This French Brioche Bread doesn’t only sound fancy, be it taste absolutely divine regardless of how your decide to make and use it. Brioche bread for me is like an indulgence type of bread, like Croissant. The sound of its name sounds delicious already, but what actually is Brioche and how does if differ from our beloved soft Dinner Rolls?
What is Brioche?
Brioche is a sweet French pastry bread. It is a yeast dough and uses similar ingredients as most yeast rich dough bread. The likes of flour, egg, butter and milk. It is like the yeast bread version of Croissant.
What Makes a Brioche Different to Most Breads?
The difference lies in the amount of eggs and butter used to make Brioche bread. Rich dough means a dough that uses a lot of fat, like butter and eggs, Brioche bread for me is a super rich dough bread because it uses a of egg and butter, at least the traditional Brioche. Just to give you an idea, an 8 pieces of Burger buns will uses about 5 eggs and 1 cup of butter, that much. Because it uses so much fat, the bread is really tasty and buttery, and it has a deeper yellowish color. I find it great for sandwich bread when making French toast, a sweet pull-apart roll bread, braided bread or something similar to those. Another difference of Brioche with other bread is the length of time to make it. The kneading time is longer since it uses a lot of butter and it takes time for the butter to fully mix with the flour. Normally, I Knead most of my homemade yeast bread for about 8 minutes, this Brioche (or semi Brioche) I had to knead it about 12 – 15 minutes until I get the soft dough texture.
Sandwich bread, dinner rolls or No knead Bread can be made using stand mixer or even without the mixer. For the case of Brioche, it is recommended to use a star mixer to make this bread because of the longer kneading required. Because of the addition of butter, an extended kneading is needed to allow the butter to fully incorporate with the flour. The dough is also sticky and greasy so is going to be a challenge kneading this manually. You can also use a hand mixer sigh the dough hook attachment at least that will make the kneading easier.
Disclaimer Alert: Not an Authentic Brioche, but this is better then store bought burger buns
I will not call this recipe a traditional Brioche because it is not. I used only 1 egg for 1 1/2 cups of flour and instead of 5 tablespoon of butter I cut it down to 2 tablespoon. In the true essence of a Brioche bread, this is not going to qualify but I decided to still call it Brioche Burger Buns, you can call it just Burger Buns or whatever you feel fit. But however we call it, one thing for sure this bread is nothing but amazing! It is soft, it has a fine crumb and it is not bland at all. It is not sweet because I thought since I am using it for burger I had the sweetness tone down.
Tips for a Successful Soft Homemade Bread
- Liquid Temperature – Yeast grows in temperature between 105 – 110F, so its important to have the water that you are using to “proof” it in this range. If you go lower or higher, the yeast might not proof properly. That means the bread will not rise as much, resulting to a flat and tough bread.
- Check Yeast Expiry a Date – you might be wondering how come the bread did not rise when you followed exactly the recipe. Well, first thing first, make sure the yeast is not yet expired. Expired yeast is the common reason for flat and dense bread. If your bread did not expand or rise during the rest period, it is most likely that the yeast is not fresh or the water temperature is too hot or cold.
- Amount of Yeast – Just because you want a tall bread doesn’t mean you have to put as much yeast in the mixture. Sometimes adding too much yeast can cause the bread to collapse during the rest period. Just imagine putting more air than what is needed in a balloon, the balloon will explode. The same case with bread.
- Right Type of Yeast – Make sure to use the right type of yeast for your recipe, and make necessary adjustments if you want to swap one from another. Active dry yeast and instant yeast not a 1:1 ratio. Usually, instant yeast is 25% less than active dry yeast.
- Rest Period – Yeast bread needs time to rise. There are bread that uses less yeast but requires more rest time, the likes of No Knead Bread or Artisan Bread which usually require 8- 16 hours rest period to get the volume and to develop the flavor. The point is, give it time to rest, don’t touch it just leave it in a warm place. The first rest period will normally tell you if your dough is good or not. If it rise and almost double in size, then your on the right track.
- Expiration and Quality of the Flour – The quality of the flour greatly affect the texture of the bread. Flour could differ from country to country although they are all called as all-purpose flour or bread flour. Sometimes it also depends on the brand. The age of the flour is also a factor, the closer the flour to expiration date or if it is already expired, the flour could tend to be drier, which means it would require more liquid than mentioned in the recipe. This is a common issue of way sometimes the dough tend to be tough and dry. This is why sometimes you have to add few more tablespoon of flour or wet ingredients from the suggested flour measurement to get the right texture. The dough should be soft, smooth and elastic. If it is too wet, add a bit more flour until it is no longer to sticky to handle. If it is too dry, a small amount of liquid helps provide moisture to the dough. A clean side of the bowl, with the dough slightly sticking at the bottom, a soft, smooth and elastic dough is what You are aiming for.
How do I Know if I Made the Bread Dough Correctly?
- Activating the Yeast – This is the first thing that you should get right, otherwise do NOT proceed. After 5 – 10 minutes you should see a foam forms on top of the water, this is an indication that the yeast is alive. If you do not get this, either the yeast is old or the liquid temperature is too hot or cold. The temperature should be 110F, lukewarm but not hot. If using instant yeast, you do not have to activate it.
- Clean Bowl After Kneading – The sides of the bowl should be clean, while the bottom is slightly sticking to the dough. This means that amount of liquid to the flour is correct. Enough to make a clean bowl and still make a slightly wet dough.
- Soft Dough – Soft dough means the amount of flour to liquid is enough. Too much flour could make the bread dense and heavy, and too much liquid could make it too wet. Both will affect how the bread rise in the rest period. Try to push your fingers in the dough, it should leave a “dimple” on the dough and should gradually disappear.
- Smooth Dough Surface – Again, this is a sign of correct flour to liquid ratio. A “bumpy” surface could mean that the dough is dry and tough.
- Elastic Dough – A soft dough is usually elastic. If your dough is dry and tough, it wouldn’t be as elastic when you pull it apart.
- First Rest Period – The dough should almost double in size. This is a sign that the activation of the yeast work which is crucial to making a soft and fluffy bread. This also means the yeast is alive (not yet expired) and the liquid temperature is correct. I always use baking thermometer to check the temperature of the liquid. Normally, first rest period is a minimum of 1 hour to maximum of 1 1/2 hours, at this time the dough should double in size already, otherwise your bread is in trouble.
- Second Rest Period – The bread dough should be really puff up. This is crucial and the final state of the bread before baking. If you are able to make it puff-up, that is a good sign that there are air trapped inside which will make the bread fluffy. Some recipe requires only 1 rest period, so your check point is the the 1st period.
Why is My Dough too Wet or too Dry?
Don’t get frustrated if your dough did not turn out immediately as what you see in the photo or video. Most likely It is not because you did not follow the recipe. When it comes to bread making, the amount of flour and liquid is not always 100% precise. This is why often times you will encounter recipes that says, if your dough is dry, add a bit more liquid. If your dough is too wet, add a little bit more flour. This instructions are not meant to confuse you, they are meant to guide you on how to adjust as you work through your dough. The reason for this is that although the measurement of water and flour are specified in the recipe, it still could slightly vary depending on many factors. For instance, all-purpose flour could very from country to country, or even from brand to brand. Don’t be surprise if you find that some brand tends to require a bit more liquid as the others. On top of this, the amount of liquid is also affected by the state of your flour. How old is the flour that you are using? Older flour nearing expiry tends to be drier and this requires more liquid. Humidity also affects baking. The more humid it is, the more likely the dough will be sticky and wet. Bread making requires patience, and practice. Once you learn how to feel the right texture of the dough, everything will be quick and easy. You can instantly tell if you need to add more water or flour to get the dough in right state.
Batch of 5 – 6 pieces
- 1/2 cup warm Full Fat Milk (110F) – microwave 15 seconds (set aside 2 tbsp for mixing with the egg)
- 2 1/2 tablespoon granulated Sugar (Divided: 1/2 teaspoon for the yeast, remaining for the flour)
- 1 1/4 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast or 1 teaspoon Instant Yeast
- 1 large Egg – room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups Bread Flour or All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 2 tablespoon softened unsalted Butter
Batch of 4 pieces
- 4 tablespoon warm Full Fat Milk (110F) – microwave 15 seconds (set aside 2 tbsp for mixing with the egg)
- 2 tablespoon granulated Sugar (Divided: 1/2 teaspoon for the yeast, remaining for the flour)
- 1 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast or 3/4 teaspoon Instant Yeast
- 1 large Egg – room temperature
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoon Bread Flour or All-Purpose Flour (reserve the 2 tablespoon for adding gradually only as needed)
- 1/3 teaspoon Salt
- 1 tablespoon softened unsalted Butter
For the top:
- 1 large Egg, beaten + 1 teaspoon Water
- 2 tablespoons Sesame Seeds (optional)
- Activate the Yeast: Pour 6 tbsp of milk is the mixing bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon sugar and stir. Add active dry yeast, stir and leave for 10 minutes to bloom.
- If using instant yeast, mix the yeast with the dry ingredients. No need to activate it.
- Add Wet Ingredients: Mix the egg and remaining milk together in a glass and pour half of the mixture to the yeast.
- Bread Making Tip: Adding the liquid gradually will help you monitor the consistency of the dough better so you can stop adding more liquid once you notice that the dough it getting too wet already. You may or may not need all the mixture. Your aim is a smooth, soft, elastic dough that is slightly stick at the bottom of the pan
- Add Dry Ingredients: Add the flour, salt and remaining sugar Knead for 8 minutes.
- Gradually add remaining egg and milk mixture, until the dough comes together and is still slightly sticking to the bottom of the bowl. If you notice that the dough is dry, add 1/2 teaspoon of milk at a time and continue kneading at least 3 minutes after every addition of additional milk.
- To Check: The dough should be smooth, soft, elastic and slightly sticking to the bottom of the bowl
- Add the softened butter and knead for another 7 minutes. When you add the butter, you will notice the dough will break apart and it will look like it is too wet. Do not panic, this is expected. Continue mixing (even if longer than 7 minutes) until the dough comes together completely (it will), the side of the bowl is clean and the dough is slightly sticking at the bottom of the bowl. Do not stop mixing until you get to this stage. It takes time to fully incorporate the butter to the flour mixture, be patient.
Let Rest 1st Time: Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning it to coat with oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or warm towel, and then let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled. (Rising time is dependent on the temperature of the room; let rise until the dough is doubled).
Trick: Pre-heat the oven to 110F then turn it OFF. Put the covered dough inside for 1 hour.
6. Shape the Dough: Punch the dough down very well, and gather it into a ball. Divide the dough into 5 portions for large burger buns or 6 for medium burger buns. Roll each dough piece into a ball, and then use your fingers to pinch the edges under until the seam is on the bottom Then, cup your hand over the dough ball on the counter, and make circles on the counter with the dough to roll it into a perfect ball. Flatten each piece into 4-inch disk.
7. Let Rest 2nd Time: Place in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes. They will be puffy when ready, if needed extend until the bread is fully puff-up.
8. Pre-heat the Oven: Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F in the last 10 minutes of 2nd rest time. If you are using the oven to rest the dough, do NOT forget to take the dough out before pre-heating.
9. Brush Top: Mix egg and water. Brush top of each bread with egg wash then sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
10. Bake for 15 minutes, until deeply golden brown. Turn the tray half way though for even baking.
11. Let Cool completely to allow the bread texture to get better
Makes 5 pieces
Enjoy! If you make this, share and tag me in Instagram #SweetNSpicyLiving. I would like to see your creations too.
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