Brioche is characterized by its puffy dough and buttery taste. It can take the shape of a cake, roll or loaf, and has a soft crumb and a beautiful golden exterior. But there’s even more to know about this delicious bread.
Brioche in the beginning
Made with flour, yeast, butter, milk and egg, brioche goes back to the Middle Ages, originating in Normandy before making its way around France.
- French bakers in various regions gave their own spin on this delicious bread, from adding liquor or cheese to the dough to topping the crust with fruits and nuts.
- The recipe has been adapted for various occasions, which is why this pastry takes on all kinds of shapes, from the rather simple roll to the more festive gâteau des Rois.
Types of brioche
Brioche refers to a type of dough, which is why its shape and size can vary a great deal.
Here’s a quick guide to help you identify a few different types of brioche, from some common variations to the more unusual.
Kouglof or gugelhopf
Kouglof is a German-Alsacian type of brioche bread in the shape of a Bundt cake.
- It is usually topped with raisins, which are sometimes added to the dough along with almonds and cherry brandy.
Brioche with candied fruit or king cake
King cake is a round cake, sometimes with a hole in the middle.
- It has a sweet dough with candied fruit scattered throughout.
Parisian brioche is a golden roll that looks like one ball sitting atop another.
Braided brioche can be as small as a roll or as large as a loaf.
- It is topped with large sugar crystals and has a sweetened dough.
Cougnou is also called the bread of Jesus.
- It is sweet and can have raisins or chocolate chips throughout.
- The loaf is supposed to have the shape of the baby Jesus.
Your local brioche
Your local bakery is likely to have its own take on this type of bread. Find out what they make, and try brioche in some new and exciting versions!
5 ways to serve brioche
- Make a sandwich. Unsweetened brioche is delicious with ham, tomato, lettuce and cheese.
- Turn it into a snack by pairing it with cheese.
- For breakfast, slice a roll and sandwich your eggs and bacon.
- For brunch, make French toast with your favourite brioche loaf.
- Get a sweet loaf at your local bakery and serve it as a festive dessert with cream and fruit.