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What is brioche?

Brioche buns

Brioche is a type of bread that comes up often in recipes, particularly recipes for bread pudding and french toast where you might want to add some extra richness to the finished product. But what sets brioche apart from, say, regular sandwich bread? Brioche is an enriched French bread, meaning that the dough contains a high proportion of fat it in. Adding ingredients like milk and oil will enrich a dough. In the case of brioche, the dough is enriched with lots of butter and egg yolks. This gives the bread a very fine, very soft crumb and an almost flaky texture, in addition to turning the crust a dark golden color after baking.

Brioche is often used in sweet dishes, leading to the perception that the bread is sweet. Actually, the bread does not usually contain much sugar at all; it is featured in sweet dishes because of its rich texture and buttery flavor. Brioche does just as well in savory applications, where its butteriness can really shine.

When you are making brioche dough yourself, it is easiest to use a stand mixer because it takes quite a long time to incorporate all of the butter into the dough, and the dough can be fairly difficult to handle while you’re working with it. Fortunately, once the initial dough is made and has risen, the brioche is easy to work with and bake. Then you can either enjoy the loaf as it is or use it in some of your other creations.

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  • Cat @ ButteryBakery
    July 13, 2010

    I just love the velvety crumb of brioche, so addictive!

  • Paula
    July 13, 2010

    love brioche!

  • Heather Peskin
    July 13, 2010

    I am really enjoying your “What is ..” series. It’s a great idea and very helpful.

  • brilynn
    July 13, 2010

    Although your description was much more accurate about what brioche actually is, when I read the title of your post my immediate reaction was “It’s delicious!”

  • Linda
    July 15, 2010

    Brioche is definitely the creme de la creme of bread. Challah is a close second. I love working with the dough and the wonderful flavor and aroma of it. Makes me want to bake some now!

  • Hambone
    January 23, 2014

    I never thought of using a stand mixer for brioche, so I tried it but it didn’t come out as good for some reason. I usually melt the butter and mix all the wet ingredients and all the dry ingredients then combine them. I’ve always just let it rise for a couple hours, then put it in the fridge for a day, taken it out and rolled it into a few balls and put it in the pan and let it rise again for a few hours then baked it. To be honest I hardly even knead it. lol.

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