This soft, buttery brioche loaf recipe tastes like it is from a French bakery but easy enough to make at home! It is tender, moist and versatile! Serve it for dinner and then transform the leftovers into the best old fashioned bread pudding for dessert!

baked brioche sliced open to show interior crumb.

This is a classic brioche bread recipe with a tender crumb that is not too sweet. I’ve included easy to follow steps, photos and a ton of tips I learned as the pastry chef of restaurants and bakeries, so that you can make this decadent easy brioche loaf recipe at home!  

Why You Will Love this Brioche Loaf Recipe

  • Tender, bakery-style brioche bread. The milk, eggs and butter make this recipe soft and taste like it came from a bakery!
  • Easy to make. Using a stand mixer makes this bread a snap! You can also make it by hand with a little extra time some elbow-grease.
  • Not sticky or difficult to work with. This dough is not sticky or wet and is easy to work with even by hand.
whole loaf plus slices of brioche bread on wooden board with butter.

Professional Tips for Making Brioche Bread

  • Developing the dough before adding the butter. Butter inhibits gluten formation, so developing the dough before adding the butter will speed up the process!
  • All-purpose flour is best. Most people associate bread flour with good bread, but all-purpose flour actually makes lighter, more tender brioche bread! I save bread flour for those recipes that I want to be chewier and more dense like Montreal bagels!
  • Don’t over-complicate it. French brioche is actually very simple and forgiving. The eggs and butter make for a soft, smooth dough that is not sticky when properly mixed.

Ingredients Needed

brioche loaf bread ingredients on marble.
  • All Purpose Flour: I prefer to use all-purpose flour in the majority of my bread recipes because it has the perfect amount of gluten for developing a strong network but remaining tender and soft.
  • Milk: Use 2% or whole milk for a little extra fat and flavor.
  • Kosher Salt: Kosher salt is lass salty than table salt and a teaspoon weighs less than other finer ground varieties.
  • Dry Active Yeast: These little guys require the added step of hydration, but they are fast yet controllable. If you don’t have dry active yeast, you can substitute double the weight of fresh yeast or half the volume of instant yeast. If using either fresh or instant yeast, you can add them straight to the batter!
  • Eggs: Large eggs add fat and flavor but they also hydrate the dough. You will need an additional egg for the egg wash.
  • Sugar: There is a little bit of sugar here for flavor, caramelization of the crust and also to give the yeast an easy, readily accessible food supply to get the party started!
  • Butter: Unsalted butter allows you to control the flavor of the dough while still adding all the buttery goodness!

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations & Substitutions

  • Use this recipe to make rolls: Divide and shape this same recipe into rolls! This same recipe will make 6 dinner rolls. You can bake them in the 9×5 inch loaf pan to make them tall and fluffy!
  • Nut & Fruit Bread: Add any combination of dried fruit, nuts or candied zest you wish up until one pound. You can even use all raisins for an easy brioche raisin bread, or try toasted pecans with dried cherries!  
  • Flavor the dough: One of the easiest ways to change the flavor of this bread is to add lemon or orange zest to the dough. I zest into the sugar, massage it in, then allow it to sit to pull out the oils from the zest. You could also mix chopped herbs, shallots or garlic in when adding the butter. Be aware that garlic will retard fermentation if used in large quantities.

What is brioche bread?

Brioche bread is a traditional French bread that is hydrated primarily by butter and eggs. There are different styles of brioche that range from less enriched with only 25% butter using baker’s math, where each ingredient is written as a percentage compared to the weight of the flour. The most decadent (and difficult to work with) brioche has 75% butter!

How to Make this Brioche Loaf Recipe

Use these instructions to make the perfect brioche bread every time! Further details and measurements can be found in the recipe card below.

Mix the dough:

Step 1: In the bowl of a stand mixer whisk together the dry active yeast and warm milk. Allow to sit for 10 minutes or until bubbly.

Step 2: Add the sugar, eggs, salt, and flour to the stand mixer bowl. Fit with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed to incorporate.

I find the paddle is more efficient at incorporating than the hook in most home stand mixers.

Step 3: Once the ingredients are mixed and the flour has been hydrated, switch to the dough hook attachment and mix on medium until a smooth dough forms. It will not stick to the sides of the bowl. Use the window pane test to tell if the dough is ready to add the butter.

WINDOW PANE TEST: take a golf ball sized portion of the dough from the mixer and gently start to pull the dough apart. I like to think of it as a square and gently pull on two sides, then rotate and repeat. If the dough tears instantly, it is definitely not ready. If it allows you to pull it thin enough to see light through it, then it is ready. There are different degrees of gluten development but with this dough we want to develop a strong gluten network to hold up to all that butter and eggs! Ideally you want a smooth dough with no visible “veins”, but you can see in this picture, we still have veins and the resulting bread was still wonderful.

bloomed yeast in mixing bowl.
mixed brioche dough in mixer bowl.
window pane test for brioche.

Step 4: Add the softened butter to the stand mixer and mix on low until the butter disappears into the dough.

Adding the butter after developing the gluten shortens the mixing process and will ensure a nice strong dough that will support all those eggs and that butter! You can add the butter with all the rest of the ingredients in Step 2, but it will take longer to develop. You might need to stop mixing before the perfect window pane has been achieved. If that is the case, simply add another set of folds to develop the gluten instead.

Step 5: Remove the dough from the stand mixer using a stiff silicone spatula or a bowl scraper, and place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and then place in a warm spot. Allow to proof 30 minutes. Give the dough one set of folds.

Set of folds: A set of folds is actually 4 separate folds. Fold each of the four sides into the center by pulling the dough up on one side and then fold it over on top of the remaining dough in the bowl. Rotate the bowl after each fold. This is developing more gluten!

Step 6: Bulk Proof: Cover the dough and place back into the warm spot to proof. Check the dough every 45 minutes. This will take about 1 ½ hours. You want to oil or flour your hand and feel the dough. It should feel light and airy and not stiff or dense.

adding butter to brioche dough.
bulk proofing brioche in glass bowl.
pre-shaped brioche bread bench resting.

Cold Proofing Brioche Dough: Traditional brioche dough is proofed for a long period of time in the refrigerator. The more butter in the dough, the more essential this step is. This recipe is easy and doesn’t require a cold proof. You can proof in the refrigerator overnight if desired instead.

Step 7: Pre-shape & Bench rest: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Fold each of the four sides towards you into the center, turning the dough after each fold. This will create a little packet. Flip the dough so the seam in on the counter. Shape it into a round by using both hands to pull the dough towards you. Once you have a round ball with a smooth top, cover to keep the top from drying out and allow it to sit and bench rest for 15 minutes. This is called a bench rest. You should take a bench rest too ?

Step 8: Final Shape: We are going to shape these into a log. Take the dough round and flip it over. Grab the top and bottom edges and gently pull it into a small rectangle. Place it on the counter and fold the top edge down 2/3rd of the way and press it into the dough. Rotate so that the unfolded edge is now away from you and fold that edge down towards you to meet the bottom edge. Press to seal. Now we are going to do 2 thumb folds. Take the top edge with your right hand and fold it over you thumb about half way down, pressing to seal as you go. Repeat until you have folded the entire length. You will notice the dough getting tighter and also longer.

Keep in mind the length of your pan. You don’t want your dough to be longer than your pan. You can put it on the counter for reference if that makes it easier to judge the length.

Step 9: Repeat the thumb fold once more, sealing really well on the bottom. You should now have a log shape that is even in width along the whole length, that is the length of your pan, and tight enough to not slouch onto the counter. If the dough is too loose, repeat the thumb fold once more.

shaping brioche into square before folding.
first fold of log shaping.
second fold of log shaping.

Step 10: Spray with non-stick spray or butter a 9×5 inch loaf pan. Place the log into the sprayed pan seam-side down. Cover with plastic wrap and place once more in your warm spot.

Step 11: Allow to proof until the dough just starts to reach the top of the pan. When that happens preheat  your oven to 350°F. Brush the top of the dough with well beaten egg, being careful not to let it drip down the sides. As soon as it is preheated bake for 35-40 minutes or until the internal temperature reads 185°F using an instant read thermometer.

Step 12: Allow to cool 5 minutes in the pan then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

2 shaped loaves of brioche before proofing.
egg washing proofed brioche dough.
2 baked brioche loaves in metal pans.

If the brioche loaf sits in the pan too long, it will steam and the sides and bottom will get soggy!

Frequently Asked Questions

How to store brioche bread?

The butter and sugar will keep brioche soft at room temperature for up to 3 days before it begins to dry out. Store well-wrapped or in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or freeze immediate after cooling for up to 2 months. The refrigerator will dry out the bread faster.

What makes this recipe best for beginners?

This is an easy brioche loaf recipe that makes just one loaf of bread. It has a lower hydration percentage than other brioche recipes including this brioche

Can I make a different size batch?

You can make as large a batch as your mixer will safely accommodate. When scaling up or down, I recommend measuring by weight. Small discrepancies can add up quickly!

If you enjoyed this recipe, please leave a star rating and let me know how it goes in the comments below! I love hearing from you and your comments make my day!

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classic brioche loaf bread

Brioche Loaf

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  • Author: Girl Versus Dough
  • Prep Time: 3 hours 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 35 mins
  • Total Time: 4 hours 5 mins
  • Yield: 1 9×5-inch loaf 1x
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: French

Description

This soft, buttery brioche loaf recipe tastes like it is from a French bakery but easy enough to make at home! It is tender, moist and versatile!


Ingredients

Units Scale

For the dough:

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup warm 2% milk (about 110-115 degrees F)
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened, cubed

For the egg wash:

  • 1 egg
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon water

Instructions

Mix the Dough:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer whisk together the dry active yeast and warm milk. Allow to sit for 10 minutes or until bubbly.
  2. Add the sugar, eggs, salt, and flour to the stand mixer bowl. Fit with the paddle attachment and mix to incorporate.
  3. Once the ingredients are mixed and the flour has been hydrated, switch to the hook attachment and mix on medium until a smooth dough forms. Use the window pane test to tell if the dough is ready to add the butter.
    WINDOW PANE TEST: take a golf ball sized portion of the dough from the mixer and gently start to pull the dough apart. I like to think of it as a square and gently pull on two sides, then rotate and repeat. If the dough tears instantly, it is definitely not ready. If it allows you to pull it thin enough to see light through it, then it is ready. There are different degrees of gluten development but with this dough we want to develop a strong gluten network to hold up to all that butter and eggs! Ideally you want a smooth dough with no visible “veins”.
  4. Add the softened butter to the stand mixer and mix on low until the butter disappears into the dough.
  5. Adding the butter after developing the gluten shortens the mixing process and will ensure a nice strong dough that will support all those eggs and that butter! You can add the butter with all the rest of the ingredients in Step 2, but it will take longer to develop. You might need to stop mixing before the perfect window pane has been achieved. If that is the case, simply add another set of folds to develop the gluten instead.

Shaping & Proofing

  1. Remove the dough from the stand mixer using a stiff silicone spatula or a bowl scraper, and place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and then place in a warm spot. Allow to proof 30 minutes. Give the dough one set of folds.
  2. Set of folds: A set of folds is actually 4 separate folds. Fold each of the four sides into the center by pulling the dough up on one side and then fold it over on top of the remaining dough in the bowl. Rotate the bowl after each fold. This is developing more gluten!
  3. Bulk Proof: Cover the dough and place back into the warm spot to proof. Check the dough every 45 minutes. This will take about 1 ½ hours. You want to oil or flour your hand and feel the dough. It should feel light and airy and not stiff or dense.
  4. Pre-shape & Bench rest: Turn the dough out onto a lightly or un-floured surface. Fold each of the four sides towards you into the center, turning the dough after each fold. This will create a little packet. Flip the dough so the seam in on the counter. Shape it into a round by using both hands to pull the dough towards you. Once you have a round ball with a smooth top, cover to keep the top from drying out and allow it to sit and bench rest for 15 minutes.
  5. Final Shape: We are going to shape these into a log (or a bâtard if you like fancy French terms for things). Take the dough round and flip it over. Grab the top and bottom edges and gently pull it into a small rectangle. Place it on the counter and fold the top edge down 2/3rd of the way and press it into the dough. Rotate so that the unfolded edge is now away from you and fold that edge down towards you to meet the bottom edge. Press to seal. Now we are going to do 2 thumb folds. Take the top edge with your right hand and fold it over you thumb about half way down, pressing to seal as you go. Repeat until you have folded the entire length. You will notice the dough getting tighter and also longer.
  6. Repeat the thumb fold once more, sealing really well on the bottom. You should now have a log shape that is even in width along the whole length, that is the length of your pan, and tight enough to not slouch onto the counter. If the dough is too loose, repeat the thumb fold once more.
  7. Spray with non-stick spray or butter a 9×5 inch loaf pan. Place the log into the sprayed pan seam-side down. Cover with plastic wrap and place once more in your warm spot.
  8. Allow to proof until the dough just starts to reach the top of the pan. When that happens preheat  your oven to 350°F. As soon as it is preheated bake for 35-40 minutes or until the internal temperature reads 185°F.
  9. Allow to cool 5 minutes in the pan then remove to a rack to cool completely.

Notes

Yield – 1 loaf

Variations – Flavor the dough with citrus zest, spices or herbs. Try incorporating add-ins like chopped nuts, dried fruits or candied zest after dough development.

Storage – Store well-wrapped or in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or freeze immediate after cooling for up to 2 months. The refrigerator will dry out the bread faster.

To Freeze –Pre-slice, wrap VERY well in plastic wrap, place in gallon zip-top baggy and freeze. Remove as many slices as desired and toast (or microwave).

Before You Go

I hope you enjoyed this easy brioche bread recipe. Check out our other delicious yeast bread recipes or go straight to the most popular recipe, this easy classic Italian bread!