Basic and Easy Brioche Loaf

  • Serves: Makes 1, 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2-3/4-inch loaf pan (6 cups)
  • Baking Temp (degrees F): 350
  • Views: 18828
  • Comments: 4

Photo by Sarah Phillips © 2010 Sarah Phillips
Brioche can also be made in a pan to make an ordinary loaf that toasts beautifully. Double the recipe if using an 8-cup Brioche Pan, but you will have a small amount left over; make mini-brioches in a muffin tin -just roll the dough into balls and bake at about 10 - 15 minutes at the same temperature. Optionally, place a couple of chocolate chips in each dough ball and pinch tight to close them inside. Make sure you fill any unused tins 1/2 full with water so they won't smoke in the oven. Serve the cooled loaf in thin slices with jam or preserves. Stale Brioche makes wonderful French Toast.

I took a class from Nick Malgieri eons ago and learned to make this recipe. I have changed it, by adding in more yolks and orange peel, to make a richer and more flavorful bread. I have also added more information to the recipe's instructions. See also Brioche à Tête.


The sponge starter in this recipe makes the bread especially moist. 

1/2 cup whole or 2% milk
2 1/2 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; divided

6 tablespoons unsalted butter; cold from the refrigerator
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon orange peel
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large egg yolks and 1 large egg or 2 large eggs; cold from the refrigerator

1/2 cup dark or light raisins, currants, toasted and chopped nuts, optional

1 large egg yolk mixed with a pinch of sugar, for glaze

1. In a small saucepan over low heat, heat the milk until just warm, about 100 - 110 degrees F.
Remove from heat and pour into a small bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let sit for a minute.
Whisk it in and 1 cup of the flour.

2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature while you prepare the other ingredients. It may rise slightly.

Mix the dough:
1. Fit a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.

2. Cut the butter into tablespoon size (6) pieces and combine with the sugar, orange peel and the salt in a mixer.

3. With the mixer on low, mix ingredients until soft and smooth. Scrape the insides of the bowl often.

4. Add the egg yolks and egg, one at a time and mix until smooth, about 10 minutes.
SARAH SAYS: The dough may curdle from using cold eggs; it's ok. If it does, mix for 1 minute more until almost smooth; it may still look somewhat curdled.

5. Switch the mixer to a dough hook. Add the remaining 1 1/4 cups flour, and then, add the sponge starter, scraping it into the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula.

6. Starting a low speed and gradually advancing to medium, mix the ingredients until they form a soft, smooth dough. Afterwards, mix another 30 seconds.

1. Generously butter a 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2-3/4-inch loaf pan or 6-cup Brioche pan. Set aside.

2. Turn the dough onto a generously floured work surface. Fold it over onto itself several times to make it elastic.

SARAH SAYS: At this point, you can optionally add 1/2 cup dark or light raisins, currants, toasted and chopped nuts, to the dough.
Then, continue to fold the dough over on itself until they are evenly incorporated.

3. Press the dough into a rough rectangle, if using a loaf pan or a disk, if using a Brioche one. Fold each side about an inch towards the center and press firmly to seal.

4. Shape the loaf:
If shaping a rectangle:
Then starting at one edge, fold the rectangle towards the middle. Fold the other half of the dough towards the middle.
Fold the remaining edges, one at a time, past the seam and pinch to seal.

If shaping a disk:
Then starting at one edge, fold the disk towards the middle. Fold the other half of the dough towards the middle.
Fold the remaining edges, one at a time, towards the center and seal.

5. Place the dough, seam side down into a prepared pan. Press the top of the dough firmly with the palm of your hand, taking care not to squish the dough
especially hard in any one place.
This will flatten it and fill the pan evenly.

6. Cover the pan with a piece of plastic wrap, either buttered or sprayed with vegetable oil, facing the dough.
Allow the dough to rise about an inch above the rim of the pan, taking about 1 hour.

1. Meanwhile, after about 30 minutes after placing the dough in the pan to rise, heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Carefully remove the plastic wrap from the brioche dough.

3. Brush the brioche with the egg yolk / sugar mixture, taking care not to let the egg dribble onto the pan, as it will impair its rise.

4. Slash the loaf SARAH SAYS: Optionally, with a pair of scissors, you make small cuts instead of using a knife.
Rectangle shape: Using the corner of a razor blade (be careful) or the point of a sharp knife, cut a slash from about 1-inch before the end of the loaf down the middle of the top, to 1-inch before the end.

Disk shape: If baking in a Brioche pan, do the same, but make 2 slashed like an "x".

4. Bake until golden brown, about 40 minutes. If the bread is browning too quickly, cover it lightly with foil.
SARAH SAYS: To test for doneness, insert a thermometer in the bottom of the bread. It should reach 200 degrees F.
It will also sound hollow when tapped on the bottom once removed from pan.

5. When done, let the brioche cool in its pan about 5- 10 minutes, then remove the bread from the pan and let cool on a wire rack.

Brioche is best the day it is made, but can be kept nicely at room temperature for a day or two; wrap well in plastic.
Wrapped airtight, the loaf can be frozen for a month. Thaw, still wrapped, at room temperature.

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