This French brioche bread is exactly what you’d expect – it’s super soft, fluffy and oh so buttery!
So, I just shared a French brioche bread recipe with you, but I wasn’t completely happy with it. The French brioche I wanted was soft, fluffy and buttery. I searched high and low for the right recipe and this is it.
When I tried a slice (who am I kidding? I had TWO slices) for breakfast on our last night in Paris, my entire body melted. No kidding. I remember exclaiming to my family that I would be happy this every day.
I tried making French brioche again, and it turned out dense and heavy. Sigh. I was ready to give up but knew I had to try once more. As the US Figure Skating motto says, “Get Up.” No matter how many times we fail and want to quit, we must find the strength to get up.
So here I am again, with the 3rd attempt at making French brioche. I finally figured out my problems. I’ll share those mistakes with you so you don’t take the same missteps as I did.
First, understand that flour is the enemy. As sticky as the dough looks, do not be tempted to add flour. It will be a sticky, sticky mess, but trust me on this. Second, your dough needs to properly rise and double in size. I made the mistake of thinking mine had risen and being content with it. The third time I made this bread, I tricked my dough into rising. I turned my oven to 175 degrees, turned it off, and then put the dough inside to proof. About 30 minutes later, my dough had risen.
The final trick is to refrigerate the dough before braiding and shaping it. Like I said, the dough will be super sticky and impossible to work with. Stick it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Then you can braid it and allow it to rise a final time.
I hope these tips help you out!
French brioche bread
- 1/2 cup + 1/8 cup warm milk about 110 degrees F
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar divided
- 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
- 3 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter softened
- In the large measuring cup, combine the milk, 1/8 cup of the sugar and yeast together until it becomes frothy, about 5-10 minutes.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, mix together the flour, salt and remaining granulated sugar.
- Add the yeast mixture, eggs and vanilla and mix on medium low speed. The dough should slowly come together.
- Add the butter, one Tablespoon at a time, until the dough is smooth and free of lumps.
- Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a greased bowl. Cover and allow it to rise for about 1 hour or until doubled in size. This is super important!
- Divide the dough into 3 equal parts (if the dough is way too sticky to handle at this point, place it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Then take it out and move on to the next step). Take each dough ball and roll it into a long rope. Braid the 3 ropes together and pinch the ends. Place the braided loaf into a greased loaf pan. Cover and allow it to rise once more for about 1 hour or until doubled in size. Again, this is super important that the dough properly rises.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Brush the top of the loaf with a beaten egg and bake in your preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Top with pearl sugar if desired.
- Allow the bread to cool before serving.