I handed my husband a bite of a warm homemade brioche and said, “You’re going to fall in love with me all over again.”
There’s really not much better than a taste of homemade bread. Especially when the bread is enriched with eggs, milk and butter – a LOT of butter, as is the case for brioche.
I’ve tried a couple of recipes before settling on this one. The others messed with sponges, long resting times and complicated ways to mix. This recipe can be all done in one day, is incredibly easy to mix together and the results, well they have the power to have someone fall madly in love with you all over again.
Simple brioche loaf recipe
Adapted from FineCooking.com
- 1 lb. 2 oz. (4 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 oz. (4-1/2 tsp.) active dry yeast, preferably Red Star brand
- 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus a pinch for the egg wash
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature, plus 2 large eggs and 1 large egg yolk for the egg wash
- 4 oz. (1/2 cup) whole milk, at room temperature
- 8 oz. (1 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, softened; more for the pans
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar, yeast and salt on low speed until well combined. Add four of the eggs and the milk and continue mixing on low speed to combine.
As soon as the brioche dough starts to clump together, remove the paddle attachment and attach the dough hook. (There will still be unmixed egg and flour in the bowl.) Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Turn off the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Continue to mix until the dough is firm and elastic, about 2 minutes more.
The dough will be quite sticky and cling to the hook at this point. That’s okay. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes before going on to the next step.
With the mixer on medium-low speed, add half of the butter, a few pieces at a time. Scrape down the bowl and dough hook, then continue to incorporate the rest of the butter. Once all of the butter has been added, increase the mixer speed to medium and mix for 4 minutes. Scrape the dough hook and the sides and bottom of the bowl. Then let the dough rest for 5 minutes before continuing.
Mix again until the dough is smooth, soft and shiny, about 4 minutes more. You’ll hear the dough slap against the sides of the bowl when it’s ready. Brioche dough is very sticky but do not add more flour.
Remove the mixing bowl from the stand mixer and use a rubber spatula to continue to mix the dough by hand, making sure all the ingredients are well mixed. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, then set aside in a warm spot. Let the dough rise for an hour or until doubled in size.
After an hour, mix the dough with a spatula again to knock out the air and to continue to build the structure. At this point you can refrigerate the dough for up to three days or you can use the dough.
For the loaf you see in the photos, I divided the dough in half, saved one half for cinnamon rolls for the weekend, then divided the other half into eight sections, which I then rolled into balls.
Arrange eight dough balls in two rows of four in a well buttered loaf pan.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
Cover and let the loaf rise until doubled.
In a small bowl, make the egg wash by beating the remaining 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk and a pinch of salt. Brush the top of the loaf with the egg wash, then bake for about 25 minutes or to an internal temperature of 190 degrees F. Let cool on a rack for 25 to 30 minutes before removing from the pan.
Tips for brioche success:
- Unlike other yeast recipes, here you don’t have to worry about warming up the liquids, in this case milk. There is so much mixing that happens with this dough that simply the warmth generated through that action is enough to activate the yeast.
- The butter needs to be at room temperature so it can easily incorporate into the dough.
- Refrigerated brioche dough is much easier to work with and an overnight rest in the fridge greatly improves the flavor as the yeast slowly develops and slightly sours. Shape the brioche while the dough is cold then let rise for at least 2 hours.
- To give your brioche that deep, rich, copper color, brush the exterior with an egg wash. The more yolk the deeper the color.
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