Sweet Swirled Brioche

I posted one of my favorite brioche recipes a few months ago. It makes amazing, rich brioche. But you know what’s even more decadent? Sweet swirled brioche. Brioche itself is already rich and delicious (hello copious amounts of butter!) but adding a swirl of cinnamon or chocolate takes this brioche over the top. Two of my favorite recipes for the sweet swirl I like to add in my brioche are listed for you below as well as a little tutorial on how to shape the brioche dough.

Jump Directly to Sweet Swirled Brioche Recipes

Cinnamon Swirl or Rich Chocolate…Take Your Pick

If you are looking for a decadent filling for an already decadent brioche, take your pick! Both of these swirl options make a delicious loaf of bread. The first time I made these loaves, they were devoured by hungry kiddos before I could turn around and ask what their favorites were. Needless to say, we liked both the chocolate and cinnamon option. Whenever I make brioche I often double the recipe so I can make different kinds of brioche and usually one or both of these swirl flavors makes an appearance on our kitchen counter.

Cinnamony Swirl Goodness

The cinnamon sugar in this cinnamon swirl bread pairs perfectly for a sweet swirl throughout a tender brioche. I like using a Tablespoon of cinnamon here so you can taste it. There’s nothing worse than cinnamon bread without any cinnamon flavor. The little bit of water in the filling helps the cinnamon sugar mixture adhere to the bread and not come spilling out when the dough is cut and twisted. Don’t leave that out.

Rich, Deep Chocolate Flavor

Alternatively, you can make this chocolate fudge swirl to add to your brioche. It bakes beautifully into the bread and gives a deep chocolate flavor. There’s not much better than slicing into a piece of brioche swirled with chocolate fudge. I love this filling because it is not overtly chocolate and doesn’t overpower the brioche, but works together to make a delicious loaf.

Assembly

Sometimes it’s hard for me to choose which swirl to use. At times like that…I make them both! This brioche recipe makes two loaves of bread which is perfect for one cinnamon bread and one chocolate swirl. Assembly is fairly easy, but can sometimes be a bit messy. Roll the brioche dough out as you would dough for cinnamon rolls. Cover the brioche dough with one of the swirl mixtures and roll back up, cinnamon-roll style. Using a knife, cut the dough down the center to the end of the roll. Twist the two sides around each other forming a beautiful (and somewhat messy) swirled loaf. Check below for a step-by-step guide:

Roll out the Cold Brioche Dough Into a Rectangle

Spread the Swirl Mixture on the Dough

Roll the Dough Up: Cinnamon-Roll Style

Use a Sharp Knife; Leave a Small Space to Keep the Dough Connected and Cut the Center of the Log all the Way Through as Pictured

Twist the Two Strands Around Each Other to Form a Swirl Bread

Place in a Parchment-Lined Loaf Pan

Let Brioche Rise and Bake According to Recipe Directions

Showstopper

This loaf is a showstopper. It makes the most delicious french toast, dipped in an egg mixture and fried in butter of course. Swirled brioche is the perfect gift to take to a friend or neighbor as a thank you or a “just thinking about you” treat. I hope you’ll #sharealoaf with a friend, family or neighbor soon. And keep one for you…just saying. It’s so good.

Cinnamon Swirl

Cinnamon Swirl to add to your favorite brioche dough
Prep Time 5 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon water

Instructions
 

  • Mix together the powdered sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and water in a bowl. It will be a little crumbly. Add a spritz of water to the rectangular-shaped dough and pour on the cinnamon sugar filling. Shape as directed in blog post.

Chocolate Fudge Swirl

Chocolate fudge swirl for your favorite brioche dough
Prep Time 5 mins
Course Bread
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3 oz semi-sweet chocolate
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions
 

  • Warm the heavy cream in the microwave or on the stove. Melt the semi-sweet chocolate into the cream and mix to combine. Add the melted butter and mix. Add the flour, vanilla and salt. Stir to combine. Let the mixture cool completely before assembling the brioche.

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Easy Overnight Brioche

Buttery, soft, crispy exterior with a super soft middle, brioche is eating bread that tastes like a croissant…with a lot less work. It is a rich, decadent bread that is perfect for toasting, slathering with jam or eating plain. I was accustomed to picking up a loaf of grocery store brioche to make french toast for my family on special occasions, but with this recipe, those grocery store brioche days are in my past. With just a little planning and the work of a stand mixer, you can have some amazing loaves of bread and will never go back to the grocery store stuff again. Promise!

Use a stand mixer

A little disclaimer: This recipe really needs the use of a stand mixer. Brioche dough is very, very soft and unlike other dough that you may have worked with before. I would not try to hand-knead this dough. It kneads for a very long time as it incorporates all the butter. My hands are also usually warm and warm hands trying to incorporate butter will end in a melty mess. Do yourself a favor and pull out a stand mixer.

Brioche Dough is Unique

The first time I ever mixed up a batch of brioche, I was a bit overconfident. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this dough was definitely different than dough I had worked with in the past. I thought I had ruined the dough because it was so sticky, wet and taking forever to incorporate the butter. I now know that this is the normal process of brioche and the refrigeration process helps to solve all of those issues.

Why Should I Refrigerate Brioche Dough?

After mixing the brioche dough for a long time…at least 5 minutes before adding the butter and then 15-20 minutes as you incorporate all the butter (yes, please use a mixer for this dough!), the dough will turn shiny and be sticky. Transfer the wet dough to a large bowl. You may think, “this can’t be right!” but it is! Cover the dough with plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge overnight (or up to 8 hours). While in the fridge the cold air helps solidify the butter and makes the dough more workable in the morning. The dough should be left in the fridge for 8 hours or up to 2 days. This long refrigeration time not only makes the dough easier to handle and shape but improves the flavor. Win-win!

How to Shape Brioche

Once you pull your dough out of the refrigerator, cut the dough into two loaves and then decide how to shape your bread. Add a little bit of flour (not more than a Tablespoon) to the countertop and place the cold dough on top. Work the flour in a bit and shape it. Some of my favorite shapes for brioche are pictured below:

Alternate balls of bread in a loaf pan

Cut into three pieces, roll into three long strips and braid

Fill with cinnamon sugar (or other filling), roll up cinnamon-roll style, cut and twist

Make 6-8 buns out of one loaf of dough, shape into balls and flatten with hand

I do have a very good brioche burger bun recipe on my blog already, but I often will make burger buns out of whatever brioche dough I am making. In the case of this recipe, instead of shaping another loaf, I shape 6-8 buns out of the dough even if we won’t be using them immediately. If I’m going to take the time to make brioche, I may as well make some extra buns! The buns freeze so well, toast up beautifully and are ready to pull out anytime we decide to throw some burgers on the grill.

Brioche Has a Longer Shelf Life

Due to the high amounts of egg and butter, brioche has a bit of a longer shelf life than traditional bread. After a few days if we have brioche left over, I like to slice the remaining loaf and freeze it. When we want a piece, we will pull a slice out and toast it. We also use leftover brioche to make amazing french toast if the bread has been left out for a few days without being eaten. I usually have to reserve a loaf specifically for french toast because it doesn’t happen very often that we have leftover brioche. 

A Little Planning for a Big Payoff

Brioche takes more of a time investment than a traditional loaf of bread. I don’t find it difficult, just something to plan around. This recipe makes two loaves of bread. If you’re going to take the time, you might as well get two loaves out of it! I will often double this recipe for my Kitchen Aid Mixer (affiliate link, though if you are in the market for one I would make sure and check Costco before purchasing from Amazon: they have great deals!) and make four loaves. This gives me enough dough to shape some of my brioche into burger buns, some into loaves of plain brioche and gives one or two loaves of cinnamon swirl brioche. I always end up sharing a loaf too.

Easy Overnight Brioche

Yield: Two loaves of brioche

Time: 40 minute mix/knead, Overnight refrigeration (8 hours to 2 days), 20 minute shape, 3 hour rise, 45 minute bake

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup milk, warmed
  • 2 Tablespoons instant yeast
  • 6 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 large eggs
  • 5 ½ – 6 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup (20 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1 egg (for egg wash)

Directions:

Day 1 (Evening)

  1. Warm the milk in the microwave (be sure that it is warm – not hot, or it will kill the yeast). 
  2. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the warm milk, instant yeast and sugar. Check to make sure the yeast is activating. It will look a little bubbly and smell yeasty within a minute or two.
  3. Add the salt and eggs. Stir to combine. 
  4. With the dough hook running, begin adding the flour a cup at a time into the mixer. Depending on the size of your eggs, you will need a little more or less flour. The dough should be a little sticky and clear the sides of the mixing bowl. Mix well until all the flour is incorporated. Knead for 5 minutes.
  5. While the mixer is kneading, cut the butter into chunks. 
  6. Add the butter a cube at a time into the mixer, trying to place the butter right near the dough hook in the center of the bowl.
  7. Once all the butter has been added, knead the dough for 15-20 minutes. 
  8. As the dough kneads, the butter will incorporate into the dough and the dough will become glossy and smooth. It will also be sticky and a little wet looking. 
  9. After a long kneading process, transfer the dough to a large bowl (with enough room for the dough to double in size in the fridge). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and stick in the fridge overnight or at least 8 hours to rise. You can leave the dough in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Day 2 (Morning)

  1. When ready to shape your brioche, pull the dough out of the fridge. Lightly flour a hard surface and turn the brioche dough out onto the floured surface.
  2. Cut the dough in half and set one half to the side for the second loaf.
  3. Line two loaf pans (my favorite here, affiliate link) with parchment paper.
  4. Shape the brioche as desired.
  5. Cover the loaves and let rise in a warm place (not hot or the butter in the dough will melt). I like to choose a window or place the dough under a light to rise. Let brioche rise for about 3 hours until puffed up.
  6. Once the brioche has just about doubled in size, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  7. In a small bowl, crack an egg. Add a teaspoon of water and whip together with a fork. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash lightly over the brioche.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees. After 10 minutes, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 30-35 minutes. Check on the brioche in the middle of baking. If it is browning too quickly, cover the tops of the loaves with a piece of foil to prevent further browning.
  9. Allow the loaves to cool before slicing into them. Enjoy!

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Please share this recipe if you enjoyed it! Post a photo and tag me @amybakesbread so I can see your bake 🙂

Brioche Burger Buns

You know those nights. The nights when you get that first whiff of summer…your neighbor’s grill is going and you can taste the watermelon, grilled burgers, hot dogs, chips and ice cold lemonade. I have a feeling we will be grilling a lot this summer with more time spent at home than ever. With all of our summer plans cancelled and replaced with activities that will keep us closer to home we’ll be spending a lot of our evenings grilling in our backyard. This year our afternoons of burgers and lightning bugs, firepits and watermelon is calling for a really good burger bun. Not just any run-of-the-mill, pick it up at Walmart burger bun, but a bun that you would order at a fancy burger joint. A brioche bun that holds itself up to the meat, cheese and all. the. toppings. No soggy buns here!

This bun makes any burger taste good

Brioche Buns usually SPEND the night IN THE REFRIGERATOR BEFORE BEING SHAPED

This burger bun takes 12-24 hours to make. Yes, you read that right. But don’t write it off just yet. Most of that time you won’t be doing anything and the dough will be developing on its own in the refrigerator. It just takes a little bit of planning and a stand mixer to bring these buns from this page to your plate. The extra time spent on these buns is completely worth it.

What makes brioche special?

Brioche is an enriched dough. It is filled with butter, eggs and milk. The combination of these rich ingredients mean that this dough will take more time to develop. The time will create a beautiful dough and a beautiful, sturdy yet light burger bun. It’s this combination of bread that can stand up to a ⅓ pound burger and buttery goodness that really makes these rolls unique. I’ve made a lot of homemade burger buns and these buns are definitely some of the best. 

Let the dough rise in the fridge for six hours or up to 24 hours

The dough begins with a long mix in a mixer. If you don’t have a mixer, I wouldn’t recommend trying this recipe until you can find one. The dough should knead for about 15-20 minutes and then be set in the fridge to rise overnight or throughout the day. You may be tempted to add more flour as you mix up the dough because it looks so soft. Don’t do that! The chilling time in the refrigerator will help solidify the butter and make this dough easier to work with. 

Brioche Burger buns can be made the same day if you start early enough

Sometimes if I wake up early enough in the morning I can make these buns in the morning, set the dough to rest in the fridge throughout the day and then shape them an hour or two before dinner. Once you pull the dough out of the fridge it has transformed and becomes workable. Be careful of your hands being too warm (don’t want to melt any of that butter) and work quickly to shape and then press down the buns to flatten them into a burger shape.

Once my burger buns are baked I like to let them cool completely and then toast my bun for the perfect bite or burger. I will sometimes double this recipe because the extra buns freeze beautifully and I always like to have some on hand for pulled pork sandwiches or a quick grilled cheese. These buns are versatile and absolutely delicious. They would make a perfect accompaniment to the burgers you’ll be grilling this summer. 

These buns hold up so well to pulled pork and coleslaw too…or anything you want to put on them.

Brioche Burger Buns

Yield: 8 burger buns

Time: 25 minute mix, 6-24 hour cold rise, 10 minute shape, 1-2 hour room temperature rise, 15 minute bake

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon yeast instant
  • ⅓ cup slightly warm milk
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature and lightly beaten
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 3 ¼ cups (about 16.5 oz) flour
  • 12 Tablespoons room temperature butter cut into small chunks
  • 1 egg for egg wash

Directions

Making the Dough/Rising

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer (this dough requires a very long knead time, so I do not recommend making this by hand), add the yeast, slightly warm milk and sugar and mix together. Add in the eggs and salt and mix together. Add in the flour a cup at a time until a dough forms. 
  2. Once the dough is formed and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, begin adding the chunks of butter into the center of the bowl and dough with the mixer running. Continue this way until all the butter has been added.
  3. Knead the dough with the dough hook for about 15-20 minutes. I like to set a timer to make sure I’m kneading the dough for the right length of time. This dough is enriched with a lot of eggs and butter which means it will take longer for the gluten to activate and requires a long kneading time. The dough will be very shiny and still look and feel a little sticky, though it should clear the sides of the bowl. There should be no clumps of butter. Everything should be well incorporated. You can check the dough using the windowpane test for a clearer picture if the dough is ready to rise.
  4. Grease a bowl or dough tub with a little oil and transfer the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for the first rise. This rise will take a minimum of 6 hours. You can also leave the dough in the fridge up to 24 hours if this helps your schedule.

Shaping ANd baking

  1. After the first rise, take the dough out of the fridge. Working quickly, turn the dough onto your countertop. Using a bench scraper or knife, cut the dough into 8 equal pieces. If the dough is sticky, add a pinch of flour to each roll. Shape each piece of dough into a ball and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Press down on the tops of the dough balls to flatten them out a little (this helps widen them to give you a better burger shape).
  2. Cover the dough and let rise for 1-2 hours. Because the dough is cold, the buns may take longer to rise. Your burger buns are ready when they have almost doubled in size. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Crack an egg in a small bowl and add a teaspoon of water. Beat the egg and water together. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the buns with egg wash before baking for 15 minutes. 
  4. Allow the buns to cool completely before slicing, toasting and making a delicious burger!

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