Brioche is an enriched dough, which means it is made with the addition of butter, sugar, eggs and/or oil. In this recipe’s case, we will use eggs, sugar, and butter.
Because brioche is an enriched dough, you get that sweet taste, a soft texture, and the classic golden color. Brioche is amazing just at it is in a loaf pan or as brioche à tête. But the main thing that I LOVE about brioche is that the opportunities are limitless! I use this recipe as the base for my cinnamon rolls, pastries, knots, loaves, donuts, babka, french toast, burger buns, and so much more. It is seriously my secret weapon.
Making the Dough
This dough needs to be refrigerated for at least 4 hours or up to overnight. I personally always opt for the overnight option as it makes every process much simpler. For example, if I am wanting cinnamon rolls on Saturday morning, I will make the brioche dough on Friday, then Saturday morning I will shape the cinnamon rolls, let them rise for 1-2 hours, then bake.
What is a sponge?
To make this brioche, we will do what is called the “sponge method”. Don’t worry, it is very easy. It is simply combining the yeast, some of the flour, and the water, then we let this ferment (or just sit on the counter) for about 30 minutes until it is all bubbly. What the sponge does is it helps to enhance the flavor of the bread and helps to create a light texture.
In this recipe we will use bread flour – I recommend using King Arthur as it has a high gluten count
For butter, I always bake with Kerrygold.
Like I mentioned above, you can bake many things with this brioche dough. Each batch of dough can make either two loaves or a tray of another baked good. I often will use half of the dough to make a loaf, and then the other half to make either Nutella knots or something like that. I recommend having fun and experimenting with anything that sounds fun for you. Here are a few of my favorite things:
- ½ Cup Bread Flour
- 2 tsp Instant Yeast
- ½ Cup Whole Milk, lukewarm
- 5 large Eggs
- 3 Cups Bread Flour
- 1 ½ Tbsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 Cup Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
Make the Sponge
- To make the sponge, stir together the flour, yeast, and milk in the bowl of a stand mixture. Let sit for 30 minutes until the sponge is all bubbly.
Make the Dough
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the rest of the flour, salt, and sugar. Set aside.
- Once the sponge has set for 30 minutes, add the eggs to the sponge and beat with the paddle attachment for about 1 minute until it is all combined.
- Add in the flour mixture and mix on low for another minute.
- Divide the butter into quarters. Begin adding a quarter of the butter at a time to the dough while mixing on medium speed.
- Once the butter is all added, continue mixing for another 5-7 minutes until the dough is smooth and soft. You will need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a time or two. The final dough will be soft and sticky.
- Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- After the dough has chilled, remove it from the refrigerator. Section your dough in half if you want (half of the dough will make 1 loaf pan worth), then shape it into whatever you desire.
- Once you have shaped the dough, let it rise on the counter for 1½-2 hours or until the dough has noticeably risen.
- Brush an egg wash or heavy cream over the brioche before putting in the oven.
- Bake your brioche at 400℉ for loaves or 350℉ for smaller shapes (cinnamon rolls, knots, etc). Bake the loaves for 35 minutes or small items for about 10 minutes.