Brioche (/ˈbriːoʊʃ, -ɒʃ/; French: [bʁi.ɔʃ]) is a pastry
of French origin that is similar to a highly enriched bread, and whose
high egg and butter content (400 grams for each kilogram of flour)
give it a rich and tender crumb. Chef
Joel Robuchon describes it as
"light and slightly puffy, more or less fine, according to the
proportion of butter and eggs." It has a dark, golden, and flaky
crust, frequently accentuated by an egg wash applied after proofing.
Brioche is considered a Viennoiserie, in that it is made in the same
basic way as bread, but has the richer aspect of a pastry because of
the extra addition of eggs, butter, liquid (milk, water, cream, and,
sometimes, brandy) and occasionally a bit of sugar. Brioche, along
with pain au lait and pain aux raisins—which are commonly eaten at
breakfast or as a snack—form a leavened subgroup of Viennoiserie.
Brioche is often cooked with fruit or chocolate chips and served on
its own, or as the basis of a dessert with many local variations in
added ingredients, fillings or toppings.
6 See also
Brioche has numerous uses in cuisine and can take on various forms,
served plain, or as containers for coulibiac, fillet of beef en
croute, foie gras, sausage, cervelat lyonnais, and other appetizers or
Brioche à tête or parisienne is perhaps the
most classically recognized form: it is formed and baked in a fluted
round, flared tin; a large ball of dough is placed on the bottom and
topped with a smaller ball of dough to form the head (tête).
Brioche Nanterre is a loaf of brioche made in a standard loaf pan.
Instead of shaping two pieces of dough and baking them together, two
rows of small pieces of dough are placed in the pan. Loaves are then
proofed (allowed to rise) in the pan, fusing the pieces together.
During the baking process the balls of dough rise further and form an
Brioche des Rois (served around Epiphany, esp. in Provence)
Brioche can also be made in a pan without being rolled into balls to
make an ordinary loaf.
Brioche dough contains flour, eggs, butter, liquid (milk, water,
cream, and sometimes brandy), leavening (yeast or sourdough), salt,
and sometimes sugar. Common recipes have a flour to butter ratio of
The normal method is to make the dough, let it rise to double its
volume at room temperature and then punch it down and let it rise
again in the refrigerator for varying periods (according to the
recipe), retarding the dough to develop the flavor. Refrigeration
also stiffens the dough, which still rises, albeit slowly, making it
easier to form. The dough is then shaped, placed in containers for the
final proofing, and generally brushed on top with an egg wash before
being baked at 230 °C (446 °F) until the crust browns and
the interior reaches at least 90 °C (194 °F). The first
rise time for small rolls is 1 to 1½ hours, for larger brioche the
time is lengthened until the loaves double.
Still life with brioche, Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, 1763
The first recorded use of the word in French dates from 1404. It is
attested in 1611 in Cotgrave's A Dictionarie of the French and English
Tongues, where it is described as "a rowle, or bunne, of spiced bread"
and its origin given as Norman. A similar type of bread, called
tsoureki (τσουρέκι), is also traditionally baked in Greece for
the Easter weekend.
France it developed as "a sort of bread improved since antiquity by
generations of bakers, then of pastry-makers ... with some butter,
some eggs, sugar coming later ... it developed from the blessed bread
[pain bénit] of the church which gradually became of better quality,
more and more costly, less and less bread; until becoming savoury
brioche". In the 17th century "pâté à tarte briochée", "a pain
à brioche pauvre [poor] ... [using only] 3 eggs and 250 grams of
butter for 1 kilogram of flour" was introduced. The terms "pain
bénit" and "brioche" were sometimes used together or virtually
interchangeably; so, for example, in another 17th-century recipe
entitled: "CHAPITRE II. Paint bénit, & brioches." It begins with
a lighter, cheaper version of blessed bread, calling for "a pound of
fresh butter and a soft cheese [but no eggs!] for a pail of flour";
and goes on to describe "the more delicate that we call Cousin", which
uses 3 pounds of butter, 2 cheeses, and a royal pint of eggs for the
same amount of flour, as well as "some good milk" if "the dough is too
firm". However, sourdough and brewer's yeast preparations would
both remain common well into the next century, with "blessed bread ...
more and more often replaced by brioche" in the 18th century, where
"Those from Gisors and Gournay, great butter markets, were the most
For the wealthy "from the time of Louis XIV onwards ... Butter, in
widespread use at least in the northern half of France, was the secret
of making brioches". "In Gisors, on market days, they produce up
to 250 or 300 kg of brioches. The dough is made the evening
before (1 kg of farine, a quarter of which for the starter,
10 g of yeast, 7 or 8 eggs; one mixes this together with the
starter and 800 g of butter, breaking up the dough, which 'uses
up the butter'). The dough is kept in a terrine, and one puts it in a
mold just at the moment of baking. Thus prepared, the brioche remains
light, keeps well, maintains the flavour of butter, without the stench
of the starter."
Brioche of varying degrees of richness from the
rich man's with a flour to butter ratio of 3:2 to the cheaper pain
brioché with a ratio of 4:1 existed at the same time.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, in his autobiography Confessions (published
posthumously in 1782, but completed in 1769), relates that "a great
princess" is said to have advised, with regard to peasants who had no
bread, "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche", commonly translated
inaccurately as "Let them eat cake". This saying is commonly
mis-attributed to Queen Marie-Antoinette, wife of Louis XVI. In
the contemporaneous "Encyclopédie" it says: "the taste for luxury and
onerous magnificence of much of the world, having slipped into
religious practice, the usage was introduced in large cities of giving
in place of bread, some more or less delicate cake ... one would not
believe what it costs the nation every year for this article alone. We
know that there are more than 40,000 parishes in the kingdom where
they distribute blessed bread."
Although there has been much debate about the etymology of the word
and, thus, the recipe's origins, it is now widely accepted that it is
derived from the Old French verb "brier", "a Norman dialectical form
of broyer, to work the dough with a broye or brie (a sort of wooden
roller for kneading); the suffix -oche is a generic deverbal
Pain brié is a Norman bread whose dense dough was
formerly worked with this instrument." The root—bhreg—is of
La brioche aux fruits confits or gâteau des rois
Brioche de Nanterre
Brioche tressée de Metz, Metz
Gâteau de Saint-Genix, Saint-Genix-sur-Guiers
Chinois or "snail pie", Alsace
Tarte Tropézienne, with custard
A gâteau des Rois
15 kg brioche in
Brioche Dance, vendéenne tradition
Brioche tressée de Metz
Brioche Saint Genix
List of French bread
List of French dishes
Media related to
Brioche at Wikimedia Commons
Fr:Livre de cuisine/
Brioche at Wikibooks
The dictionary definition of brioche at Wiktionary
^ a b Robuchon, Joel, ed. (2007). Le Grand Larousse Gastronomique.
Paris: Larousse. p. 134. ISBN 978-2-03-582360-1.
^ Glenn Rinsky, Laura Halpin Rinsky, The
Pastry Chef's Companion: A
Comprehensive Resource Guide for the Baking and
2008, p. 39
^ Baking with Julia by Julia Child, 1996, p. 26; The Oxford Companion
to Food by Alan Davidson, 2006, p. 100; The Taste of
Bread by Raymond
Calvel, 2001; The Joy of Cooking by Rombauer and Becker, 1997, p. 741;
On Food and Cooking:the science and lore of the kitchen by Harold
Mcgee, 2004, p. 538
^ "Brioche". Le Trésor de la Langue Française informatisé. Analyse
et Traitement Informatique de la Langue Française. Retrieved 19 June
^ "Cotgrave's 1611 French/English Dictionary". pbm.com. Retrieved 19
Tsoureki - Greek Easter bread". Retrieved 4 December 2011.
^ La très belle et Très exquisse histoire des gateaux et des
friandises by Toussaint-Samat, Paris: Flammarion, 2004, pp. 189–192
^ Grande Histoire de la Patisserie-Confiserie française by S. G.
Sender & Marcel Derrien, Geneva 2003, MInerva Press, p. 72
^ Nicolas de Bonnefons, "Les Délices de la Campagne", Amsteldan, chez
Raphael Smith: 1654, LIVRE PREMIER. CHAPITRE II
^ Grande Histoire de la Patisserie-Confiserie française by S.G.
Sender & Marcel Derrien, Geneva 2003, MInerva Press, p. 127
^ Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat, "History of Food", Blackwell Publishing,
1992, p. 243
^ Prosper Montagné, Larousse gastronomoque, Larousse, 1938, p. 244
^ Carême, Marie-Antoine. Le pâtissier royal parisien ou Traité
élémentaire et pratique de la pâtisserie ancienne et moderne,
Paris: J.-G. Dentu, 1815
^ About.com. "Urban Legends: Marie Antoinette"
^ ENCYCLOPEDIE, Neufchastel: Samuel Faulche, 1765, vol. 11, p. 751.
^ Trésor de la langue française informatisé s.v. -oche
^ La très belle et Très exquisse histoire des gateaux et des
friandises by Toussaint-Samat, Paris: Flammarion, 2004
^ "The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth
Edition". Retrieved 2006-06-09.
^ La brioche de Nanterre
^ Site du groupe de danse folklorique « le Quadrille
Vendéen » Archived March 8, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
^ Site internet officiel de l'Association
October 11, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
^ Marie José Hervyns, De zéro à vingt et un ans, Bruxelles,
Éditions du Bélier, 1973 - 347 pages, p. 102.
^ Claude Muller, Coutumes & traditions du Dauphiné, Grenoble,
Éditions des 4 Seigneurs ; Aubenas, Éditions de Bellande, 1978,
307 pages, ISBN 978-2-85231-058-2, p. 66.
^ Vie quotidienne en Savoie, Albertville, Amis du vieux Conflans,
1979, 296 pages, p. 62.
^ Tartes & accompagnements, Paris, Artémis éd., 2008, 94 pages,
p. 7, ISBN 978-2-84416-671-5
Pain de campagne
Pain de mie
Recipes on WikiBooks