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The best ever Brioche Loaf | A Thomas Keller Recipe (Bouchon Bakery)

This Thomas Keller recipe makes the most perfect brioche loaf. Buttery, fluffy, light and pillowy. And the best thing. I made it myself. You can do it, too.

Course Breakfast, brunch
Cuisine European, French
Keyword Bouchon Bakery, brioche recipe, brunch recipe, French baking, Thomas Keller
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 22 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 22 minutes
Servings 8 buns
Calories 200 kcal
Author Kiki Johnson


  • 122 g unsalted butter /4.3 ounces/little more than a stick
  • 46 g whole milk 2.5 tbsp
  • 136 g eggs about 3 L
  • 270 g all-purpose flour scant 2 cups
  • 6 g Instant/rapid-rise yeast 2 tsp
  • 7 g salt 1 tsp
  • 32 g sugar 2.25 tbsp
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest optional, finely grated and added with butter


  1. First take out butter and eggs. Cut the cold butter into small chunks and measure out 122 grams worth on your scale. Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk. Strain the eggs into a small bowl on your scale until you reach 136 grams, then reset the scale and measure out the milk into the same bowl. Set the mix and the butter out on the counter until they come to room temperature.
  2. Set up your stand mixer with the dough hook and add all of the dry ingredients and combine with your fingers. Add the egg/milk mixture to the mixer bowl. Turn the mixer on low (that's level 2 on the Kitchen Aid) and watch everything come together. When the dough starts to come together set a timer for 30 minutes and allow it to continue mixing. GO and do something else.
  3. When the timer goes off, you should see a sticky mass clinging to the sides of the bowl and to the hook. Now, with the mixer still running, start adding your room temp butter a small handful at a time, waiting until the previous handful has been mostly mixed in before adding the next until all of the butter is added. 

  4. Stop the mixer for a second, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with your spatula, and then turn the mixer back on low, mixing for another 10 minutes until the butter is fully incorporated and you have a shiny dough.

  5. Spray a big bowl with nonstick spray. Scrape the dough out onto a clean work surface trying to tear as little as possible and keep it in one piece. Now, who feels like folding?

  6. Ok, let's incorporate some folds here: Pat the dough gently into a rectangular shape just enough so that you can fold it on itself, using a light dusting of flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking to your board. Take the right side and fold it over to cover 2/3 of the length of the dough, stretching the dough gently without tearing it.

  7.  Next, take the left side, lightly stretch it out, and fold it over. This is called an envelope fold. Repeat the patting, stretching and folding from top to bottom this time. When you're done, lift the dough up and put it into the greased bowl, seam-side down. Cover with plastic wrap stab the plastic wrap with a skewer and put in a warm spot for an hour. (see notes)
  8. After the hour has passed, put it onto your floured counter again. Repeat the patting and folding (see above) Put the dough back in the bowl, cover it with the plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge overnight. Pfiuuu that was quite an ordeal, huh? Well, the worst part is over!

  9. The next day, your dough will have doubled in size and will be cold and a bit stiff. Don't worry, it's not dead, just chillin'. It will be very easy to shape. Let the dough warm up a few minutes while you have your first coffee and flour your clean (!!!!! ) counter.
  10. If you're making Nanterre, you can already get your two loave pans and spray them with nonstick spray.
  11. Turn the dough out of the bowl onto the work surface and pat down the dough to remove any air bubbles. Using your knife, divide the dough into equal pieces. For loaves or nanterres measure out 12 dough balls of 50 grams each - for buns, 8 balls of 75 grams each Do this by halving your dough as best you can, then cutting into same sized portions. Or use your scale to check the exact weight. I eyeballed it. It worked fine.
  12. Roll the portions up into smooth little balls: do this either in between your hands until they are as smooth as possible or,- even better - by rolling them in your hand against your work surface. It's best to use little to no flour.

  13. Place the rolled dough balls in the prepared loaf pans (6 to each one), or for buns space out all on a sheet. I baked mine in my 26 cm cake tin and created kind of a round decorative loaf. Looks stunning on a brunch table..

  14. Ok, almost done. Now, Make an egg wash by beating an egg or two little ones with a whisk and strain through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl. 

  15. Brush each ball generously with the egg wash, cover the pans with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap (peak a whole in the foil) and set aside to do your final proof of *iknowthisisreallybadnews* another 2 1/2 hours. The dough balls should double in size. Keep the egg wash in the fridge. You will need it later. All you can do for now is preheat your oven to 350.

  16. Brush the dough balls again with the egg wash and bake
  17. Baking times depend on the size of your buns. I recommend 22 minutes for nanterre aka. loaves, and only about 12-13 minutes for buns. A thermometer in the center should read about 200 degrees and the buns should be richly browned, feel soft like a baby's cheek and smell like French heaven.
  18. Transfer the loaves or buns immediately onto a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes. Oh yeah, twenty whole minutes. This is torture. It brakes my heart every time.

Recipe Notes

Here in Canada, the climate is not really optimal for proofing dough. I proof my dough in the microwave with the door ajar so that the light is on; The oven light works pretty well, too.