March 15, 2014

Fool-Proof Homemade Brioche

Goodness gracious, where on earth has my week gone?! Ack! Sorry for letting the week slip by, and my delayed posting of this life-changing recipe; between my first workout in over a month (owwww!!!) baking six dozen muffins and looking for window replacement contractors, it's been a busy few days!

When I say life-changing, I mean it. I've tried four different Brioche recipes before this one, and none of them worked for me. They all tasted just fine, but after the initial rise in the pan, that was all she wrote. No rise in the oven. That is not Brioche, folks!! This version was my very last hope, and it really is fool-proof!! If you trust the recipe and don't freak out about how soft the dough is, you're good to go! In fact, for my second batch, I accidentally doubled it without checking my yeast... It needs a tablespoon, and after my first tablespoon there was barely a teaspoon left. So I tossed that in and crossed my fingers... and it rose just as much as the first batch! That's what I call fool-proof, when a recipe can handle a few hiccups!

Fool-Proof Homemade Brioche (adapted from King Arthur Flour)
Printable Recipe

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup milk
4 Tb sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 Tb yeast
3 large eggs plus 1 yolk (save the egg white!)
1/4 cup lukewarm water
10 Tb butter, room temperature

In a stand mixer or bread machine (programmed for dough), combine all ingredients and mix on medium speed until combined. It'll look more like frosting than dough at this point, that's okay! DON'T add more flour!!
Continue beating for 10 minutes, until the dough becomes elastic and shiny, and starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl. It will still be very sticky! 
Scrape down the sides and switch to the dough hook. Knead for 5-8 more minutes, until the dough is smooth. It still will be VERY loose, and have a very odd texture, but shouldn't stick to your fingers anymore. Plop that dough into a very well-greased bowl. 
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for an hour, then stick the whole thing in the fridge overnight.

The next morning, take your dough out of the fridge and set it on the counter to warm up a bit. It will be very stiff, no worries! Let it thaw just until it is workable. If you let it thaw too much it will be a gooey mess.

Now, what shape do you want your loaf? If you'd like to braid it, divide your dough into three parts, roll each piece out into a rope about 11-12 inches long. 
Pinch the ends together and braid!

(Your braid will be shorter than mine, I was a little overenthusiastic, hence my resulting lumpy loaf). You can also just divide it into 2 pieces, form each piece into a smooth ball, and plop them (or the braid) in a well-greased 9x5 inch loaf pan.
Cover your loaf and let it rise for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. This is where you'll see your most drastic rise- it should at least reach the rim of your pan. 
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Beat that saved egg white a little bit and gently brush it on the surface of your loaf. (You can sprinkle with coarse or pearl sugar at this point, if you'd like!) 

Bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Cover with a piece of loosely tented foil and bake for another 20 minutes. The crust should be a rich reddish-golden brown, a little darker than your average bread recipe. Remove from the oven to a wire rack. After 5 minutes, gently remove the loaf from the pan and let it cool completely on the wire rack before cutting. Enjoy!

**There are two versions of this recipe on the King Arthur Flour website, the link I provided with the recipe is to their blog page. This page was incredibly helpful! There are a lot of tips and examples there that are missing from the actual recipe. Step-by-step photos, variations, etc. If my instructions still leave you feeling a bit uncertain, go check it out!**
 Look at that gorgeous crust!! It's so beautiful, I just couldn't stop grinning, despite my lumpy braid.
This is not your average loaf of bread. It's eggy and buttery and light as a feather. See that airy crumb? Perfection!
Do you know how versatile this bread is? You can make buns, rolls, loaves, rounds, sweet or savory, it has a million uses! I can't wait to try it for hamburger buns. Oh man. We made french toast with it and discovered why it is so popular in french toast recipes: it's like a sponge! It can soak up lots more eggy-ness without getting soggy!
Tomorrow I'll show you one of the many other delicious uses for this dough, and hopefully convince you to give it a try!


  1. This bread looks amazing sweet lady! I loved the recipe, I just copied it, as I love baking bread! I can't wait to make it and have a lucious piece with some butter and jam! Thanks for the r├ęcipe tested by you, wow! Have a lovely Sunday.

  2. Your bread looks absolutely perfect April! I have done little individual brioches before and one in the breadmaker, but never like this. I may give this a go!! Happy St Pattie's Day! Will you be eating green potatoes r other food today? xxoo

  3. That is some good looking bread. What do you do if you don't have a stand mixer or a bread machine?

    1. Unfortunately, this bread is pretty tough to make without either one. Not impossible though! It needs a lot of kneading and not a lot of flour, so you'll need some serious arm power. Mix it vigorously by hand with a wooden spoon until it becomes stretchy instead of just gooey, then knead by hand in the bowl or on a greased work surface (with greased hands) until smooth and satiny. I imagine this will take a while, but it's worth a shot! Just don't add more flour! Keep greasing your hands and work surface! :)

    2. Thank you for this awesome recipe! I made it at about 8000 feet without a stand mixer, and it turned out great. I spent about 15 minutes kneading together all the ingredients except the butter, and then worked in the butter tablespoon by tablespoon, which took about 40-45 more minutes of kneading. Since it was sticking to my fingers, I "kneaded" by pretty much just squishing the dough through my fingers, slowly incorporating the butter. In addition to being delicious, the brioche was a great arm workout! :)

    3. I am so glad it worked so well for you!! That's some serious altitude you're working with too. Thank you so much for leaving a comment :)

  4. It looks wonderful , April!
    Hey, did you ever use those pie cutters I sent you?

  5. This looks amazing. Will it work with white whole wheat flour?


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