The one bread that never fails me is brioche. It’s the perfect bread to make bread pudding or french toast because the dough is made with butter and eggs with a hint of honey for sweetness. I always make a double batch, it must be OCD that I can’t make just one loaf. So on this baking day half of the dough was made into a cinnamon streusel loaf and the other half was saved for the best brioche rolls ever. The dough needs to chill in the refrigerator at least overnight so you can make it up ahead and store in the fridge for up to a week or 10 days. For me it’s a much easier process and works with my timetable. So if you want two loaves of Cinnamon Streusel Brioch then double the sugar/cinnamon mix and streusel. Or if you want some brioche rolls, I’ll leave that up to you.
This recipe makes 2 loaves. You’ll need flour, water, yeast, kosher salt, honey, butter and eggs. I mixed everything by hand in a 5 quart ice cream bucket but you can mix it with a stand mixer if you want.
Begin blending in the flour a little at a time until all the flour is incorporated.
Sprinkle the brown sugar mix onto a sheet of parchment paper and roll each strand through it until each is completely covered with the brown sugar cinnamon mix. The melted butter will help it stick and coat the dough.
For this half of the dough I’m preparing the loaf pan with butter and a sprinkle of the brown sugar cinnamon mix. Rub a pat of butter over all sides and corners of the pan. Sprinkle the mix and gently turn the pan to allow the mix to stick to as much of the buttered surface as possible.
Use your flat pastry cutter to help transfer the braided loaf to the pan. I have a warm setting on my stove which will help the dough to rise. I set the loaf on top of the stove covered with a clean kitchen towel. Allow the dough to double in bulk which takes approximately 1 hour or so.
I promised some of the best rolls ever and here’s the story behind them. Joe and I vacationed in Utah earlier this year and had dinner at “The Cowboys Smokehouse Cafe” in the tiny little town of Panguitch. We splurged and got a steak dinner that came with a baked potato and a big bowl of watermelon. Now I was in heaven at that point, but then our cowboy waiter asked if we would like some rolls fresh out of the oven. Well you don’t have to ask me twice! So he comes back with a basket full of rolls with little bowls of soft whipped butter to go on them. The taste was so familiar yet I wasn’t expecting that buttery sweet flavor. At first I didn’t recognize what I was tasting and then it hit me, they were Brioche rolls. And as incredible as they tasted it turns out they weren’t even listed on the menu anywhere. Maybe they just come with the meal, I don’t know, but if I lived there I would eat there often just for the rolls! So to make these rolls, first prepare a pie pan with a pat of butter. Then divide the dough evenly into 8 pieces and shape them into rolls with your hands tucking them in at the bottom. Place the rolls in a warm place and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Allow them to double in bulk approx 30 minutes or so.
Before I set these in the oven I brushed them with some butter, or you can even use the vanilla butter if you wish. The little hint of vanilla tastes incredible. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 – 25 minutes.
They should be golden brown on top and just beginning to pull apart at the seams. So with two brioche choices in front of you, which one will you choose?
Cinnamon Streusel Brioche Bread (inspired by Half Baked Harvest)
Brioche Dough (adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day)
3/4 cups Lukewarm Water
3/4 tablespoons Yeast
3/4 tablespoons Kosher Salt
4 Eggs, beaten
1/4 cup Honey
1 1/2 sticks Unsalted Butter, melted
3 3/4 cups All Purpose Flour
Cinnamon Sugar Mix ** Note: if making 2 loaves, double the mix
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
4 tablespoons Butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
In a small bowl mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together, set aside. Melt butter in the microwave. Whisk in the vanilla.
Cinnamon Streusel Topping ** Note: if making 2 loaves, double the streusel ingredients
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1 tablespoon Butter, cold
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
2 tablespoons Pecans, chopped
Combine all the ingredients into a small mixing bowl. Cut the butter into the mix with a pastry cutter until the butter is no larger than the size of peas.
To make the brioche dough: Mix the water, yeast and salt in a 5 quart lidded food container. Let the yeast begin to foam then add the eggs, melted butter and honey; stir well.
Begin to add the flour a little at a time until all the flour is incorporated. Cover the container with the lid and allow to sit at room temperature for 2 – 3 hours.
When dough has doubled in bulk, place in refrigerator at least 3 hours. Dough may be kept in the refrigerator up to 10 days. The dough will be less sticky when chilled and easier to work with. When ready to use, let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Prepare a work surface with a sprinkle of flour. Begin to knead the dough shaping it into a large mound. Divide the dough in half, using one half for the cinnamon braided bread and half for the brioche rolls. Knead them into 2 smaller mounds.
For the cinnamon braided bread, prepare a loaf pan with a pat of butter, rubbing it along each side and corners of the pan. Sprinkle a couple tablespoons of the brown sugar cinnamon mix into the loaf pan and gently turn it allowing the mix to stick to as much of the buttered surface as possible.
Take one mound and divide into 3 pieces. Flour you hands and begin to roll each piece into a strand or rope tucking in the sides underneath. Make each piece approximately 10 inches long. Take a pastry brush and brush the melted butter over all sides of each strand. Sprinkle the remaining brown sugar mix onto a sheet of parchment paper and roll each strand through it until each is completely covered with the brown sugar cinnamon mix. The melted butter will help it stick and coat the dough.
To make the braid, start at one end and pinch the ends of the strand together. Bring one side over the center and alternate with the other outer piece over the center and continue until you reach the end. Pinch the ends together to seal. Gently lift the braid and set into the prepared loaf pan. Place the loaf in a warm area and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Allow approximately an hour or so to double in bulk.
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle the streusel on top of the braid and set in the oven to bake approximately 45 – 50 minutes. Tent with foil after 20 minutes. Cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before removing loaf.
Brioche Dough (half the recipe)
2 tablespoons Butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla, optional
Use one/half of the brioche dough. Prepare dough as referenced above. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and shape into rolls, turning them in your hands and tucking underneath. Place rolls in a prepared baking dish/pie pan that has been buttered. Place rolls in a warm place to rise. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to double in bulk approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour. When the rolls are ready to go into the oven, brush the melted butter over each roll with a pastry brush. Place in preheated 350 degree oven for 20 – 30 minutes. Rolls should be golden brown on top and appear to pull apart slightly.
Makes 8 rolls