This easy brioche bread is so airy and flaky that it literally melts in your mouth. It’s perfect for everything from jelly sandwiches to classic French toast.
What Is Brioche?
Brioche is a classic French yeast bread made with a large amount of eggs and butter. This combination makes the bread fluffy, airy, and soft on the inside with a golden brown outside. The flavor of the bread is the perfect balance of savory and sweet.
From start to finish, this French brioche recipe takes 40 minutes of hands-on time and 30 minutes to bake. That being said, you’ll need to account for two total hours of rising and resting in addition. However, when you open your oven and your house is filled with the smell of fresh brioche, you’ll be happy you put the time in!
How To Make Brioche Bread from Scratch
Making homemade brioche bread is quite a forgiving process – the dough can be tweaked until it’s the perfect texture and the braiding process is no different than braiding hair!
- Activate the yeast: First, whisk the warm milk with yeast, sugar, and two cups of flour. Cover the bowl with a towel and allow it to rest in a warm place for 30 minutes.
- Build the dough: Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl. Add the whisked eggs, vanilla extract, and melted butter to the dough mixture. Whisk in the remaining flour in small portions. The brioche dough should be soft and slightly sticky.
- Knead the dough: Knead the dough by hand on a lightly floured work surface or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment until the dough is elastic (about 10-15 minutes). Cover it with a towel and let the dough rest and rise for an hour.
- Braid the dough: Next, divide the dough into two pieces. (I love using this silicone dough scraper for easily dividing the dough.) Then, divide each half into three equal pieces and roll each of them into a long rope. Connect the ends of the ropes and braid them.
- Bake the brioche: Place the braided brioche on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Allow the bread to proof for 30 minutes, then brush the tops with an egg wash. Bake the brioche at 350°F for about 30 minutes or until the bread is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack, then enjoy!
How Should the Dough Feel?
The hardest part of this recipe is determining when the dough texture is right. Be confident that your dough is ready when it checks off these two items.
- Soft and slightly tacky: The dough texture should be soft and slightly tacky. It should stick a little to your fingers but not to the sides of the bowl. Add a 1/4 cup of flour at a time until the dough is the correct consistency.
- Smooth and elastic: The dough should be able to stretch well. Take a small piece of dough and stretch it until it’s thin. If it stretches well and is semi-transparent, the consistency is right.
Hot tip: The amount of flour used may differ slightly between each time you bake this bread. This is due to the amount of the other ingredients used as well as if using different brands of flour.
Tips for The Perfect Brioche Loaf
Like all bread-making, there’s a little science and technique at the core of the process. To nail this simple brioche bread recipe, follow a couple of simple tips and tricks along the way.
- Warm the milk slightly: Warm milk is necessary to fully activate the yeast. The milk should be warmed to about 110°F. To take the guesswork out, check the temperature with a candy thermometer.
- Adjust the flour as needed: The dough should be soft and slightly sticky. Adjust the amount of flour — if it’s too sticky, add a bit more flour. The amount of flour used may differ based on the type of flour used, environment, and humidity. Brioche is hard to mess up, making it one of our favorites to bake.
- Use fresh ingredients: Fresh flour and yeast are key to achieving the best brioche loaf. If the flour is older, sift it in a fine-mesh sieve to remove any lumps and clumps. You don’t want clumps of flour baked into the bread!
- Mix with a stand mixer: Brioche requires a lot of mixing, so make it easier on yourself by using a stand mixer. The mixing process is what activates the gluten, giving the bread its texture. In a pinch, the dough can be made by hand, but it will require a lot more effort!
- Take your time: Rise times may differ depending on your environment (weather, time of year, even the temperature inside your kitchen). If you feel the dough needs to rise more, wait a little longer.
Hot tip: Use Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Flour or any Canadian brand flour – they will give you the best result due to their high protein content. In a pinch, bread flour works too, but it gives the bread a chewier texture.
Serving Brioche Bread
Now for the fun part – figuring out how to put your brioche bread to work! Here are a couple of our favorite ways to use this decadent bread.
- Enjoy it with butter, jam, or honey. Brioche has a perfect eggy taste that goes great with butter, jam, and honey. Our favorite combination is apricot jam or strawberry jam and European butter like Kerrygold or Plugra.
- Make brioche french toast with your leftovers. You have probably seen brioche french toast on a brunch menu before and you’re already in love with it. Put those leftovers to good use and make a homemade batch!
- Make brioche sandwiches. Grab your favorite cured meat (prosciutto, mortadella, salami, etc.) and a few slices of swiss cheese. Spread your brioche with a bit of dijon mustard and have yourself a perfectly simple yet delicious European-style sandwich.
- Bake a decadent brioche bread pudding. The combination of sliced pears and chocolate chips in this recipe is to-die-for. It’s the perfect item to bring to brunch!
Storing Brioche Bread
Why make only two loaves of brioche bread when it’s super simple to store the baked bread for enjoyment days or weeks later? Follow these storage tips for a gift that keeps on giving.
- Refrigerator: Store your brioche in the fridge for up to a week. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or place it in a sealed Ziploc bag. Since this bread is heavy on the eggs, it is not recommended to store it at room temperature.
- Freezer: Freeze brioche bread for up to a month. Keep it fresh by wrapping it tightly with plastic wrap before placing it in the freezer. Thaw to room temperature before serving, then reheat as desired.
What makes brioche different from other breads?
Brioche is a French yeast bread that uses a lot more eggs than other breads, giving it a pretty, yellow color on the inside and a golden brown color on the outside. The result is a light and fluffy bread.
Is brioche just white bread?
While brioche is technically made with white flour, it isn’t considered a standard white bread. Brioche is fortified with eggs and a ton of butter to give it a light and flakey crumb texture.
Can brioche bread be made in a bread machine?
Brioche bread can be made in a bread machine, but it doesn’t turn out as golden brown as it does when baked in the oven. For best results, bake it straight on a baking sheet to get the right coloring and texture.
Is brioche bread healthier than white bread?
Brioche is more decadent than typical white bread. It contains more butter and egg, making it higher in calories.
Other Similar Recipes to Try
- Best Challah Bread Recipe – Classic Jewish-style loaves
- Pampushky – Ukrainian-style garlic bread
- Classic White Miche Bread – Easy country bread
- Easy Focaccia Bread Recipe – Italian flatbread with herbs
- 1 egg
- 3 tbsp water
- Prepare ingredients for brioche bread.
- Combine the warm (110°F) milk with yeast, sugar, and two cups of flour. Whisk the ingredients together. Cover the bowl with a towel and set it aside in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together. Add eggs, vanilla extract, and melted butter to the dough mixture. Mix in the remaining 4 cups of flour in small portions.
- Knead the dough by hand or in a stand mixer until it becomes elastic. This will take about 10-15 minutes. Cover the dough and let it rise for about an hour.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into two even pieces. Next, divide each piece into three pieces. Roll each piece out into a long rope. Connect the ends of the ropes together and braid them.
- Place each braided brioche on a lined baking sheet, cover with a towel, and let rise for 30 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and water to create the egg wash. Brush the brioche with the egg wash.
- Bake the brioche at 350°F for about 30 minutes or until the bread is golden brown.