Easy Brioche Loaf Recipe (No-Knead)
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
The dough for this easy, no-knead brioche loaf comes together in 5 minutes and requires nothing more than a bowl, whisk, and spatula. Start to finish, it can be made in 4 hours but requires only 25 minutes of active time 🍞🍞🍞
Brioche is a soft-textured, slightly sweet, rich-tasting bread often made with sugar, milk, and heaps of eggs and butter. I recently came across a recipe calling for 6 eggs and 20 tablespoons of butter. The recipe yielded one loaf. One loaf! Two and a half sticks of butter for one loaf!
Even if that brioche is the brioche to end all brioches, I will never make it. I can’t get myself to load dough up with so many enrichments knowing that a lean dough — one made with flour, water, and salt alone — can produce something completely delicious and satisfying.
Moreover, I know that a modest amount of enrichments goes a long way. With challah, for example, the inclusion of two eggs and a little bit of oil and honey yields a light and airy loaf, golden-hued, soft-textured, and rich tasting.
Would using even more eggs, oil, and honey make that challah that much better?
I don’t know — I’ve never tried! But my hunch is no. For me, the law of diminishing returns applies with bread: at a certain point, more eggs, oil, butter, sugar, and milk won’t make a loaf of bread materially better.
The first brioche bread recipe I made came from the original Tartine cookbook. I recently re-read the introduction to that recipe, which notes that “different types of brioche dough are made depending on how they will be used, with the formulas varying primarily in the percentage of butter.” Tartine intentionally makes a less-rich brioche because they use it for bread pudding and bostock, and they “need the crumb structure to hold up” to the rich ingredients they use in these recipes.
And this is perhaps the most compelling reason in my mind to make a “light” brioche: if you view brioche mostly as a vehicle for making exceptional bread pudding, French toast, and the like, it might be wise to save all of those eggs and all of that butter for a recipe in which they’ll really shine.
About this Brioche
Until very recently, I noted in my favorite bread pudding recipe that the brioche recipe I used required 2 days of work. I warned: “Be sure to plan ahead!”
Years after posting that recipe, I have learned that very good brioche can be made simply and quickly. The recipe below comes from my cookbook, Bread Toast Crumbs, though I’ve made some changes:
- I’ve added weights for all of the ingredients because I’ve learned precision is important not only for dry ingredients but also wet.
- I offer a range of water quantities because I think depending on where you are, the amount of water you should use will vary.
- Instead of simply splitting the dough in half with forks and plopping it into the two buttered loaf pans, I now turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, weigh each portion — I like the loaves to be as similarly sized as possible — and shape each into a batard. (Note: If you prefer the “peasant bread method” of never having to deal with a floured work surface or with shaping, you can use that method here.)
But the spirit of the recipe is still the same. This brioche is:
- Light. (For reasons outlined above.)
- No-knead. (There’s just no need 😂😂😂.)
- Fast. (Start to finish it’s ready in about 4 hours, with about 25 minutes of active work. If you wish to do an overnight, fridge rise with the dough, however, you can do that, too.)
- Easy. (Many brioche recipes call for a stand mixer and softened butter, which you work into the dough piece by piece. This one calls for melted butter.)
- Delicious. (This brioche bread is nicely seasoned — subtly sweet, perfectly salted — and is an excellent candidate for bread pudding and French toast, overnight or otherwise.)
How to Make Brioche: A Step-by-Step Guide
Here’s the play by play: Gather your ingredients.
Stir together the dry ingredients. Whisk together the wet.
Combine the two until until you have a sticky dough ball:
Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in volume, roughly two hours.
Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface:
Divide into two equal portions.
Shape into batards.
Transfer to buttered loaf pans and let rise until the dough crowns the rim of the pans. I love these pans for this recipe and others (namely this banana bread.)
Transfer to a 375ºF oven for roughly 45 minutes.
Let cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
This brioche is delicious toasted with butter and jam, but it’s especially good in this brioche bread pudding recipe.
And it freezes beautifully, too. See notes in the recipe below.
5 Secrets to Foolproof Bread Baking
See how easy bread baking can be in my free ecourse!
Easy Brioche Loaf Recipe (No-Knead)
- Total Time: 4 hours
- Yield: 2 loaves
Adapted from my cookbook, Bread Toast Crumbs.
This recipe is very similar to the one in my book, but I’ve added weights for all of the ingredients, and instead of simply dividing the dough and plopping it into bread pans, I now like to turn it out onto a floured work surface, divide it into two even portions (by weight), and shape it before transferring it to the buttered loaf pans.
To create a warm spot for your bread to rise, turn your oven on for one minute, then shut it off. That brief blast of heat will create a cozy place for your bread to rise.
As always: for best results, use a digital scale to weigh the ingredients.
For a half recipe, see the notes below.
Water: This is a very wet dough. If you live in a humid area or you have trouble working with sticky doughs, I would start with 1.75 cups (425 g). Reference the photos above and the video for how sticky/wet the dough should appear.
If using active dry yeast: Sprinkle the yeast over the whisked together wet ingredients (which should be lukewarm to the touch) and let stand for 15 minutes or until it gets foamy; then proceed with the recipe.
To freeze: Let the dough cool completely, then tuck into an airtight bag or vessel and freeze for up to 3 months (or a bit longer).
- 6 cups (768 g) all-purpose or bread flour
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) kosher salt
- 2.5 teaspoons (8 g) instant yeast, see notes above if using active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup (77 g) sugar
- 1.75 –2 cups (425-450 g) lukewarm water, see notes above
- 2 eggs (100 g)
- 1/2 cup (125 g) milk
- 6 tablespoons (80 g) butter, melted
- Whisk together the flour, salt, yeast, and sugar.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, water, and melted butter.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir with a spatula till you have a sticky dough ball.
- Cover bowl and let rise in a warm area (see notes above) for 2 to 3 hours or until doubled. Alternatively, stick bowl in the fridge immediately and let it rise overnight or for 12 to 18 hours.
- Grease two 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pans with butter. Heat your oven to 375ºF.
- There are two ways to proceed after the first rise: 1. You can simply deflate the dough using forks to release the dough from the sides of the bowl and to divide it into two equal portions; then use oiled hands to transfer the dough to your prepared pans. (Dough is very wet and sticky—this is normal.) 2. Or you can cover a work surface with flour. Turn the dough out onto the floured work surface and shape it into a rough ball, using as much flour as necessary—the dough is very wet and sticky. Use a bench scraper to divide the dough into two equal portions. (Depending on how much water you are using, each portion will weigh between 790-805 grams.) Shape each portion into an oblong loaf or batard (see video guidance here) and transfer to prepared loaf pans.
- Let rise until dough begins to crown the rim of your pan. This may take 45 minutes to an hour (or more or less depending on how warm your kitchen is).
- Transfer pans to oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until evenly golden or until an instant-read thermometer registers 205ºF or higher. Turn loaves out onto cooling racks and let cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting.
Half Recipe Quantities:
- 3 cups (384 g) all-purpose or bread flour
- 1.5 teaspoons (7 g) kosher salt
- 1.5 teaspoons (5 g) instant yeast
- 3 tablespoons (38 g) sugar
- 0.75 –1 cups (170-227 g) lukewarm water, see notes above
- 1 egg (50 g)
- 1/4 cup (62 g) milk
- 3 tablespoons (40 g) butter, melted
- Prep Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Category: Bread
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: French
Keywords: easy, no-knead, brioche, light, bread
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
145 Comments on “Easy Brioche Loaf Recipe (No-Knead)”
Great recipe and love that it uses less butter and eggs than traditional brioche. I am a novice bread baker, but this came out great!
Great to hear this, Jill! Thanks so much for writing 🙂 🙂 🙂
This is my new go-to bread recipe! It’s unbelievably easy and the yummiest bread I make while being very versatile. Thank you for such a great recipe!
Great to hear this, Jen! Thanks for writing 🙂 🙂 🙂
Can this recipe be braided?
I think the dough unfortunately is too wet to be braided.
My dough has tons of little lumps in it. I have tried a few different ways to mix it but there are always lumps. Will this effect the final product? I’m gifting the loaves so I can’t cut into them to check if they are ok
They should smooth out as the dough rises. Sorry just seeing this! How did it turn out?
Tried this recipe twice; Loved it for French toast whether it was savory or sweet. My only issue relates to the dough being wetter than the video you posted, I think I added no less than /2 cup of flour so that I can shape the batter. I think I should reduce the water to between 350 to 400g as I used 425gm previously. I want to perfect it as the taste is delicious
Great to hear, Hessah! Yes, definitely start with less water next time around to make your life easier. Start with 350 g… you can always add more if the dough feels too stiff.
Made this bread and it was wonderful. If I wanted to add raisins, at what point would I add them?
Great to hear! Toss them with the flour; then follow the recipe as directed.
This has been my go to brioche bread recipe and it has not failed me yet! I like to substitute 1/3 of the flour for whole wheat and I like to add cinnamon raisins halfway during the rise. A couple stretch and folds to mix it in is all the extra work needed to incorporate the raisins and it gives the bread just a little extra structure. Great raisin bread and even better for french toast!
That all sounds amazing, Kevin! Thanks so much for writing and sharing your notes. Definitely going to try this. Cinnamon-raisin french toast sounds lovely 🙂
Been making this bread weekly for a year. Love it. Could I use whole wheat flour for part of the recipe. If so what measurments would you use?
Great to hear Sherry! I would start by using 1 cup whole wheat flour (128 g) and 5 cups all-purpose or bread flour (640 g). Then, depending on how you like it, use more or less the next time around. My sense is that 2 cups whole wheat flour is maybe the max I would use without too much of the texture being sacrificed. Keep me posted if you experiment! Good luck 🙂
I want to try this for French Toast for Father’s Day this Sunday. Would you recommend baking it a day before as I have heard day old bread is better for french toast? Thank you!
Hi Carrie! Definitely! You can even bake it tomorrow (Friday). Slightly stale bread makes excellent French toast.
This brioche is beautiful, delicious, and so easy! After mixing the dough I chose to let it rise in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, it was very easy to handle, and while it took longer to crown the loaf pans, the resulting bread was fabulous. This, along with your overnight focaccia, will be on steady rotation in my kitchen. Thanks for making me feel like an accomplished bread baker!
So wonderful to read all of this, Nenette! Thanks so much for writing and sharing your notes — so helpful for others wanting to use the fridge for rising. Happy baking!
I’ve made this multiple times now because it is easy to follow and has the perfect taste and texture, I make it with dairy free butter and dairy free milk, it’s the only bread recipe I’ll be making, 10/10
Great to hear, Nazifa! Thanks so much for writing and sharing your notes. So helpful for others wanting to make it dairy free.
Greetings, I love this recipe and all of yours. I have the cookbook. I was wondering if I could divide the dough into balls and place them in a round baking pan and make pull apart rolls? Would I use the same temperature and bake for how long? It seems they would be a bit like biscuits. It’s the holidays again and my neighbors are eagerly waiting their bread supply from me. I thought I could change it up a bit this year.
Hi Johanna! Yes, see this post and the recipe at the end of the post: https://alexandracooks.com/2020/12/23/christmas-menu-2020-cinnamon-buns-ham-mustard-sauce-glogg-more/#bread
!SOS! Question mid rise- I realize this may not get an answer in time….
Started recipe for overnight rise, followed your directions exactly. I am familiar with sticky doughs but this one never formed anything close to a ‘ball’. Kept adding flour until that consistency was achieved. Probably around at least 1.5 cups – Used full amount of water, we live in a very arid climate.
Fingers crossed this will still work. This is intended for the stuffing recipe for turkey.
Any thoughts or suggestions?
Hi Loretta! I would just push on. It should be fine. The dough will definitely thicken as it rises and as the flour continues to absorb the water.
At the end of the recipe is tha the half version, please adv
Yes! Just added a heading there to denote the half recipe… sorry for the confusion there.
Can I make this recipe with 4×8 bread pan?
You can, but just be sure to not fill it higher than 3/4 full or it won’t bake properly. You can bake off extra dough in smaller vessels.
I’m trying to make this bread today and I’m having an exceptionally hard time making the batards. Did you wet you hands with water or oil, or dust the with flour? I’ve made your focaccia a plethora of times it is the one dish everyone requests at family parties, and I actually have 2 focaccia doughs in the fridge as I type in preparation for making Sicilian pizza this weekend. In short love your recipes and I am looking forward to trying more in the very near future!
Hi Sean! Sorry to hear about the trouble… I used flour to dust my hands and work surface. How did they turn out? It’s so nice to read about the focacccia and yay for the Sicilian pizza in your future. Hope it all turns out well. Thanks for writing!
I’ve been making your brioche buns regularly, and I love that bread, and I really like how you suggest to melt the butter in the milk and then combine it with the cold water. That really works for me and I would use that method here too. Are the two recipes really that different? I’ll have to check.
Hi Ginette! It’s basically the same recipe. Proportionally, this one has a little bit more sugar, but otherwise the recipe/method is the same. So glad you like the brioche bun recipe 🙂
I made this brioche bread. I put it in the refrigerator over night. The dough was too thin, when it was rising it spilled over the tops of the pans! And I used a 9×5 loaf pans. It was flat on the top and one broke apart while trying to pop it out of the pan! I have your cookbook and have made bread for years. I followed the recipe, weighing the ingredients. I don’t know what happened. Watching your video, your dough was MUCH stiffer than mine. Suggestions?
Hi! Bummer to hear this! It sounds as though one of the measurements must have been off. I don’t know how else to advise if you weighed everything but if the dough looked completely different than in the video? Again, I’m sorry to hear this. Did you make any other changes? Type of flour? Do you think it’s possible you added more liquid than what was called for?
I LOVE your bread recipes. I made the brioche tonight but took it out about 17 min early. It was getting so dark I worried I was over cooking! Probably my fault but can’t wait to try it.
Can cooking time vary much?
Thanks for GREAT recipes!!!
Thank you, Anne 🙂 I think ovens do vary pretty dramatically, and it’s possible yours runs a little hot. Next time you could bake the loaf at 350ºF. Hope it turned out OK!
Is the oven temperature and time the same if I just make half the recipe?
Tha k you for your lovely recipe. I just made the half recipe for the first time. It is scrumptious. Perfect outcome. I am so happy. ❤️
So nice to read this Wandee! Thanks for writing 🙂 🙂 🙂
Hi Ali, I love your recipes! Could I bake this in a traditional brioche pan? I have one that is 8 inches across the top and holds 6 cups. If so, how would I adjust the baking time?
Hi Susan! I don’t see why not. Can you clarify further: is the brioche pan you are using a loaf pan? Do you have two of them or just one?
I have one, it is the round fluted type. I was thinking I would use the half recipe.
That should work great for half the recipe! Go for it 🙂
Hi Alexandra. I love all of your recipes and I can’t wait to try out this delicious-looking bread. I would like to make one large loaf rather than dividing the dough in half and placing it in small loaf tins. What size loaf pan would accommodate the large batch of dough? Thanks for your help!
Hi Angela! You’ll need something very large… I’d say at least 15 inches long. Do you have a pan that size?
Hi Alexandra. Sorry for the delay … I finally got around to making this bread. I do have a 15” Pullman loaf pan and I put the entire batch of dough in it. I baked it at 375 for 20 minutes longer than the 45 minutes you give for the smaller loaves. It turned out amazing!!! Tender crumb and subtly sweetened. Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe I will use over and over again!!
Yay! So great to hear this. Thanks so much for taking the time to report back 🙂
I already formed the dough when I realized I forgot to add sugar. Is there any to troubleshoot this?
I would just continue on with the recipe… it will still be delicious, just less sweet.
I kneaded the sugar into the bread dough before the first proofing and it doubled in size as expected. The resulting loaf baked up beautifully too. Thank you for this recipe!!!
Amazing! Great to hear, Ann. Thanks for reporting back 🙂
Hi, can I put raisins or other mix-ins in this brioche dough? Will I have to adjust the measurements of the other ingredients to accommodate the mix-ins? Thanks!
Yes you can! No need to make adjustments.
The bread came out great and is delicious! it has great texture and flavor. Will make it again for sure!
Great to hear, Robyn! Thanks so much for writing 🙂 🙂 🙂