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

Dry Mix

12 ounces all purpose flour, sifted
2 ½ tsp yeast
1 tsp kosher salt

Wet mix

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.


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Any questions?

Jan 04, 2011 ·  3:39 PM

I have a question. Why AP flour and not bread flour? I used unbleached ap flour. I am hoping this was ok all I keep in my kitchen besides the bread flour.

Thank You

 · Crash · 

Jan 04, 2011 ·  7:17 PM

Hi Crash,

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 ·  8:27 PM

yes makes sense! I am just about to put my dough in the fridge for the first 6 hours / overnight stage…. and i am excited!!

Thank You

 · Crash · 

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!!

 · Crash · 

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

 · Sorce · 

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 09, 2011 ·  5:15 PM

Thank you, Stella.

Hate to ask another question but how is the dough supposed to look/feel once all of the flour is added? I felt like I had to add more flour and it is still very, very sticky. Any thoughts?

 · Sorce · 

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 08, 2011 ·  5:46 PM

Hi Stella,

I just finished making my “dough” but I’m concerned because it resembles more of a batter at this point. I halved the recipe you provided above, but I re-read it three times and I can’t figure out where I went wrong. Any ideas?


 · Sarah · 

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!


 · Sarah · 

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 13, 2011 · 12:10 PM

Don’t apologize, your recipes are awesome and I love your site! Thanks again!

 · Sarah · 

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

Hey Stella

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

 · Krieksie · 

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 02, 2011 ·  3:53 PM

Thank you! Gonna start with the dough right now.
have a blessed weekend

 · Krieksie · 

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 ·

Dec 29, 2011 · 12:22 PM

@Karen, thank you so much. Hope your cranberry rolls turned out marvelously. Happy baking!


Jun 10, 2012 · 11:16 AM

Just discovered ur blog, been reading most of your recipes, very creative and playfull, quick question…..why separate the yeast into the “sponge” and the “dry”

 · cook · 

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 ·  8:41 PM

ok that makes sence but if you want maximum fermentation shouldnt you add all the yeast in the sponge? please explain, thank you just curious

 · cook · 

Jun 11, 2012 ·  9:37 PM

I understand why not add the flour stella but why not add all the yeast into the sponge if your ultimate goal is to develop fermentation? just keep the flour separate, why separate the yeast into the “sponge” and the “dry” sorry really curious cook here

 · cook · 

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 ·  7:12 AM

oui chef, thank you

 · cook · 

Jun 12, 2012 · 10:13 AM



Aug 23, 2012 ·  1:08 AM

Hi Stella,
This recipe looks awesome and I’m dying to try it, but I don’t actually have a stand mixer, only a handheld one. Any idea on how I could incorporate the flour into the sponge; by hand, maybe?

 · Julie · 

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.


Feb 15, 2017 · 10:05 PM

The overwhelming majority of my baking is for the rest of the world and not myself. I guess this is good as I was informed about 10 years ago I MUST for the sake of my health eat gluten free. Trust me, this is NOT by choice. If it weren’t for the fear of a MUCH greater risk of cancer I’d put up with some of the nausea and getting sick to enjoy the foods I love. But..that “C” word TERRIFIES me. So I listen. You can’t feed someone gluten for 45 years and all of a sudden say change it all and expect it to be an easy transition. It’s been 10 years and its still a constant struggle. I see this recipe for this brioche and just sigh heavily. I use the new creation of flour such as Cup4Cup to “transpose” various recipes (cookies work the best so far) but unfortunately I don’t think the gf baking flour substitute will cut it here. A brioche is a very fussy, exacting dough but boy I wish I could use the substitute. I honestly used to pray for someone to create a cup by cup substitution of a gf mix and be able to get away from having to figure out what combination will work using a combination of probably 20 different gf flours. Eating gf 10 to 12 years ago was a complete total NIGHTMARE, especially in an area like I live. In NY or LA it is most likely a 100 times easier than a small town in western Maryland. No one even knew what the words gluten free meant here 12 years ago. I used to write all the flour companies asking them for something. There wasn’t ONE item in a regular grocery store, now many have aisles full. (that still doesn’t mean 95% taste edible to me though). I will probably be giving this recipe a try to send to family but if you EVER hear of a gf version of this please share it with us. Now if I can just get more eating establishments and a few key food companies such as Campbell’s soups, especially the cooking soups (everyone knows which ones I mean) be made gluten free it will improve quality of life for folks like me by 300% percent. Most people don’t realize EVERY can of Campbell’s soup contains wheat. It’s used as a thickener. If they just moved to cornstarch instead of that “modified food starch” (that’s the wheat), they would have several hundred thousand, at least, be able to buy their products. Do you think they listen, of course not. Do you have any clue what I would do to be able to have a Big Mac? I used to love them. Also Pizza Hut pizza. I know someone who went to New York. There one will find restaurants entirely gluten free. The group sat down and one patron was served pizza AND a beer (yes folks, there is often wheat in beer)and they burst into tears. It’s such an emotional thing to be able to order ANY item on a menu. I learned the hard way “Friendly’s” does not have ONE item in their restaurant for a meal that someone with Celiac can eat. The crazy thing is, if restaurants got off their duffs and created items, they would pull in vast numbers of new patrons. As it stands now, I will NEVER eat at a Friendly’s ever again. It is estimated that 1 out of every 113 people in the US suffers from some sort of gluten intolerance. Many at this point aren’t even aware of it, they just know they don’t feel well during or after eating, digestive disorders, etc. My mother believes looking back I had a gluten intolerance from the day I was born. Even as an infant there were issues. Of course no one ever heard of things like this “back in the olden days”. I look forward to seeing additional recipes I can use for the rest of the world even if I can’t myself. My first love is baking and little gives me more pleasure than discovering a new recipe I want to try such as the Blitz pie dough. That’s on my insanely long “to do” list. Sorry this is so long. Here endth the lesson. Have a great week.

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 · Alejandro ·

Apr 18, 2017 ·  6:31 PM

Hi Stella, thank you for the recipe!

I followed your recipe, the taste was great but the texture was like croissant rather than brioche. I think I made two possible mistakes here (well one was obvious): (1) When I added butter , I added them almost like for 30 mins. When your recipe says “add in the butter one chunk at a time”, does it mean small chunk or half stick? Do you think this took too long time? (2) Overrise the dough in the end – I waited too long time for the final rise. I think this was obvious mistake.

Can you help me to find out my mistake for a next try?

Thank you!

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