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Makes 1 dozen.
By Dennis W. Viau; modified from by a recipe from Julia Child’s French Chef TV show.

Brioche is a delicate and buttery french yeast bread. Brioche are typically baked in fluted molds, but the dough can be baked in loaf pans, shaped into round loaves, or even shaped into a ring and baked. Brioche à tête refers to the rolls or loaves with a head on top.


1 packet (2¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
3 tablespoons water or milk; heated to 110°F (43°C)
½ tablespoon sugar
3 large eggs (2 ounces/55g each); room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sifted flour (9 ounces/255g)
6 ounces (170g) cold butter (1½ sticks)
1 egg


Dissolve the yeast in the warm water with the sugar. If the eggs are cold place them in a bowl with warm tap water for 5 to 10 minutes. Knead the butter until soft, but do not warm. Beat the eggs to mix well.

Combine the dissolved yeast, eggs, salt, and flour in a large bowl and mix to combine. The dough will be wet and sticky. Place the dough on a clean surface and knead until smooth. It will be very sticky. Working a little at a time, combine pieces of the kneaded butter with the dough and knead until thoroughly combined. Continue until all the butter is used. The dough will be very soft and sticky. If the dough becomes oily, place in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to chill.

Here’s a trick: To cool the counter top, place plenty of ice cubes in a ziplock bag and let sit on the counter for half an hour. Knead the dough on the cooled surface to help prevent the butter from becoming oily.

Place the dough in a bowl, cover, and let rise in the refrigerator 4 to 5 hours. The rising will be very slow because the dough will be cold, but the dough needs to become solid to shape in the next step.

Divide the risen dough into quarters. Remove one quarter and return the remaining dough to the refrigerator. Shape the quarter section into a short log, divide into three equal portions, and shape each piece into a brioche à tête as follow: Using the side of your hand like a saw, roll the dough near one end to almost separate a small portion. Then turn the roll on end, grasping the smaller section with your fingers. Push down with your hand into the larger piece of dough, pushing all the way down to the bottom. Spread your fingers a little, letting the smaller piece drop into the bottom section. Place in a brioche mold or the cup of a cupcake pan. Continue with all the remaining dough.

Cover and let rise about an hour (at room temperature). Mix an egg with 1 or 2 teaspoons of water to make an egg wash. Brush each brioche with egg wash.

Bake at 400°F (200°C) for 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool. Serve the same day. Brioche can be frozen and heated later.