Sourdough Brioche loaf

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I was asked several times if I have a sourdough brioche recipe and unfortunately I had to reply with a very polite NO and it didn’t feel right. So here it is! I am thrilled to finally write this down and so grateful for the encouragement I receive from many of my followers on IG and this blog.

french toast
French toast made with sourdough brioche

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So, long story short, I bought a brioche loaf (not a sourdough one) from the whole foods for breakfast last Saturday. I know, I bake all the time and still run out of bread every now and then. But I don’t usually buy super-market bread except when I’m in a hurry or at a loss of ideas, like that Saturday. And that’s not even the worst part. The worst bit is, that it really hurt when you have to buy bread, ever since I started making my own bread. I felt like I’m cheating or betraying something or someone. As funny as it may sound, it is true.

sourdough brioche
sourdough brioche

We made some nice french toast with that brioche and I knew at that moment ” we are so going to eat home-made sourdough brioche next weekend”. So here it is, my homemade sourdough brioche.

sourdough brioche
sourdough brioche

I made it as indulgent and rich as I could, with all the butter and eggs, pushing the limits really.

stiff starter

Make the stiff starter, several hours before (preferably overnight) making the dough. It is as easy as mixing everything together and kneading into a smooth dough ball. This is how its inside is going to look once fermented.

mix the dough

Next step is to make the dough. To start with, weigh everything except butter into a bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with dough hook. Mix on low speed until everything comes together. Scrape down with a spatula to encourage.

mixed dough

Once everything is mixed, increase speed a notch and mix until a smooth dough is developed. Scrape down the bowl as necessary. Use the extra 2 tbsp of milk as you go to loosen up the batter if it feels too stiff.

This will take about 4-5 minutes.

silky dough

Once the dough is developed, then add the softened butter, a bit at a time and continue to mix. The dough will end up very sticky but looking silky like shown in the picture. Empty the dough into a greased bowl. Cover and let ferment until almost double in size.

This may take roughly about 4 – 6 hours depending on the room temperature


This is the dough doubled in size. If you put this is a smaller bowl, it will be easier to judge. Next picture is a better one.

Once it has doubled, we need to punch this down before chilling it in the refrigerator.


Easiest way to punch down the dough is to drop it on to a floured bench and use a scraper to fold it. Avoid handling it with your bare hands as it is extremely sticky.

Once the dough it punched down, place it back in the same bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or over night.

shaping dough

We need the dough to be chilled to be able to handle it, but as soon as you take it out of the fridge, it will be too hard.

Let the dough thaw for about 30 minutes or until it is malleable but still cool. Dump the dough on to a lightly dusted bench and roll into a log.

If the dough becomes too sticky, place it back in the fridge

divide the dough

Divide the log into 8 equal pieces

Remember the dough should remain cold and still firm all the while

shape dough

Shape each dough piece in to a nice smooth round ball, as if you are making dinner rolls. Use flour to stop dough from sticking. Use the scrapper to help release the dough.

Use as little flour as possible when dusting. We don’t want a thick flour coating around the outside of the dough.


Grease a loaf pan and place the dough balls like shown in the picture. Pack them snug, so they will rise upwards as they proof.

this pan dimensions are
8.5″ x 4.5″ x 2 ¾”

Now egg wash the tops lightly. You can use a bit of milk too. this is to stop it from drying.

Cover and leave in a warm place to proof

proofed dough

In a cool temperature (19 C), the proofing will take up to 8 hours. In a warm atmosphere, this will be around 5 hours.

But keep an eye, you can clearly tell when it is ready. The loaf will fill the tin and expand into a fluffy wobbly thing

baked brioche

Next step is to egg wash and bake the loaf. Be very gentle while egg washing, no to deflate or damage the fragile skin.

Bake at 400F for about 15 minutes. Then another 20 – 25 minutes at 350F.

If the top is going too brown too quickly, reduce the temperature earlier than mentioned.


Let the loaf cool off in the pan for about 10 minutes and then slide it off on to a cooling rack. Let the loaf cool completely before cutting into pieces or storing away.

By all means, feel free to dig into it while still warm, if you like it that way.

french toast

You can use the brioche for anything. I mainly use this for french toasts.

This brioche is softer on the day it was made and tend to get a bit dry the next day. But it doesn’t really matter if you toast it or made french toast with it like I do. The slices has more body and will hold nicely, so it is perfect for french toasts, which is the main purpose behind me making brioche.

sourdough brioche
soft crumb

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    1. Thank you 🙂
      I weigh my dough and divide it by 8. In this case my dough balls were 91 g each, roughly

      1. Today I baked my bread & it came out so soft with perfect texture.
        Thank you so much
        But I have one question In this recipe butter is 160 gm
        When I was mixing butter in my dough I feel it’s too much may be I miss understood & I used only 50-60gm
        Is this ok..

        1. That’s great! I’m glad it turned out so well.
          And Yes, 160 g butter is correct The more butter the more richer the texture.
          This high content of butter is what makes brioche unique or stand out.
          It is normal to feel it’s too much, that is why we add it gradually piece by piece so they will be incorporated smoothly.

  1. I am excited to try this recipe to make a Greek tsoureki for Easter this weekend. I had such success with your croissant recipe (twice now!!) that It gives me the confidence to proceed with this buttery rich bread. Tsoureki is flavored with Mahlepi and masticha, but otherwise is very similar to brioche. Do you think I could braid the dough or is it too slack for proofing outside a vessel?

    1. It is so good to hear you had success with croissants.
      And about Tsoureki; yes I think this would be bit too buttery for a free form. You can try to braid it while cold, but I’m not sure the shape will hold during proof.
      Usually, Tsoureki is made with much less butter if I remember correctly.

  2. Generally speaking, yes tsoureki has less butter – maybe 50% less. Do you think the dough would be ok with less butter?

    1. In the comments, Kavita, had mentioned she made this with 50g -60g butter and that it was still soft and delicious.
      So I’m guessing yes, you can use less butter and may be use extra sugar/honey and milk to compensate.
      I can’t be sure though, cos I haven’t tried that myself.

  3. Will it be ok if i use my whole wheat sourdough starter, or it’s better with a white All purpose flour starter?

    1. You can use any starter technically, as long as you are okay with the wholewheat in your brioche.
      This might change the crumb color and flavor slightly.
      If you have time, get a tablespoon of the wholewheat starter and, feed it with all-purpose flour.
      This will be better than using a 100% whole wheat starter.

  4. Hi, In the peak of summer when the night temperature is 26 degrees celsius, do I leave the stiff starter on the counter, or in the fridge? Thank you

    1. Fridge (5°C) is too cold for that. I would still leave it on the counter.
      A trick would be to reduce the time ( make the starter much later in the night) OR
      You can sit the starter container in a cold water bath, this will keep is pleasantly cool. Make sure at least 3/4 of the container is submerged in water.

    1. It is on the recipe. But i will write here again in case
      20 g fed starter culture
      70 g flour
      30 g water+/-

      1. Oooooh! Now I see it! I’m sorry I missed it last time. You’re too sweet to take the trouble of writing it again! Thank you so much!

  5. I made it yesterday, but couldn’t get the dough to rise, maybe it’s the temperature – we are in winter now with around 4C during the night and low 10s C in the day. So I added some more starter this evening to experiment (cause I think I would have to dump it anyhow) and kneaded a bit, the strands are much stronger and elastic, but a few hours later I still didn’t see any signs of it rising much. Will I be able to save it or shall I start over again? I will see how it goes tomorrow. Thanks.

    1. Did you try placing it in a warm place. If not placing it in the oven(switched off of course) with cup of boiling water ( for warmth and moisture) in a corner should do the trick. Make sure to turn the oven light off as it might get way too hot for delicate brioche.
      In such cold temperatures, I’m afraid it’s gonna take longer on it is own, so try the method above.

      1. This morning the dough finally doubled! So it has been roughly 33 hours (During the period I had used the oven rising function for 10ish minutes to keep the temp up, don’t know if it will damage it). I put it in the fridge, will shape and bake this evening & see how it goes. Lucky it didn’t smell foul and very elastic. Keeping hopes high, will let you know the result.

  6. Hi there! So excited to try this recipe (and love your whole blog)! Is there a reason to “overshoot” the amount of stiff starter you need for the recipe? In other words, could I mix it up with 17g fed starter / 58g flour / 25g water (so it equals the 100g needed for the recipe)? I’ve seen other sourdough recipes overshoot the starter needed for the recipe as well… so I’m wondering if I’m missing something here. I’m fairly new to the wonderful world of sourdough. Thanks!
    – Danielle

    1. There’s not reason other than ease of working with numbers.. eg: It’s easier to weight 20g instead of 17g (most home scales are not accurate)
      You can absolutely make exactly 100g! Or you can use all of the starter you get (110g or 120g) since this is sourdough, some extra starter (or even less) is not going to affect the recipe much.
      Personally this is what I do usually, just use all of the starter I make. But when writing down the recipe I stick with certain numbers to avoid confusion.
      Hope this helps!

  7. Hi Vindi,
    I have a question….again :). I made this..but I don’t understand why the outside of it was crusty…flaky. I mean it is very good but it’s not soft. I did all as per your instructions…all good.The only major problem I have is my oven. It is gas and has no way to set the temperature…what do you think?
    thank you

    1. I think you already identified the issue. Oven temperature is very important to get perfect results. Too high/too low or uneven heat all affects the texture of a baked good.

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