Delicious brioche

Jane Mason
If you are kneading by hand, you can be forgiven for thinking that incorporating THAT MUCH butter into your dough blob will be an impossible task.  Fear not and panic not.  
The butter may melt (even though it's cold and cubed), a doughy lake may form on the table, and the sticky mess may be all over your hands.  It may feel like you are pushing wallpaper paste all over the table.  Be patient…
After a good 10-20 minutes (yes…) the butter will absorb, the dough will re-form and you will have a golden, glossy blob of dough with a pillowy chewing gum feeling to it. If you use a machine, keep it on the lowest speed for the whole time.  It will still take 20 minutes or more to knead the dough.


  • 250 g Plain white wheat flour
  • 1.25 g Instant yeast OR 2.5 g dry yeast OR 5 g fresh yeast
  • 15 g Sugar
  • 75 g Milk heated until just below boiling point and allowed to cool right down to room temperature
  • 2 Eggs
  • 5 g Salt
  • 125 g Unsalted butter (lightly chilled and cut into small cubes)


  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch sugar


Pre Dough

  • Measure the flour into a bowl and make a well. Add the sugar and the yeast and pour over 60 g of the milk. Flick some flour on the milk to close the well and cover it.
  • Leave it for one hour. It will be foamy and bubbling through the top of the well. If it is not, check for signs of life by simply digging through the surface of the flour you have flicked on top of the well.

Main dough

  • Sprinkle the salt around the edge of the flour and add the eggs into the well. Mix everything and then turn it out of the bowl. Knead well for ten minutes (it's dry at this point but stick at it) and then add the butter. Knead for 10 -20 minutes more. DON'T PANIC if a lake of butter forms and it seems hopeless. Just keep kneading and it will come together into a golden stretchy mass. You can also do this in a machine – always on the lowest setting.
  • When the dough really changes in structure and colour, scrape it back into a bowl, cover it and let it rest on the counter it for 4-6 hours until it has tripled in size.

Shaping the Brioche

  • Butter the tin well. You can use a bread tin, a special brioche tin, or a lasagna pan. Take the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. If you are using a brioche tin, divide the dough into a big blob and a small blob, about 80% and 20% of the big ball. Form a big tight ball and a tiny little tight ball. Place the big ball in the mould and then stick the little ball to the top, using some milk or melted butter as glue.
  • If you want to use a regular bread tin, go for it. Grease the tin with butter and gently roll the dough into a little sausage and place it in the tin, or make a longer sausage and place it into the tin in a fancy S shape, or mould 6-8 individual balls and tuck them side-by-side into the tin…whatever you want. Just remember: the dough should only come 1/3 of the way up the sides of the tin. Brioche dough expands to over twice its original volume.
  • Cover the dough and let it rest for one hour or so. If you have chilled the dough, it will take 2-3 hours to rise.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F.
  • Beat together the ingredients for the glaze and brush it on the top of the dough.
  • Pop it in the oven and bake the brioche for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and gently take it out of the tin and transfer it to a wire rack. Let it cool completely before you cut or tear into it.
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