Brioche is an enriched French bread with a very soft, tender crumb. Traditionally, it’s made with a good quantity of eggs and butter — but if you don’t eat eggs for any reason, this recipe is definitely for you.
To substitute eggs, I used buttermilk, which makes the loaf turn out extremely soft (and absolutely delicious). And you don’t even need to go out and buy it: To make homemade buttermilk, just combine milk and vinegar, and set it aside for 10 minutes. Your buttermilk is ready.
I hand-kneaded the dough, which took nearly 15 minutes. But if you are using a stand mixer, then you only need to knead it for 6-7 minutes. To get the lovely color, mix a little honey with milk and brush it on top of the dough before placing into the oven.
This is a mildly sweet loaf, which is perfect for toasting or using in bread pudding — or, of course, you can devour it as it is.
Egg-free brioche bread recipe
Yields one 7 1/2 x 3 1/2-inch loaf
Prep time: 20 minutes | Inactive time: 1 hour 45 minutes | Bake time: 45-50 minutes
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
For the milk wash
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 tablespoons honey
- In a bowl, mix together the milk and vinegar and set aside for 10 minutes. It will curdle. Your buttermilk is ready.
- In a larger bowl, mix together the flour, salt, sugar and instant yeast.
- Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk.
- With a spoon, roughly mix the flour to incorporate the liquid. At this stage, the dough may seem a bit dry — but after you add the butter, the consistency will change.
- Now, add the butter and mix until it is incorporated into the dough. The dough will become very sticky.
- Dust two tablespoons of flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter.
- Start kneading. Do not be tempted to add more flour. Keep on kneading for 15 minutes. Use a dough scraper to make kneading easier.
- After kneading, the dough will become soft and elastic, and lose its stickiness. To test whether you’ve kneaded enough, take a small piece of dough and stretch until there is a thin film in the center. It should be sturdy enough not to break, but when you place it before light, it should be translucent. This is the windowpane test: If the dough passes, it is ready for its first proof.
- Oil a clean bowl, place the dough in it and coat the top of the dough with oil. Cover with cling wrap and set aside until it doubles in volume. The time this will take depends upon the temperature of your kitchen — it will take less time if it’s hot, and longer if it’s cooler. If it is very cool in your kitchen, place the dough inside a warm oven with the oven switched off. Do not over-proof the dough; keep checking it.
- Once your dough has doubled in size, transfer dough to counter and press it to release the gas bubbles. Shape it into a 7 by 12-inch rectangle. Roll it tightly into a log, keeping the 7-inch width intact.
- Place the roll seam side down in a buttered loaf tin. Cover it with cling wrap and set aside until it doubles again.
- After 15 minutes, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Meanwhile, mix the honey and milk.
- Apply a coat of this milk to the doubled dough. Place it in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes in the middle rack. The top will start browning fast. After 20 minutes, move the loaf to the lowest rack, cover with aluminum foil and bake for another 30 minutes.
- Remove the brioche from the oven, and allow it to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then, with the help of a spatula, loosen the sides of the loaf in the tin and remove the loaf.
- Let it cool completely on the wire rack. When it’s cool, slice it evenly with a bread knife and enjoy!