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Sourdough Brioche

This incredibly soft and fluffy sourdough brioche loaf comes together with only a few staple ingredients. This is an easy-to-follow recipe for buttery brioche that has naturally been leavened with sourdough starter. Best enjoyed fresh from the oven, this rich sourdough brioche bread makes a delicious breakfast and an excellent base for French toast and other sourdough brioche variations.

Close-up of a sourdough brioche loaf in a white enamel baking tin.
Table of contents

Why you’ll love the recipe

Healthier: Long-fermented grains are easier to digest which makes this version healthier and less glutenous than regular brioche bread. Whether you’re keeping a dry or wet starter, it’s always great to find another recipe for a naturally leavened sourdough bread that boasts extra nutritional value and flavor.

Staple ingredients: You only need a few staple ingredients to make this delicious homemade brioche loaf.

Super versatile: This recipe can be the base of many delicious variations. Think sourdough chocolate brioche, sourdough brioche buns or rolls, sourdough brioche cinnamon scrolls, Easter brioche braid, sourdough burger or hotdog buns, or savory sourdough brioche. The list is endless.

Make a double batch to also try my sourdough French toast and sourdough bread pudding. Both recipes start off with this sourdough brioche loaf.

Ingredients

  • Active sourdough starter – This recipe requires 1 cup (260g) of a 100% hydration sourdough starter which means that it has been fed with equal amounts of water and flour.
  • Flour – All-purpose flour works well for this recipe. You can choose bread flour too.
  • Milk – Use chilled, full-fat milk for this recipe. Lower fat versions work as well but add less richness. Leftover whey has a similar effect and can be used as a substitute for milk.
  • Butter – I use salted butter for this recipe but unsalted butter works well too. Just add a little extra salt.
  • Eggs – Make sure you use chilled eggs as you don’t want the dough to be too soft.
  • Maple syrup – Maple syrup adds extra flavor and rich color to this brioche but you can substitute it with 1/3 cup of granulated white sugar.
  • Vanilla – Vanilla extract adds extra flavor to the buns. You can also use vanilla essence or fresh vanilla beans.
  • Salt – Fine sea salt helps round out the flavors. Table salt works as well.

How to make sourdough brioche in 5 easy steps

  1. Make a levain (preferment). 4-hour rise.
  2. Combine all ingredients. Knead the dough until it passes the window pane test.
  3. Cool the dough for 1 hour in the fridge.
  4. Shape the brioche loaf and let it ferment for 8-10 hours in the loaf tin. Overnight works well.
  5. Glaze the sourdough brioche and bake it.

Tips for fluffy sourdough brioche

  • Make sure your sourdough starter is nice and bubbly. Active starter will float in water.
  • The dough is wet which makes a light and fluffy brioche. Don’t add more flour or it will end up dry.
  • To test if the dough has finished proofing, gently poke the dough with your finger. It should leave an indentation and slowly spring back. If the dough springs back straight away, it needs a little longer. If it doesn’t spring back, you have over-proofed it in which case you can still use the dough but the loaf will be denser.
  • After the first rise, gently shape the brioche loaf before the second rise.
  • Don’t skip the second rise. After working the dough it’ll need time to rise again and relax a little.

What do you eat with brioche?

Brioche is best served warm. Simply slice the sandwich loaf or break off the brioche buns and enjoy it with a generous spread of butter and your favorite jam. Bacon and eggs make a delicious savory as well.

FAQ

How do you store brioche?

You can store brioche in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days. Simply pop a slice in the toaster on a low setting to gently reheat the brioche. Stale brioche makes a delicious French toast.

Can I freeze brioche?

Yes, you can freeze the brioche in a freezer-proof container for up to 3 months. Simply cut the brioche loaf into thick slices and add some parchment paper between them. That way you can easily defrost single serves.

Are challah bread and brioche the same?

No, it’s not. Challah is of Jewish origin and dairy-free while brioche originates from France and is made with milk and butter.

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Recipe

A sourdough brioche loaf that's been cut showing a fluffy inner texture. Dark background.

Sourdough Brioche

Caro Jensen
An easy-to-follow recipe for buttery brioche that has naturally been leavened with sourdough starter.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Resting Time 15 hours
Total Time 15 hours 45 minutes
Course Bread
Cuisine French
Servings 8 servings
Calories 423 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

Levain (Preferment)

  • 30 g active sourdough starter 100% hydration
  • 120 g all-purpose flour
  • 110 g water filtered, lukewarm

Brioche Dough

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt

Glaze

  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 egg yolk

Instructions
 

Make the levain (preferment)

  • In a medium bowl, add the active starter and water. The starter should be floating. Combine the two and slowly add the flour. Mix everything until it just comes together. Set it aside for 4 hours at room temperature or until the levain has doubled in size.
    30 g active sourdough starter, 120 g all-purpose flour, 110 g water

Make the brioche dough

  • In a large bowl, combine the levain with milk, whisked eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla essence.
    1/2 cup milk, 1 tsp vanilla essence, 3 eggs
  • Slowly add the flour and salt and combine everything to a homogenous dough.
    4 cups all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1 tsp salt
  • Cube the butter with a knife and fold it gently into the dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it passes the window pane test.
    1/3 cup butter
  • Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and chill it in the fridge for 1 hour. Don't skip this step as you won't be able to shape the wet dough otherwise.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into 8 equal-sized pieces. Shape the pieces into seamless balls and place them side by side (2×4) into a greased loaf tin. You need to shape them quickly or the dough will get too soft to work with.
  • Cover the tin with a damp tea towel and let it proof on your kitchen bench for 8-10 hours (overnight works well) until they're double in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 356F/180C.
  • Combine the milk and egg yolk and brush the top of the brioche with the glaze. Bake it for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
    1 tbsp milk, 1 egg yolk

Nutrition

Calories: 423kcalCarbohydrates: 68gProtein: 11gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 108mgSodium: 386mgPotassium: 160mgFiber: 2gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 387IUCalcium: 59mgIron: 4mg
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