I don’t want to keep you waiting much longer. But I simply can’t talk about brioche without mentioning Paris at least once. Although our own personal brioche discovery happened in Italy, brioche originates in France. And traditional brioche looks a little different from the Capri version from our favorite little trattoria. They are typically shaped more like muffins with a round ball of dough on top. That’s the version I attempted to recreate. But as you can see from the pictures, I could use a little lesson in symmetry. Check out Pete Bakes if you want to see what they should have looked like.
Despite the lopsidedness, they were absolutely delicious. We prefer to eat them the savory route with a simple fried or scrambled egg on top. And that oddball of dough—it’s the best part.
As with any recipe, it always helps to read it all the way through before getting started. Make sure to do that with this one. I’ve made it twice so far and both times I forgot that it needs to rise a second time (which is no fun when it turns your breakfast plans into late lunch). But I assure you, it is well worth the wait.
Adapted from Pete Bakes (peterandrewryan.com) and Taste of Home’s Complete Guide to Baking.
Makes one dozen (or 6 if you use a bigger muffin pan like me)
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 packages (1/4 oz each) active dry yeast
1 tsp grated lemon peel
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup butter (11 tablespoons)
1/2 cup milk
4 eggs + 1 extra for the egg wash
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, lemon peel and salt. Heat butter and milk in a small saucepan to 120-130 F (it should bubble, not boil and feel just barely too hot on the back of your hand). Add melted butter and milk mixture to dry ingredients and beat until moistened.
Beat in 4 of the eggs, then add one cup flour and beat until smooth. Gently stir in remaining flour, but do not knead the dough. Place dough into a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place for about an hour.
Punch dough down, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Punch dough down again and turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest another 15 minutes. Cut off 1/6 of the dough and set aside for topping. Divide the remaining dough into 12 (or 6 depending on your muffin pan) equally sized balls and place into greased muffin cups. Divide the 1/6 of the dough into 12 (or 6) smaller balls. Make an indentation in each larger dough ball with your thumb and place the small ball of dough on top. Cover and let rise again in a warm place for about an hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat an egg and brush over the rolls. (Don’t add too much egg wash or it will burn). Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Great tip: Place an oven proof bowl of water in the bottom of the oven. This will keep the brioche nice and moist as it bakes.