This French brioche recipe is from famed pastry chef Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery. It makes two loaves, so feel free to bake both and freeze one for later. Or do what I did – I used half of the brioche to make pain au raisins!
Since we’ve been at home for several weeks now, I’ve had an abundance of time. One thing that I rarely made time for prior to the social isolating is perusing my cookbooks. Occasionally, I’d browse a cookbook if there was something in particular that I wanted to bake. But, I didn’t spend as much time reading the cookbooks previously.
One afternoon, I took out Joanne Chang’s cookbook and started reading. Like reading from Page 1. That’s something I never did before. I read about her story and how she defied her parents and became a pastry chef. After reading about her background, I flipped through the rest of the book to see what recipes I could try next.
Much to my surprise, Joanne’s cookbook contained two recipes that immediately caught my eye. The first was her French brioche recipe. While I’ve made them before, I wanted to try hers. The other was pain au raisins. And even though I’ve made it once before, I wasn’t fully happy with how it turned out.
This brioche recipe makes two loaves. Fear not though. You can bake both of the loaves at once and freeze one or give it to a neighbor or a friend who needs bread. Or, you can turn one of the pieces of dough into something else. I turned mine into the pain au raisins recipe, which I will be sharing soon. Brioche and pain au raisins were two of our favorite things to eat while in Paris.
So how did Joanne’s recipe compare with the others that I’ve made? Well, here are our ratings for the brioche…
Husband’s rating: 4 out of 5
Addie’s rating: 4 out of 5
My rating: 4 out of 5
French brioche from Joanne Chang
- 2 and ¼ cups (315 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 and ¼ cups (340 grams) bread flour
- 3 and ¼ teaspoons (1 and ½ packages) active dry yeast or 1 ounce (28 grams) fresh cake yeast
- ⅓ cup plus 1 Tablespoon (82 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
- ½ cup (120 grams) cold water
- 6 eggs divided
- 1 cup plus 6 Tablespoons (2 and ¾ sticks or 310 grams) unsalted butter room temperature, cut into 10-12 pieces
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix together the all-purpose flour, bread flour, yeast, sugar, salt, water, and 5 of the egg on low speed for about 5 minutes. You will need to stop the mixer occasionally to scrape the sides down so all the dry ingredients get incorporated. Your dough will look pretty dry at this point (that's OK and expected).
- Keep the mixer on low and slowly add in the butter, one pat at a time. Once all the butter has been incorporated, you'll want to stop the mixer occasionally to scrape the dough off the sides of the bowl. Your dough will appear like a big old mess and very shaggy. Trust me though - keep mixing and your dough will eventually turn satiny and smooth. You'll want to mix the dough for about 10-15 minutes for this to happen. Once it turns satiny smooth, turn the mixer to medium high for 1 minute.
- Transfer your dough to a large, well-oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place it in the refrigerator and allow it to rest and rise for at least 6 hours or up to overnight.
- At this point, you can either bake both loaves or use half of it for another recipe (I chose to use half of it for pain au raisins, which you can find on my blog).
- To make both loaves, generously grease two 9"x5" loaf pans and set aside.
- Divide the dough in half and roll one of the halves out into an approximate 9" square. Fold the top third of the dough towards you, and then the remaining third up away from you - like you're folding a letter. Press down on the layers, then flip the dough so it's seam-side down. Place it in your prepared loaf pan and repeat with the other dough. Allow the dough to rise and double, about 4-5 hours.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Whisk the remaining egg with 1 teaspoon of water and brush the tops of the loaves gently with the egg.
- Bake in your preheated oven for 35-45 minutes or until the tops and the sides are golden brown. Remove the pans from the oven and allow to cool in the pans for another 30 minutes. Then remove the bread from the pans completely on a wire rack.