Brioche comes in several forms, but the coolest shape has to the brioche à tête. This classic french brioche dough is shaped into balls and baked in a fluted tin. The final shape is a rounded dome with a smaller domed head (tête) on top.
I know it may look intimidating, but really the steps for making the dough are the same for any brioche. All that has changed is the placement of brioche dough balls and the shape of the baking pan.
The key is to be patient, follow all the steps and give yourself two days to make your brioche. I’ve baked it once with an American unsalted butter and once with a European unsalted butter. There is more moisture with the heavy fat European butter, requiring a little more flour when kneading in the mixer. But, don’t worry the end result texture comes out the same.
Tips for Brioche à Tête
- Use a classic brioche fluted pan.
- Weigh and sift your flours.
- Depending on what butter you brand of butter you use, the dough may be more wet or dry. So adjust for a tacky dough that pulls away from the edges of the bowl and without being dry.
- Make your dough the night before and let it have a long 8-10 hr cold rest in the fridge to amplify flavor.
- Bake brioche on the lower third rack.
- If the brioche is getting too dark in the oven, loosely cover with aluminum foil halfway through baking.
- Store cooled baked brioche in a paper bag at room temperature.
- Slice your brioche to make french toast.
BRIOCHE À TÊTE
- 2 tsp Active Dry Yeast
- 1 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
- 4 Tbsp Warm Whole Milk
- 2 Cups (250 grams) Bread Flour
- 1 Cup (125 grams) All Purpose Flour
- 2 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
- 1 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
- 200 Grams Unsalted Butter softened
- 4 Large Eggs room temperature
- 1 Large Egg lightly beaten with a fork
Make the Dough
- In a medium bowl whisk together bread flour, 2 Tbsp of sugar, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of stand mixer, combine warm milk and yeast. (Milk should be 100-110F | 37-43 C) Let sit 10 minutes until frothy.
- Once the yeast mixture is ready, add the room temperature eggs.
- Using a dough hook, start to mix on medium speed.
- Take a spatula and gently scraping bottom of bowl once to incorporate all the ingredients.
- After eggs are mixed in, slowly spoon in the flour mixture on medium speed.
- Turn the speed to medium high and let it beat the mixture until a ‘dryish’ ball forms.
- Keep you mixer going while you drop hunks of butter into the bowl. (About a Tbsp at a time.)
- Make sure each piece of butter is incorporated before adding the next.
- The dough should be sticking to the hook and as it twirls grabbing the butter.
- Once all the butter is incorporated, the dough should be pulling away from the edges. (If you find it to be too wet and sticking all over the sides of the bowl, simply add 1 Tbsp of bread flour.)
- The dough will be lightly sticky. Pull the dough from the hook and scrape off the bowl. Place your dough in a lightly floured large bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap.
Proving the Dough and Assembling
- The first proof should be in a warm draft free location for up to 2 hrs. It may take a bit longer depending on location. The dough should double in size.
- With a floured fist, slowly press down the dough to release the air.
- Cover bowl and place in the fridge overnight (8 -10 hrs).
- Remove dough from fridge the next morning, and scrape out of bowl onto a lightly floured surface.
- The dough should be firmer and heavy due to the all the cold butter.
- Weigh your dough and evenly divide into 6 pieces.
- Prepare your loaf pan with a light coating of non-stick spray or paint a thin coating of melted butter with a pastry brush.
- To roll your dough balls place them on an un-floured surface to create a grip. Take one piece and cup your hand over top. Use light pressure, then vigorously roll in a small circle.
- You should be able to roll a nice smooth ball.
- Repeat with all the dough pieces.
- Arrange balls into the fluted pan by placing a single ball directly into the center. Apply a thin coating of egg wash.
- Then place the next 4 balls in a square shape, where the corners meet the top edge of the bottom center ball. These 4 balls should fall agains the inner sides of the tin, leaving a small gap in the center. Paint all 4 balls with a thin layer of egg wash.
- Place the final dough ball in the center of the 4 dough balls. It will sink slightly between them but not drop all the way down. Remember we want this ball to be the top hat. Add a thin layer of egg wash to the top ball.
- For the final proof, set your loaf pan in a warm draft free location. I usually place mine in the oven on a low rack with the light on. (oven turned off!)
- Keep an eye on your loaf to make sure it doesn’t over prove! The dough balls should double in size, but not spill over the edges of the pan. (1-2 hrs)
- Preheat Oven to 400F (204 C).
- Apply a final thin coat of egg wash before baking.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 F (176 C) an continue to bake for an additional 35-40 minutes.
- Bake until golden brown and internal temperature has reached 190 F (87 C).
- Place brioche in tin on cooling rack for 15-20 minutes before inverting and gently removing from tin.