Milk and Honey Brioche (two loaves )
Look, I’ve gotta be honest. This takes forever to make. If you need a “quick and easy” recipe, I can’t help you. It takes some time to make brioche right. Time = flavor. So, if you want to make brioche and eat it later today and you stumbled upon this recipe in your quest, turn back now. Using this recipe requires some forethought and planning. Super easy to make, just time consuming as it rises, proofs, and ripens. I like to start this on a Wednesday morning so I can have it ready by the weekend.
5 ounces milk
2 ounces honey
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
½ tsp yeast
1 ½ ounces all purpose flour
4 egg yolks
12 ounces all purpose flour, sifted
2 ½ tsp yeast
1 tsp kosher salt
1 ¾ ounces honey
6 egg yolks
12 ounces butter, room temperature
optional: 6 ounces dried fruit or nuts, chopped
Combine the milk, honey, vanilla, yeast, flour and egg yolks in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk vigorously until a smooth batter is formed. Combine the dry mix in a separate bowl, whisking thoroughly to distribute the yeast and salt. Sprinkle this dry mix over the sponge, but don’t stir it in or mix it up. Cover and let this mixture stand between 2 and 4 hours, or until the sponge has begun to bubble up through the flour. The temperature of your kitchen will determine how fast this occurs.
Using a dough hook or a paddle attachment, mix the flour into the sponge, and then add in the wet mix. Let the mixer run for about 8 minutes on medium speed to develop the dough.
Then, add in the butter one chunk at a time, letting each addition incorporate fully before adding the next. After the last addition of butter, let it mix for another 2 minutes. Shut off the mixer, remove the hook/paddle, and cover the dough. Refrigerate the dough for 6 hours, or overnight.
At that point, take it from the refrigerator and knead it lightly on a floured counter top. If you want to knead in some dried fruit or nuts, now’s the time.
Now, wrap the dough loosely in plastic and refrigerate it for 12 hours or up to a day.
When you’re ready to use the dough, take it from the fridge, shape it according to your purpose (loaves, brioche à tête, cinnamon rolls, etc), cover it loosely with plastic, and let it rise at room temperature until doubled in size.
If you’re making a loaf or brioche à tête, prepare an egg wash by whisking together two eggs with a splash of milk. Brush this over the dough before baking.
Bake at 375° for 45 minutes, or until well risen, golden and hollow sounding when thumped.
A great use of sliced brioche, is of course Buttermilk French Toast. Yeah. I’m from Kentucky, so I said Buttermilk.
To make the Black Olive French Toast, knead in 6 ounces of chopped Kalamata olives into the brioche dough before shaping the loaf.
Jan 04, 2011 · 7:17 PM
I like to use APF because brioche is a very tender bread and doesn’t need a ton of gluten development. I’ve used bread flour in it before, and it turned out fine, but I prefer using APF for tenderness and availability. Make sense? Hope your brioche turns out splendidly!
Jan 04, 2011 · 9:22 PM
Keep me posted, I can’t wait to hear how it turns out!
Jan 06, 2011 · 1:53 PM
I just pulled my loaf of brioche out. My loaf is done, but is so soft it is kinda collapsing on itself. I made two batches of sweet rolls one with pecans and coconut with cinnamon and sugar. I even made your caramel to put over them. Then I made the other ones into cranberry and pistachio with cinnamon and sugar. They are delicate and good. I some how think maybe they are to soft a mistake on my part. I do not know, but there will be other attempts!!
Aug 08, 2011 · 12:27 PM
I am a baking newbie so forgive me for the silly question. However, I just wanted to be certain about the form of yeast I should use for this brioche. I have active dry yeast. Should I keep it in its powdered form when adding it to the sponge and dry mix or am I expected to add water to activate it?
TIA and the recipe sounds delish. Hope I can pull it off, lol
Aug 08, 2011 · 2:52 PM
@Sorce, active dry is a-okay; just mix it in with the other ingredients, no need to activate.
If your yeast is old or you can’t remember when you bought it, you can warm a little of the milk, add it to that and wait for bubbles before proceeding. Good luck!
Aug 10, 2011 · 9:33 AM
@Sorce, the dough is definitely sticky and the amount of flour you need to add can vary from batch to batch depending on a lot of factors, so don’t be too alarmed. How did it work out for you in the end?
Nov 10, 2011 · 8:01 PM
@Sarah, it’s an exceedingly soft dough, but I will run through my recipe again when I get to work tomorrow. You’re not the first to comment on the softness of the dough, so I will double check this recipe against my original (I make a much larger batch at work) to make sure there isn’t some typo in the recipe. I really hope that’s not the case, but I will repost tomorrow and let you know what I find out.
Nov 11, 2011 · 10:47 AM
Thanks, Stella! I ended up refrigerating the loose dough for a bit, then putting it back in the mixer and adding flour by the spoonful until a dough came together. It was still sticky, but more dough-like. I baked it yesterday morning. I don’t know if I did it “right” but it’s delicious!
Nov 12, 2011 · 9:10 PM
@Sarah, thanks so much for the feedback! I haven’t rustled up the recipe yet (I’ve been out of town for a week and am playing a vicious game of catch up at work) but I’m so glad you were able to patch up the dough and make something yummy. I’m sorry my recipe didn’t get you there on your own, but way to improvise!!
Nov 14, 2011 · 10:54 AM
@Sarah, oh you sweet girl. You’re welcome; thanks for the kind words!
Dec 02, 2011 · 10:10 AM
I want to make cranberry sweet rolls, but being from South Africa and being used to measurements being given in metric, I just wanna ask something: are your measurements dry ounces, or fluid ounces? Not used to this crazy imperial system Thanks for the tip on twitter, by the way. Much appreciated
Dec 02, 2011 · 10:33 AM
@Krieksie, everything is by weight, so the dry or fluid part doesn’t matter. My scale toggles back and forth between ounces and grams. But you can convert very easily, 1 ounce is 28.4 grams, so with a few minutes doing the math and you’ll be ready to go. Although if you don’t have a scale, don’t try to convert the measurements to volume, recipes converted from weight to volume tend to fail miserably.
Dec 27, 2011 · 3:04 PM
When I saw your cranberry sweet rolls this morning I knew I had to make them! Starting the brioche today – love your blog!
· Karen · ohboykarencooks.blogspot.com
Dec 29, 2011 · 12:22 PM
@Karen, thank you so much. Hope your cranberry rolls turned out marvelously. Happy baking!
Jun 10, 2012 · 10:21 PM
@cook, if you went ahead and added the flour, it would inhibit the yeast’s development (making the sponge too dry). So the flour acts like a clever “lid” to protect the sponge while it ferments.
Jun 11, 2012 · 11:25 PM
@cook, oh, I see what you mean. The first round of yeast in the sponge ferments/develops in flavor and the second round gives the dough a boost in terms of leavening (or at least, that is how I understand this method to work; I am definitely not a bread expert!).
Jun 12, 2012 · 10:13 AM
Aug 23, 2012 · 8:59 AM
Hi Julie! Do you have a food processor by chance? You can definitely make it in there…. The trouble with doing it by hand is that brioche is so fussy about temperature, it’s hard to get all the butter in by hand without melting it or getting it just too darn warm. But who knows, the hand held may pull through, it’s not a tough dough so it might not be a problem.