Brioche {BWJ}

Our next Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is Pecan Sticky Buns, which is due to be posted May 15, 2012. The first “ingredient” listed in the recipe is one batch of brioche dough. Since the brioche is a separate recipe and is used as a base for various other recipes in Baking with Julia, I decided it deserved its own post.

Brioche dough is loaded with butter and eggs, so you know whatever you make with it is going to be good. Brioche is known for its richness and fine texture. It can be tricky to work with, and it is definitely best made using a heavy-duty stand mixer.

Now, I’m no stranger to brioche. I made three versions of it during the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge. Bubble-top brioche was one of the first recipes I made from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table (AMFT). And Nick Malgieri has a quick and easy brioche recipe in The Modern Baker, which I used to make a quick brioche braid and marbled chocolate brioche loaf.

The recipe in BWJ was contributed by Nancy Silverton and begins with a sponge. Milk, yeast, one egg, and a bit of flour are mixed just until the flour is blended in.

More flour is sprinkled on top, and the sponge is allowed to rest until the yeast begins working. You know it’s ready when the flour starts to crack.

Once the sponge was ready, I added sugar, salt (not enough, in my opinion; next time I’ll increase the salt by about half), and more eggs and flour. I mixed the dough in my Kitchen Aid mixer with the dough hook for about 15 minutes, until I had a shaggy dough that clung to the dough hook and slapped against the side of the bowl.

The next step called for incorporating lots of butter into the dough. In order to do this, the directions said the butter should be roughly the same texture and consistency as the dough. The recipe recommended beating the butter with a rolling pin or smearing it on the work surface with a dough scraper. I decided to use the smear method, but I found the dough scraper awkward to work with. I had much better luck with an offset spatula.

I incorporated the butter a bit at a time. Thanks to the instructions, I didn’t worry when the dough separated, as I knew with continued mixing it would come back together. Once all the butter had been added, I continued to mix the dough for about 5 more minutes. The dough was soft, sticky, and warm from all the mixing. I put it into a large buttered bowl and set it aside to rise.

After about 2 hours, the dough had doubled in size.

I deflated the dough and put it in the fridge for its second rise.

After an overnight rest in the refrigerator, the dough was ready to be made into sticky buns. Check out the sticky buns post to see how they came out.

As for the brioche dough itself, I would have to say it was my least favorite of all the variations I’ve tried. It was extremely labor intensive, and the final product didn’t have a payoff in line with the amount of work involved. I suspect Dorie wouldn’t be too surprised to hear this. After all, she developed a much easier and more straightforward recipe for brioche for AMFT.


  1. May 15, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    I am going to assume that Dori’s recipe in Around my French Table is the same as in Baking from my home to yours. I agree that is was easier and is the brioche recipe I will use in the future.

  2. May 15, 2012 at 6:15 am

    […] Nancy Silverton’s sticky buns recipe begins with a batch of her brioche dough. I made the dough the day before baking the sticky buns, and because it is a completely separate recipe, I gave it its own blog post. […]

  3. May 15, 2012 at 3:11 am

    […] These were delicious, even without the maximum amount of topping. I’m not sure I’d use this brioche recipe again, though – the one from Around My French Table works so well. There’s a good post on the brioche recipe from Baking With Julia over at Of Cabbages and King Cakes. […]

  4. bevwinchester said,

    May 14, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    Ladies- don’t be afraid of breaking a KA mixer- they are tough as nails! If it gets hot- just turn it off a few minutes & go back with it. IMHO; a kitchen appliance of this expense does not have to be babied.

  5. 18thccuisine said,

    May 13, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    Thank you for posting thise separate recipe and for your tips.

  6. Teresa said,

    May 13, 2012 at 4:15 am

    Nice post. I think I prefer the brioche recipe we used for FFwD, but this one worked out well, too. The sticky buns were delicious – can’t wait to see everyone’s posts on Tuesday. Yours look terrific.

    • gaaarp said,

      May 13, 2012 at 11:44 am

      I think I’ve made and blogged four different recipes, and I’d have to say this was my least favorite. I should link to the other posts.

      • Teresa said,

        May 14, 2012 at 4:21 am

        That’s a great idea – it would make a good resource.

  7. May 10, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    The dough looks amazing. Sounds like a lot of work though. Very yummy!

  8. May 10, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Wonderful post. It looks great. I have not made this yet because I have been afraid of breaking my mixer. But I also have a KA Artisan. Did you have a hard time getting your work bowl off after the mixing? Did it seem to get too hot?

    • gaaarp said,

      May 10, 2012 at 7:06 pm

      I didn’t have any trouble getting the bowl off. That sometimes happens with other recipes, and I just drape a towel over the handle and whack it with a tenderizing hammer.

      The mixer got quite warm, but I wouldn’t say hot. The one issue I did have was the metal ring around the top of the mix head came loose and fell down over the dough hook. I pushed it back on, and it stayed in place.

  9. May 8, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    Left a message…where did it go?


    • gaaarp said,

      May 9, 2012 at 5:16 pm

      Your first message got caught in the spam filter. I restored it. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Kathy said,

    May 8, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Your brioche dough came out fantastic! My pictures look almost just like yours. My dough is in the fridge, I plan on baking them in the morning. I’ll only be using half for the sticky buns…and will be freezing half. See you Tuesday!

    • gaaarp said,

      May 8, 2012 at 9:28 pm

      I can’t wait to hear what you think of the sticky buns.

  11. May 8, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Great post. I’m on the fence about making it due to the fact that I may not have a mixer after making this. IF I take the plunge and use my mixer, I’ll make two recipes from the BWJ book using one recipe of Brioche. I’ll be crossing my fingers as I use the mixer.

    Love those pecans…


    • gaaarp said,

      May 9, 2012 at 5:15 pm

      What kind of mixer do you have? My KA Artisan had no problems with this dough.

  12. Cher said,

    May 8, 2012 at 8:24 am

    I made these over the weekend – they were a real treat. That dough was absolutely lovely. (I still have one log of dough in the freezer that will become a surprise treat on another day).

    • gaaarp said,

      May 8, 2012 at 5:05 pm

      I have a log in the freezer, too! After all the work it took to make the dough and pecan sticky buns, it will be nice to be able to pull it out of the freezer and have fresh sticky buns with almost no effort.

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