Sneak Peek: You can make a fabulous bread machine brioche easier than you ever imagined. Brioche can be tricky with so many eggs and all that butter. Thankfully, a bread maker is your secret weapon.
Yes! You can make classic buttery brioche with a bread maker. I’ve included lots of tips and tricks to help you be successful.
You’ll find instructions for making both brioche burger buns and simple round rolls. Or go for the traditional fluted shape with a little hat. Finally, if you are in a hurry, use the same dough to craft a simple brioche loaf.
What makes brioche special?
Brioche is a finely textured, rich, buttery, and eggy bread. You can pull the bread apart in layers when done right, and the crust will be almost flaky. Some bread machine recipes claim to be brioche, but the gluten is not well-developed, so the texture is more like cake.
Don’t be tempted to cut back on the butter or eggs. That’s what makes brioche unique. Otherwise, you may end up with something more like traditional dinner rolls. Delicious in their own right, but not authentic brioche.
How do I shape brioche
Does brioche have to be fancy with a little hat?
No. It’s the traditional way, but you can make it any way you want.
The French call it brioche à tête (with a hat). I’m guessing this is how they do it in a bakery. But after making many buns with lopsided caps and ugly surfaces, I devised a cheater method. Keep reading for the details.
Give me something easy...
How about little balls lined up in rows inside a pan? Simple! If you’re unsure how to make the balls, check out the video about my easy way to make perfectly round balls.
Looking for brioche burger buns?
Brioche is having a moment as a “burger bun.” One of my favorite recipes for fresh salmon patties suggests a brioche bun. The idea launched me into an obsession with making these buns at home.
Buns are as easy to make as balls. Portion them a little bigger and smash them. More instructions are included below.
Kitchen secrets for making Brioche with a bread machine:
1. Use the DOUGH cycle only.
In general, all my bread-machine recipes use the DOUGH cycle only. I do the shaping by hand, and my conventional oven does the baking. You can read about my philosophy here.
In the same way, I do not recommend making brioche from beginning to end in a bread machine. Instead, let your bread maker do what it does best–mix and knead the dough.
2. Can I substitute for the bread flour?
If you don’t have bread flour, you can substitute unbleached flour. Some recipes call for a mixture, but I think 100% bread flour works best with a bread machine because of the higher protein content.
3. Why you might need to adjust the flour:
Do you measure your flour by weight or with a cup? You can do either for this recipe. Measuring by weight is easier and faster in my book. However, it does not guarantee you are using the perfect amount of flour.
Eggs can vary in size, providing more or less “liquid.” Humidity in the air will also vary. Your measuring (or scales) could be slightly off. Any of these factors can cause you to need more or less flour.
When using a bread machine, open the lid and look at your dough. Check after it has been kneading for 10-12 minutes.
This recipe works and tastes best when you chill the dough for 6-24 hours after the dough cycle. This gives time for flavor to develop and for the butter to harden. Mixing and baking the dough from beginning to end in the machine would make that impossible.
You will learn to judge when your dough needs more flour or liquid. Practice helps. An experienced bread-maker looking over your shoulder is even better. Until then, watch the video to see how your dough should look.
4. Do I have to use bread-machine yeast?
Bread machine yeast or instant yeast (same thing) is more convenient. You can substitute active dry yeast, but be aware that it is slower on the uptake. Add 1/4 teaspoon more than specified in the recipe.
Many people who use active dry yeast like to dissolve it first. According to King Arthur Flour, this step is no longer necessary with modern formulations, but it’s OK to do it if you prefer.
Note: You may have to add some extra flour to make up for the extra liquid used to dissolve the active dry yeast.
5. The Tangzhong trick
The Tangzhong method is a great way to increase the percentage of liquid in a bread recipe without resulting in a runny, sticky mess. The result is a moister bread with a better texture. In addition, the dough is easier to handle. Furthermore, the bread machine blades can engage the dough to knead it more efficiently.
When executing the Tangzhong technique, you will start by heating the milk and flour mixture. Then, using a microwave-safe pyrex dish, put the mixture in your microwave for 20 seconds. Whisk well.
If the milk mixture is not thick like pudding after 20 seconds, put it back into the microwave for another 10-15 seconds. Again, the time will vary according to the wattage of your microwave.
Overcooking the milk and flour mixture may cause it to become a blob, too thick to blend into your dough correctly. So I would throw it out and start over.
Be sure you let this mixture cool before adding it to the bread pan. If it is too warm, your dough mixture may be too sticky or greasy.
6. Adding the butter
This recipe calls for waiting until the dough has been mixed for 14-15 minutes. After that time, lift the lid and drop in pliable butter, one tablespoon at a time. Wait until each piece of butter disappears into the dough before adding more.
7. What is pliable butter?
Pliable butter is the butter you can manipulate. You can tell it’s ready to use when you can make a slight dent in the butter after pressing your finger on it through the paper wrapper. An internal temperature of 65-70˚F is perfect.
When your butter starts to melt, it’s too soft. If you can’t cut it with a table knife, it’s too hard. But, if you can squeeze it between your fingers as Dorie does, it’s good.
“I like to squeeze the butter between my fingers to soften it even more just before I toss it into the bowl.Dorie Greenspan, Around My French Table
8. Removing rolls from the pan:
Getting rolls out of the pan uninjured can be challenging. Try using a spray butter/flour mixture like Baker’s Secret. (I can’t tell you how handy this stuff is if you bake a lot.) Generously spray each cavity if you use a standard muffin pan.
MY TROUBLES WERE OVER when I discovered these individual silicone plastic pans/molds. All was right with my brioche. You don’t have to grease them ahead of time. Nothing sticks to them.
9. Make the dough ahead of time.
Brioche rolls are a bit of trouble because they need a long chill time (6-24 hours). On the plus side, you can make the dough ahead of time. This detail makes them perfect for your Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Sunday dinner menu.
Also, the rising period after forming the rolls is usually 1-3 hours, depending on the ambient temperature. So you will have plenty of time to focus on other last-minute details.
10. Use exam gloves when shaping the dough.
The dough should be well-chilled when you are ready to shape it. Gloves will help protect the dough from getting too soft due to your body heat while handling the dough.
How to mix and knead bread machine brioche:
Near the end of the kneading cycle, all the dough should be in a single mass. The dough should stick to the side but pull away. If there is a lot of dough covering the bottom of the pan, add 1 tablespoon of flour to help it all come together into one piece.
Allow the DOUGH cycle to complete. Then, cover the pan or remove it to another bowl and put it into the refrigerator to chill for 6-24 hours.
ADDENDUM as of 9/10/2021:
Many newer bread machines do not allow you to open the lid and watch the bread as it kneads, presumably for safety reasons. This makes it more difficult to add the butter as described above.
After some experimentation, I have come up with an alternate method of mixing in the butter. You might prefer it over the original method. I do.
Alternate directions for adding the butter.
- Chop the butter into small pieces before starting the recipe. Allow the butter to sit at room temperature as you measure the other ingredients. It should be pliable before adding it to your bread machine pan.
- Add all ingredients to the bread machine in this order: cooled Tangzhong milk mixture, eggs, sugar, salt, flour, yeast and chopped butter.
- After 12-15 minutes, check the dough for consistency. If necessary, add more flour, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough gathers into a ball and the bottom of the pan is fairly clean. Proceed to Step #8 in the instructions.
How to shape brioche burger buns:
How about brioche loaves?
Brioche as a loaf is quick to shape. I’ve tried several ways, but the picture below shows my current favorite. Dividing the dough into four pieces instead of one helps avoid a blow-out on the sides as the bread bakes.
Sliced brioche makes a sophisticated grilled cheese sandwich or French toast. You can also make a scrumptious bread pudding with day-old cubed brioche bread.
How to shape a brioche loaf:
A foolproof way to make the classic brioche à tête:
This is my method for keeping the hats straight.
A delicious breakfast or brunch brioche variation:
***Sugar-Crusted Raisin Brioche
How to make Sugar-Crusted Raisin Brioche:
- Add 3/4 cup of raisins or currants to the dough a couple of minutes before the kneading cycle ends in the bread machine. Some machines will beep when it’s time to add fragile ingredients.
- For rolls that look like those pictured, divide the dough into 24 equally-sized portions after the overnight chill, then roll into balls.
- Place two balls side-by-side into each cup of a muffin pan.
- Next, allow the formed rolls to rise for about 2 hours.
- Finally, glaze and sprinkle rolls with sugar and bake.
Make cinnamon rolls or challah-like shapes if you are more adventurous. Just about anything you can do with a standard sweet-roll recipe, you can do with brioche. The variations are truly endless.
Did you enjoy this recipe? If so, you can help others and me by leaving a 5-star 🤩 rating in the comment section below. No comment is required.
p.s. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can email me privately: Paula at saladinajar.com.
Hope to see you again soon!
Bread Machine Brioche Recipe
- ⅓ cup milk - 82 g
- 1 tablespoon bread flour - 9 g
- 3 large eggs - (room temperature) 150 gr
- 1¼ teaspoon table or sea salt - 7.5g
- 2 tablespoons sugar - 25 g
- 2¾ cups bread flour - 330 g
- 1¼ teaspoons instant yeast - 7 gr
- 12 tablespoons butter - (butter must be squishable, not too soft or too hard) 168 gr
- 1 egg - 50 gr+ 1 tablespoon heavy cream whisked together well. (14 gr)
- BEFORE YOU START: Set out the butter to soften until it is pliable. See the post for a good description of "pliable." The temperature of the butter is crucial. Chopping the butter into smaller pieces will help it warm up quickly.
- Combine 1/3 cup of milk and 1 tablespoon of flour in a microwave-safe container. Whisk until smooth. Microwave this liquid paste mixture for 20 seconds on High.
- Remove and stir. Place back into the microwave for 10-20 seconds or however long it takes to turn the mixture into a thick "gravy" consistency. Let this mixture cool to room temperature. Pour into the bread machine pan.
- Add eggs, sugar, salt, 2-3/4 cups of bread flour, and yeast.
- Select the DOUGH cycle and push start. After 8 minutes, open the lid of your bread machine and observe the kneading action. If the dough is too slack, add additional flour one tablespoon at a time, letting the dough absorb the flour before adding more.
- You want the dough to be thick enough to hold its shape, stick to the sides, then pull away, but not "cleanly." This dough should be stickier than the average bread dough. But it must be firm enough for the bread machine blades to get traction as they knead the dough.
- About 10 minutes into the DOUGH cycle, open the lid again. Begin to add the butter to the dough, one tablespoon at a time. Use your fingers to squish it as you drop the small chunks over the dough. (If the butter is not squishable, the butter will not absorb into the dough correctly.) Let the dough absorb each piece of butter before adding more. The dough should be smooth, shiny, and pulling away from the sides.
- Allow the DOUGH cycle to complete. The dough should be doubled in size. If the ambient temperature is chilly in your kitchen, you may need to allow the dough to rise longer until doubled.
- Gently release the dough from the sides to remove some of the air.
- Cover the bread machine bowl and place it into your refrigerator for 6-24 hours. (You can also transfer the dough to another bowl before placing it into the fridge.) Do not skip this part. If you don’t have time for the chill, you might want to make another kind of bread.
Instructions for shaping burger buns:
- Form dough into 2 logs.
- Cut each log into 5 equally-sized pieces. If you want sliders, cut more pieces. You get to decide. Make more than one size if you want to please everybody.
- Form each portion into a ball and flatten it somewhat with your fingers on the Silpat or parchment-paper-lined baking tray.
- Cover each bun with plastic wrap and smash it. I like to use a transparent glass pie plate so I can see how evenly I’m smashing the bun. Cover with a tea towel and allow to proof.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- After rising to almost double their original size, press each bun gently and evenly with your fingers. Don’t worry. They pop right up once you put them in the oven.
- Paint with the glaze. Turn oven temperature back to 350 degrees F and bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove buns onto a cooling rack. Slice horizontally with a serrated knife to use as buns.
Shaping a classic brioche with a topknot:
- Place dough on a lightly floured board. Lightly knead and mold into a ball. Divide in half. Cut each half into 6 pieces.
- Pull a small amount off each of the 12 balls to make hats. Roll all portions into little balls. The smoother the better and practice helps. Place one large ball in each mold or fill a muffin tin. Place all small balls (future hats) on wax paper, parchment, or a silicone mat on a cookie sheet.
- Cover rolls with a tea towel and allow them to rise in a warm place until almost doubled. This may take 1-2 hours.
- When rolls have almost doubled in size, use a greased thumb or the handle end of a wooden spoon to carefully depress dough in the center (all the way to the bottom.) Don’t worry, it will spring back once it hits the oven. Brush with glaze.
- Place a small ball in the center of the roll and again brush the entire roll with glaze, taking care not to let the glaze pool at the edges between the dough and the mold.
- Place individual molds or muffins pans onto a cookie sheet to keep the bottoms from over-browning.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Then reduce temperature to 375 degrees and bake rolls for about 15 minutes. Loosely cover rolls with foil if tops are getting too dark. Internal temperature should reach 185-190 degrees.
- Allow the rolls to cool for a couple of minutes. Turn out onto a cooling rack.
- Best eaten the same day but also good toasted the next day.
Shaping a brioche loaf:
- Roll out dough into an 11 x 15-inch rectangle with the short side towards you.
- Roll up dough, starting with the short side. Divide into four equal parts.
- Place each roll perpendicular to the long side of a greased 9 x 5 loaf pan. (I use Baker’s Joy.)
- Cover with a tea towel or shower cap. Allow dough to rise until it reaches the top of the pan.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Brush loaf with glaze.
- Set oven temperature back to 350 degrees F. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F. Cover loosely with a piece of aluminum foil if the top starts to get too brown.
- Let the bread cool for about 10 minutes before removing it from the pan to a cooling rack.
- Chop the butter into small pieces before starting. Allow the butter to sit at room temperature as you measure the other ingredients. It should be pliable before adding it to your bread machine pan.
- Add all ingredients to the bread machine in this order: Cooled Tangzhong milk mixture, eggs, sugar, salt, flour, yeast, and chopped butter. . After 12-15 minutes, check the dough for consistency. If necessary, add more flour, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough gathers into a ball and the bottom of the pan is fairly clean.
- Proceed to Step #8 in the instructions.
Variation: Sugar-Crusted Raisin Brioche
- Add 3/4 cup of raisins or currants to the dough a couple of minutes before the end of the dough cycle. Continue with step #7 in the general directions above.
- Divide the dough into 24 equally-sized portions after the overnight chill, then roll into balls.
- Place two balls side-by-side in each cup of a muffin pan.
- Next, allow the formed rolls to rise for about 2 hours.
- Finally, glaze and sprinkle rolls with sugar and bake according to the directions above.
- Instant Yeast