Updated: Apr 21, 2019
For me the joy of baking is directly linked to childhood memories. This is why I love baking breads and yeast buns and most definitely I would choose that over any other sweet treat. There is nothing better than a smell of freshly baked homemade bread or roll. This is what I remember most from my summer holidays spent with granny. I also remember mum getting up early every Saturday morning to bake plump yeast babka or buttery brioche. You simply can’t beat that!
Ok - enough waffle - to the point. I’m sharing this recipe and baking hints with you hoping you will love to bake your Homemade Brioche as much as I do.
First things first - what’s the difference between Babka and Brioche?
- Brioche is egg and butter heavy, less sugary than Babka.
- Proportion of butter:flour is at 1:2, while most Babkas would require less butter keeping the ratio at 1:4.
- In texture Brioche is lighter than Babka.
- For good bake here fairly long and only 1 kneading is required (25-30 minutes) where you slowly incorporate butter into dough until it becomes satiny and shiny.
- Dough needs to be refrigerated overnight.
- In the morning the dough can be shaped immediately - no need to bring to room temperature.
- For brilliant texture fold and roll the dough to create layers - this will be a difference between good and great bake (see below).
- Dough is easy to work with so you can plate it in whatever way you wish.
- Brioche requires 1 rest before baking. Shaped Brioche should double in size.
There is a myth that in preparation Brioche is more fussy than Babka - this is not the case. It’s actually easier to prepare as there is only 1 rise and 1 fairly long kneading required. All that is needed with Brioche is - patience and time.
You will prepare yeast mixture first and add that to flour, salt and eggs. The mixture then needs to be kneaded for 5 minutes. Kneading here - simply patting the dough, remembering to turn the bowl every so often to aerate the mixture from every angle. If you are using stand mixer - work with dough hook attachment at low-medium speed. Now comes the part which requires patience. You will start adding butter and continue kneading for 20-25 minutes. This time is required to incorporate the butter fully and achieve required shiny and satiny texture. In many recipes this time is not specified. However, kneading and then folding are two key factors if you want to end up with a good bake. If you have a stand mixer - no issue - the machine will knead for you. If you work by hand - it’s a good 25 minute long workout. This is the ONLY complicated and annoying part in baking Brioche. The rest of steps are way easier than in any other dough bakes. Once the dough is shiny and pulls away easily from your hand you will move it covered tightly to the fridge and let it rest overnight. If you want to go for two-coloured Brioche - before refrigerating divide the dough into 2 smaller discs and sprinkle 1 dough with 2 teaspoons of Dutch Cocoa. Knead for 1 minute until Cocoa is fully incorporated.
Next day the dough is ready to be shaped. This dough shapes easier than any other dough - it’s butter heavy which makes it easier to work with. If you want to take a shortcut you can form 12 round rolls and place 6 in each of the loaf tins. However, if you want to have feather-like layers of dough I would recommend below folding technique. This will be a difference between good and great bake. The folding and rolling creates additional layers and results in even fluffier texture. This extra folding step will take you additional 3 minutes.
Roll out the dough into rectangle shape (or anything close to it :). If you opt to bake two-coloured Brioche you need to place Cocoa rectangle on top of Plain rectangle. Then fold it in 3 - same way as you would fold business letter and roll it again into 2mm thin rectangle. Fold it into half and roll it again to achieve 2mm thin layer.
Then roll the dough into log shape, cut it in half (leaving top of the log joined) and plate it into braid shape. Place shaped dough in baking trays and move to warm place. You can switch on the oven for 1-2 minutes, vent and place baking trays in warm (not hot!) closed oven (baking tins tightly covered). The dough should double in size. It will take 1hour to 1 hour 30 minutes for Brioche to puff up (below Brioche before and after the rise).
Yield: 2 x Brioches
Time: 30 minutes prep + refrigerate overnight + 1 hr 30 min shape and rest + 20 min baking
Tin: two 20cmx10cm loaf tins or 18cm round tins
- 2 and 1/2 cups* (375g) strong white flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 180g unsalted butter, room temperature and diced
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 pack (7g) active dry yeast or 20g active bulk dry yeast
- 2/5 cup (100ml) full-fat milk
- 1/4 cup (50g) white granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons Dutch Cocoa (optional - if you are going for two-coloured Brioche)
- Apples, Plums, Peaches (optional)
*cup = 250ml cup
- 1 large egg mixed with 1 Tablespoon milk
Streusel (mix all ingredients):
- 1/2 cup (75g) all-purpose flour
- 4 Tablespoons white granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons vanilla sugar (optional - if you can’t get it increase sugar to 6 Tablespoons)
- 60g unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional - if going for cinnamon streusel)
1. Proof the yeast: In medium pot mix milk and sugar. Warm up the mixture to 38C making sure sugar is fully dissolved. Add yeast to the mixture and give it a stir. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of flour (no need to stir), cover with cling film or dry kitchen towel and move to the warm place. After 15 minutes you should see the mixture foaming/bubbling up. If you don’t, you will need to repeat the step.
2. Prepare the dough: In your main bowl mix flour, salt, add eggs and yeast mixture (from Step 1). Start kneading - if you knead by hand - while patting the dough remember to rotate the bowl so that you are aerating it from every angle. If you work with stand mixer - attach dough hook and let it work on low-medium speed. After 5 minutes of kneading start adding butter and continue kneading. It will take you 20-25 minutes of kneading to incorporate the butter fully and achieve satiny and shiny texture. After that time, if you decide to bake two-coloured Brioche divide dough into two discs and sprinkle Cocoa on 1 of the discs and knead until Cocoa is fully incorporated.
3. 1st rest (refrigerate): Grease bowl with butter, place the dough, cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.
4. Shape: Once ready take out the dough and shape (no need to bring to room temperature).
a) Shortcut: You can divide the dough into 12 rolls and place 6 rolls in each loaf tin.
b) Extra layers and folding: You can also opt to shape your Brioche to form fluffy layers and then plate. Roll out the dough (or each dough piece if going for two colours) into 2mm thin rectangle. Fold into 3 (same way as you would fold business letter), roll out the dough again to form 2mm thin layer, then fold in half and roll again to form 2mm thin layer. Then roll the rectangle into log shape. Cut the log in half (keeping the end of the log joined up) and plate.
5. 2nd rest (warm place): Move baking trays to warm place and cover tightly with dry kitchen towel or cling film. Alternatively you can switch on the oven for 1-2 minutes, then switch off, vent and place baking trays in closed and warm (not hot) oven until Brioche doubles in size (approx 1 hour 30 minutes).
6. Bake: Preheat oven to 180C. Gently apply egg wash, sprinkle with streusel and bake at 180C for 20 -22 minutes until golden. Once baked let your Brioche cool in the baking tray for 5 minutes, then run thin knife around edges to loosen and transfer Brioche to the cooling rack.
1. Fruit: place chopped fruit, juicy part up after shaping (before 2nd rest). After 2nd rest you can gently place few more fruit pieces. Cover the fruit with streusel as otherwise it will dry during baking.
2. You may opt to prepare your bread an butter pudding using Brioche.
3. Matcha Brioche: replace Cocoa in the recipe with 1 teaspoon Matcha powder for two-coloured Green Tea Brioche.
4. Freeze-Dried Fruit: you can experiment further with two-coloured or one-coloured Brioche by adding freeze-dried fruit. Grind freeze-dried strawberries, raspberries (any other fruit) into fine powder and work into the dough the same way as you would work in Dutch Cocoa or Matcha powder.