cooling rack before slicing.
Fresh brioche can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days or in the freezer for up to three months.
Uses for brioche
By day two, especially day three, the bread will firm up a bit. Use older brioche in recipes that add some extra moisture to the bread.
Here are 21 great ways to use brioche bread, including french toast, bread pudding, savory recipes, and more! You can also use this dough recipe to make brioche burger buns, brioche cinnamon rolls, and biscoff babka.
More bread recipes
Can brioche bread be made without a stand mixer?
Brioche bread can be made without a stand mixer. It can be kneaded by hand, although it may take longer and require more effort. It's a very sticky wet dough, so don't be tempted to add more flour or it will ruin the texture.
Brioche bread is best stored in an airtight container or plastic bag at room temperature for up to 2-3 days. It can also be frozen for longer storage.
Brioche bread can be made with whole wheat flour, but the texture will be denser and the flavor will be different than traditional brioche made with all-purpose flour.
Yes, it's delicious when used for cinnamon rolls and brioche donuts!
Absolutely! It's best this way. Refrigerating overnight to develop its flavor and texture.
Authentic Brioche Bread Recipe
- 125 g lukewarm milk (95-104°F / 35-40°C)
- 2 ½ teaspoons instant yeast or active dried yeast
- 50 g granulated sugar
- 600 g all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- 5 large eggs approx. 260g-270g excluding shell.
- 230 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
- 1 egg
- 1 Tablespoon water
- In a stand mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook, add the milk and stir in the yeast and one tablespoon of sugar. Leave it to sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy. Add to it the remaining sugar, eggs, flour, and salt. Turn the mixer on low and combine until it forms a thick but slightly sticky dough. Mix this dough for around 5 minutes to begin developing the gluten.
- Add in the butter, a cube or two at a time, ensuring each cube has been incorporated before the next addition. Turn the mixer on medium and keep it mixing until the sticky dough starts to strengthen and come together and pull away cleanly from the sides of the bowl.
- For the best gluten development and brioche crumb, mix the dough for at least 15 minutes. Proper gluten development will allow you to stretch the dough so thin you can almost see through it. This is called the window pane effect.
- Pull the dough from the bowl onto a bench and form it into a ball. Place the dough ball into a clean bowl, cover it with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, and let it rise for 1.5-2 hours (depending on room temperature) until doubled in size. Deflate the dough gently and reshape it into a ball again. Cover it with a lid or plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator overnight. This step can be shortened, but an 8-12 hour fridge proof gives the best flavor.
- Cold ProofIf you want to skip the overnight proof, the dough will still need a an hour of fridge rest after room temperature proofing. This cold rest will let the butter stiffen up, resulting in much easier shaping.
- Pull the proofed dough from the bowl and tip it onto a lightly floured bench. Divide the dough into two equal portions and two 8.5 x 4.5 inch (21x11cm) loaf pans with parchment paper.
- Shaping Options
- Option 1. Divide a portion of the dough into 8 equal-sized pieces. Roll each piece into a tight ball and place the balls in a lined tin, side by side, in two rows.
Option 2. Divide a portion of the dough into 3 equal-sized pieces. Roll each piece into a long roll, about 30cm in length. Braid the three lengths together, tuck in the ends, and place the braided dough into the lined tin.
- Let the shaped dough rise in a warm spot until it has doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F/190 °C and gently whisk an egg and one tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Brush the tops of the dough with the egg wash.
- Bake the brioche bread for approximately 30 minutes until a deep golden brown.
- Once baked through, it should sound hollow when tapped. If you have an instant-read thermometer, you can check for an internal temperature of 195°F / 90°C.
- Once baked, allow the brioche bread to cool before slicing.