Brioche Bread is a classic French bread that marries the richness of butter and eggs to create a pillowy, slightly sweet loaf with a golden-brown crust. Brioche is not just bread! It can be enjoyed on its own, as toast, or used in a variety of decadent creations.
- 1 small bowl
- 2 large mixing bowls
- 1 stand mixer with dough hook
- 2 loaf pans
- 4 cups all-purpose flour (or 4¼ pastry flour)
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1½ tsp salt
- 2¼ tsp active dry yeast (1 packet)
- ¼ cup warm milk (about 110°F or 43°C, no more)
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
- Activate the Yeast: in a small bowl, combine the warm milk and a pinch of sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk, stir gently, and let it sit for 5-10 minutes until frothy.
- Mix Dry Ingredients: in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.
- Combine Wet Ingredients: in a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Add the activated yeast mixture to the eggs and whisk until well combined.
- Make the Dough: By hand: make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the well. Mix until a dough forms.With the stand mixer running on low speed, gradually pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix until a dough forms.
- Incorporate Butter: By hand: cut the softened butter into small pieces. Gradually add the butter to the dough, kneading it with your hands until the butter is fully incorporated and the dough is smooth.With the stand mixer: cut the softened butter into small pieces. Add the butter gradually to the dough with the mixer running. Continue to mix until the butter is fully incorporated and the dough is smooth.
- First Rise: place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, and let it rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours or until it has doubled in size.
- Shape the Dough: punch down the risen dough. Divide it into two equal portions and shape each into a loaf. Place the shaped loaves into greased loaf pans.
- Second Rise: cover the pans with a kitchen towel and let the loaves rise again for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
- Preheat the Oven: preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Bake: bake the brioche loaves for 20-25 minutes or until they are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- Cool: allow the loaves to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Room Temperature Ingredients: Ensure that the eggs and butter are at room temperature for better incorporation into the dough.
- Patience with Rising: Let the dough rise sufficiently during both rises for the best texture. A slow rise at room temperature enhances flavor.
- Butter Quality: Use high-quality unsalted butter for a richer taste. European-style butter works exceptionally well.
- Baking Time: Keep an eye on the brioche while baking to avoid over-browning. Tent with foil if needed.
- Versatility: Brioche can be used for French toast, sandwiches, or as a base for decadent desserts like bread pudding.