Nothing screams a French breakfast like a classic Brioche on the table. But not just any brioche… If you ask me, it has to be a Classic French Butter Brioche – known in French as “Brioche pur Beurre”. This French bakery staple is a soft bread that is light, pillowy and enriched with lots of butter to create a taste and texture that is uniquely rich.
Unlike other French brioches that can include milk or cream to create an unctuous crumb, this brioche – as its name suggests – is all about the butter.
If you are new to making brioche, this recipe is a great start.
This Classic French Butter Brioche (Brioche pur Beurre) is likely the most popular brioche recipe in France. It is also one of the simplest to make at home, as it requires very basic ingredients: flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and yeast. I have listed below pieces of equipment that are recommended for this recipe (although not compulsory). I also recommend you read my cooking notes, where I share a few tips I’ve learned over the years, to make consistently successful brioche in your own kitchen.
- 5×4.5×2.5-in loaf pan is ideal, although 9×5 works well too.
- Stand mixer, with a hook attachement. A stand mixer will make this brioche recipe feel much easier to make, as you let the hook attachement do most of the mixing and kneading. Although this brioche recipe is 100% doable by hand too – like I do – but be prepared to use some elbow grease.
- Food Scale. Like most French bakers, I only use a food scale to measure out my ingredients; but always include the imperial equivalents (cups/tbsps) for my North American readers. I understand how North Americans are more accustomed to the imperial measuring system, so I am happy to let people choose whichever measurement they are more comfortable with. Just keep in mind that measuring your ingredients by weight (grams) ensures your ingredient amounts are much more accurate, hence your recipes more successful. It’s especially true in baking breads and brioches, which often require very precise measurements (ie. 163g of eggs; 8g of yeast).
- Bowl Scraper – This brioche dough is very buttery, hence very sticky. A bowl scraper is very handy to help “un-stick” the dough from the bowl after rising and in manipulating it.
- This recipe is made over 2 days. The dough is prepared and kneaded the day before. It then rests overnight in the fridge, and is finally shaped and baked the next day. This is an ideal recipe to make during the weekend, as you can start in the afternoon, in order to have a freshly baked brioche for breakfast the next day.
- The instant yeast –Always keep your instant yeast in the freezer (I keep it in a small sealed Tupperware) and use as required for recipes. Make sure you use Quick-Rise / Instant yeast (not active dry), such as Fleischmann’s.
- Be patient – The two dough-rising periods (2 hours at room temperature and overnight in the fridge) are both crucial and can’t be skipped nor rushed. For the first rise, make sure you are letting your dough rise in a draft-free environment and at room temperature. The ideal room temperature for doughs to rise is between 80°F – 90°F (26.5°C – 32.2°C). The second rise is done slowly overnight in the fridge to slow the fermentation and build flavor. Overnight means a range between 8 to 14 hours.
- The butter – This recipe includes cold (chilled) butter. Like for all brioches or French laminated pastries (like croissants), the quality of the butter you use will make a big difference. If you can, opt for a French-quality butter churned to a higher fat content (such as President’s).
- The eggs – Take the eggs out of the fridge 1 hour beforehand; they need to be at room temperature when you include them in the dough. Also, they need to weigh exactly 163g, which is usually equivalent to 3 large eggs. Weigh your three eggs before you start, and if they are over 163g, remove some egg white.
- Baking – Golden rule: Never open the oven door when you bake a brioche or it will fall flat.
I hope you’ll love this Classic French Butter Brioche (Brioche Pur Beurre) as much as I do! Serve this brioche warm or cool, with butter, jams and preserves for breakfast – although brioche is an excellent stand-alone treat too. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.
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- Orange Anise Sugared Easter Brioche (Mouna)
- Classic French Croissant 101 Guide
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½ cups (163g) eggs ( approx. 3 large eggs)
2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
2 tbsp (25g) sugar
1 tsp salt
1 packet (8g) Quick-Rise/ Instant yeast
¾ cups (175g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 egg + 1 tbsp (15ml) milk, for brushing
Make sure you read the cooking notes before you start.
Step 1 - In a large mixing bowl (or bowl of stand mixer with a paddle attachment) , place the eggs (exactly 163g), and top with the flour and sugar. Add the salt on one side of the bowl, and the yeast on the other so they don’t touch (salt can kill/retard the yeast). Mix with a spatula (or hook attachment) for 10 minutes, until all combined into a sticky ball.
Step 2 - Add a quarter of the cold cubed butter and mix until well combined. You can use a bowl scraper to scrape the dough from the sides of the bowl. Make sure you knead until it is well combined and no bits of butter are visible. Continue adding the butter in small amounts kneading well between each addition. Use a scraper once again to unstick the dough from the bowl, and gather it into a rough sticky ball. The dough will seem quite wet and sticky - this is normal. Cover the bowl with a plastic film and let rise in a draft-free environment and at room temperature for 1hr30m-2hr, until the dough has doubled in size.
Step 3 - Transfer the bowl in the fridge and let rise overnight.
The next morning, take the bowl out of the fridge and let it warm up to room temperature for 1 hour. Grease and flour a 8.5x4.5x2.5-in loaf pan; set aside.
Step 4 - Transfer the dough onto a floured working surface. Divide it into 6 equal pieces. Tap some flour on your hands and shape each piece into a little ball. Place the 6 balls into the prepared pan, in 3 rows of 2. Cover the pan with a kitchen cloth and let rise for about 1 hour – the balls should almost double in size and be a bit “jiggly” when shaking the pan.
Pre-heat your oven to 350F (180C) with a rack in the middle.
Step 5 - In a small bowl, whisk together 1 egg with 1 tbsp of milk. Brush the mixture generously onto the shaped brioche dough. Bake for 30 minutes, until the brioche is golden and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Transfer onto a cooling rack and let cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pan.
Did you make this recipe?