If you've never had homemade brioche bread, you're in for a treat. This gorgeous buttery, rich bread hails from France, and given brioche's origins, its no wonder this bread bears a strong resemblance to certain pastries. Brioche is exceptionally versatile – you can make sweet or savory, enjoy it at breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Unlike most breads, brioche is enriched with eggs and butter, making it more pastry-like. Many other bread recipes are a combination of water, flour, yeast, and salt, occasionally with other ingredients or flavorings.
In a large mixing bowl, pour the milk, yeast, and honey, whisking to combine. Let the yeast active for about 10 minutes.
Whisk in the eggs and egg yolk. Pour in the sugar and vanilla extract, flour, and salt.
Combine to form a shaggy dough.
If using a stand mixer, knead the dough for 3 to 5 minutes on speed 2. After 5 minutes, add the first piece of butter. Knead for another 2 minutes. Repeat this process until the butter is thoroughly mixed in. Periodically scrape the dough down as needed.
Once the butter is mixed in, switch to speed 5 and knead for 5 to 15 minutes, until the dough is supple and comes cleanly away from the bowl.
Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Flour your hands, then fold the edges of the dough towards the center and lightly press to form a seam. Flip it over to shape, using your palms to form a tight ball.
Place the dough in a clean bowl to proof. Put it somewhere warm, and leave it to double in size. On a floured work surface, turn the dough out and lightly press it to deflate. Fold the edges towards the center then flip over the dough. Using your palms, gently twist and pull the dough to form a tight ball.
Put the dough in a clean bowl, cover with cling film, then place it in the fridge to chill for 8 to 24 hours.
When ready to bake, take the dough out of the fridge. Lightly grease a bread pan with butter, then sprinkle with flour.
Place the dough on a floured surface. Deflate, measure using a scale, and cut into 2 equal portions using a sharp knife.
To shape the dough, form it into a rectangle that is slightly smaller than your bread pan.
Roll the dough, making sure to pinch the edges to form a tight seam. The dough should be rolled to form an even loaf. Repeat with the second portion of dough.
Put each loaf in the prepared bread pans and proof in a warm place for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Before baking, brush the loaves with an egg wash. Bake for about 35 to 45 minutes.
Once done baking, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes in the bread pans.
Take the bread out of the pans and place on a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before slicing.
Because of the butter and eggs in this recipe, you'll need to knead the dough a little longer to get the ideal gluten content. Using a stand mixer is easier, but you can knead the dough by hand as well. Thoroughly clean your work surface. Knead the dough until it goes from sticky and loose to silky and smooth. It should cleanly come away from your work surface.
Anyone can make brioche at home. While it helps to have a stand mixer, you can make it completely by hand as well. If you follow the recipe, you should easily be able to make gorgeous brioche loaves.
Brioche is perfect for making ultra-tasty sandwiches or as a hamburger bun. You can also use it to make a decadent grilled cheese or panini. It's wonderful toasted with a generous dollop of butter or jam, or serve with soup. You can also make rolls instead of loaves for sliders or burgers.
If you've over-proofed your dough, don't worry! It's not ruined. Simply reshape it and start over the proofing process. The dough should be about double its original size.
Leftover brioche is perfect for making French toast. You can also use it for croutons, stuffing, in a bread salad, or to make a gorgeous bread pudding.
Homemade bread doesn't last quite as loaves bought in the supermarket, so be sure to store your leftover brioche properly. Wrap it well and keep it in an airtight container. It should last about 3 days. If you want to keep it longer, put your brioche in a container and leave it in the fridge. Enjoy it within a week. Frozen brioche lasts 2 months. Thaw it or toast it from frozen.
Use active dry yeast to make your brioche. It's a little more user-friendly than fresh yeast.
Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature. Take the eggs out of the fridge and make sure the butter is soft before you start baking. This will help the dough proof.
Use a kitchen scale to weigh out measurements for this recipe.
You don't need to do an egg wash on the loaves, however, it gives the bread that gorgeous brown color.
If it's cold, turn on the oven light and pop your dough into the oven.