The Wonders of Butter

4 Nov

Braided Brioche

I used to think of brioche as being hard, dry & rather flavorless. Since school, I’ve been making a brioche recipe that is none of those. This bread is very rich & buttery. You’ll see why when you look at the recipe. The dough gets mixed first without the butter, then the butter gets added in 2 stages.


Also, to amp your brioche up to mind-boggling heights, fold some plumped dried fruit (apricots, cherries, currants, cranberries) and/or chopped nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts) and/or chocolate into the dough in the shaping stage.  Try it…


Swirled Petite Brioche



Milk 8 oz (1 C)

Eggs 3

Yeast ¾ oz dry (1 & ½ tsp)

Sugar 2 oz (1/4 C)

A P Flour 1# 8 oz (approx. 4 ½ C)

Salt ¼ oz (1 tsp)

Soft Butter 6 oz. (1 & ½ sticks)


1. Add all the ingredients to the mixer bowl in the order above, except for the soft butter. Mix with the dough hook on speed two for 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth & elastic.

2. Add half the butter to the dough and mix for 3 minutes. The dough will come apart at first and have trouble absorbing the butter, but be patient. Then, once that is incorporated, add the rest of the butter and mix again until smooth.

3. Place the dough into an oiled bowl and loosely cover with plastic. Let that rest until doubled, about 1 to 1-1/2 hours. To check that it is ready, poke the dough with your finger. The dent should stay when the dough has risen enough.

4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and deflate it by pounding the dough down flat. Now divide the dough into loaves by weighing or estimating – this batch will make three 14 oz or two 20 oz pieces. Shape the dough into the form desired – topknot, braid, loaf, etc. Place the loaves on a lined sheet pan and cover loosely with plastic wrap.

5. Let the brioche rest in a slightly warm place until doubled again. This can take from 30 to 60 minutes, depending on room & dough temperature. Meanwhile, begin heating the oven to 350 F. Once the dough is ready, when the dough does not spring back when poked but still seems slightly firm, remove the plastic and brush egg wash (just beaten egg) on the loaves gently.

6. Place the pan in the oven. Check the baking process at 8 – 10 minutes. You may need to rotate the pan to achieve even browning. The brioche is ready when it is golden brown and feels hollow when you knock on the bottom.  Larger loaves will take longer than smaller ones.


Naked Brioche Cinnamon Rolls

And, you can use brioche to make cinnamon rolls.  Roll out the dough into a 1/2″ thick rectangle, smear it with a thin layer of soft butter (ooh,… more butter), then sprinkle it with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.  Roll this up and chop into 1 1/2″ high disks.  Let rise & bake as usual, except use a slightly hotter oven so the dough in the center stays a little doughy.  Prepare a classic cream cheese frosting (soft cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, plus a dash of vanilla & lemon juice) and you are set!



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