This sourdough brioche bread is always a hit at the holidays. It has a rich flavor and soft texture from butter and eggs, and just the right amount of sweetness from honey. Made into a braid like this, it’s a show stopper!
Don’t have a sourdough starter? No problem, you can learn how to start a sourdough starter here.
Y’all know how much I love me some bread!
And I really love Brioche!
It’s one of what I call my “fancy” breads.
Because this bread is so rich and buttery, I like to save it for special occasions.
Brioche is a bread that originated in France. It’s actually more pastry than regular bread.
It’s what’s often called an enriched dough because it contains eggs, butter, sugar, and milk or cream. Although, in this version, the sourdough takes the place of the milk.
It’s soft and fluffy and has a tender crumb.
The traditional brioche shape is a round loaf baked in a fluted pan with a smaller ball on the top.
Brioche is often sweetened up even more with fruit or chocolate, although this recipe is pretty plain by comparison to some that I have seen.
And of course I added sourdough. And then fiddled with it until I made it a no-knead bread recipe.
But the taste is just as wonderful as the non-sourdough, kneaded type. I promise!
I love to braid the loaves for a festive appearance and sometimes sprinkle them with poppy or sesame seeds.
If you want them to look even awesomer, which I usually do, you can make 3 double braided loaves.
Seriously though, this is probably my favorite sourdough bread.
And if you happen to have any left over the next day, this Brioche makes some pretty incredible French toast, if I do say so myself.
Gotta love it! Got your apron on? Let’s go!
No-Knead Sourdough Brioche Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups active sourdough starter
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon sea salt
- 8 pastured eggs, slightly beaten
- 1/2 cup raw, unfiltered honey
- 1 1/2 cups melted butter
- 6 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon instant yeast (optional)
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 Tablespoon of water for egg wash right before baking
This recipe makes 3 large braided loaves.
To make our no-knead Brioche dough, we’re going to use the “bucket dough” method.
To start, thoroughly mix all your dry ingredients, including the instant yeast if you’re using it, in a large (5-6 quart) container.
I like to use a dough bucket like this one. It has measurements on the side so I can easily see when it has doubled in volume. And it comes with a lid.
Now you need to add all the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well without kneading. I start out mixing with my Danish dough whisk.
But I usually end up using my hands to get the last bit mixed in well. If there are some small lumps of flour that is OK. They will not be in the finished product.
Once everything is mixed up well, cover the bucket loosely and let the dough proof on the counter or table (or where ever you have room) at room temperature until it has risen and then begun to deflate.
When I use the bucket, I leave one corner slightly up so that some of the gases from the yeast can escape. Otherwise, it could pop the top off the bucket! Which is a little startling…
If you are using only your sourdough starter as leaven, this first rise can take anywhere from 2 to 6 hours depending on the strength of your starter and the temperature of your kitchen.
If you are using the optional instant yeast, it will rise much quicker and only needs to rise for 2 hours before going into the fridge.
After the dough has risen and deflated, cover tightly and put it in the fridge for at least 8 hours for the bulk fermentation step. I usually let it chill out overnight.
The sourdough brioche dough will stay good for about a week as long as it’s tightly covered.
Shaping Brioche Braid
I’m going to show you how to make a braided brioche loaf. But you can absolutely bake it in a regular loaf pan.
When you are ready to shape the dough, dust the surface of the dough with flour and remove however much you are going to use from the container. You don’t have to bake all of it at once.
If you just want one loaf, remove about 1/3 of the dough. I baked it all at one time, so that’s what you will see in the pictures.
This dough will be sticky, so make sure you have flour on your hands, too. But once you start working with it, it turns into a lovely smooth dough.
Now, divide the dough into 3 equal pieces if you are making single loaves, or 4 pieces if you are making double loaves.
Take one of those pieces and divide it into 3 pieces.
Roll each of those last 3 pieces into ropes on a lightly floured counter. They should be about 18ish inches long.
Butter your cookie sheet and lay the 3 ropes side by side down the center.
Starting in the middle, braid the ropes to one end and pinch the ends together.
Turn your baking sheet around, flip the braid over onto it’s back and continue braiding down the other way till you reach the end. Pinch those ends together as well.
Now tuck those pinched together pieces neatly under on both ends.
Make a second and third braid the same way.
If you are making double braids, take the 4th piece and divide that into 3 equal portions. Then divide each of those pieces into 3 more pieces.
Make the braids as before and gently place one small braid on top of each large braid, using an egg wash to stick them together.
For the egg wash, beat 1 egg with 1 Tbsp of water.
After you have all 3 braided loaves ready to go, cover them loosely with a damp cloth and let the dough rise until it’s doubled in size.
If you are using a baking stone, you will need to preheat your oven for 20 minutes before putting the bread in the oven.
Right before you pop them in the oven to bake, brush the tops and sides of the loaves with an egg wash.
Now, sprinkle with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, sugar crystals, or even coarse salt if you wish. I personally like the poppy seeds. 🙂
Bake those beautiful braids in a 350°F oven for 25 to 35 minutes. The time will depend on the size of your loaves.
You will know they are done when the crust is a beautiful golden brown and the center of the braid offers a little resistance to pressure when you poke it.
If they’re not quite there after 35 minutes, let them go a little longer. But keep an eye on them so they don’t get too dark.
After you take them out of the oven, put them on a cooling rack and try not to cut into them until they’ve cooled. So very hard to do!
These braids are my favorite way to make the brioche loaves, but you can use this same dough for regular loaves, dinner rolls, hamburger buns, or pretty much any other shape and size you choose.
Just make sure that you let them double in size before you bake them. Baking times will vary depending on the size and shape.
This is just a little bit of buttery heaven and perfect for any gathering! What special bread has a place on your celebration table?
Frequently asked questions about Sourdough No-Knead Brioche
On the countertop, this sourdough brioche will keep for 3 to 5 days. After that it gets a little dry. But when that happens, it makes amazing French Toast!
Absolutely! Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in a zip top freezer baggie. It keeps in the freezer for about 3 months. Defrost on the kitchen counter.
More sourdough recipes you should try:
Sourdough No-Knead Brioche
- 1 1/2 cup sourdough starter bubbly and active
- 1 1/2 Tbsp sea salt
- 8 large eggs
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 1/2 cup butter melted
- 6 1/2 cup unbleached flour
- 1 1/2 Tbsp yeast (optional)
Egg wash & garnish
- 1 large egg beaten
- 1 Tbsp filtered water
- poppy or sesame seeds to sprinkle on top (optional)
Making the dough
- Thoroughly mix all dry ingredients in a large (5-6 quart) container. Add the wet ingredients and mix without kneading.
- Cover and let rise on counter until the dough has risen and then deflated.
- Put the dough in the fridge for at least 8 hours.
Shaping the loaves
- When you are ready to shape the dough, dust the surface of the dough with flour and remove from the bowl.
- Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces.
- Take one piece and divide into 3 pieces.
- Roll each of those pieces into long, thin ropes on a lightly floured counter.
- Butter your cookie sheet and lay the 3 ropes side by side down the center.
- Starting in the middle, braid the ropes to the end.
- Turn your cookie sheet around, flip the braid over and continue braiding down the other way til you reach the end. Tuck the ends neatly under.
- Make a second and third braid the same way.
- Cover loosely with a damp cloth and allow to double in size.
- If you are using a baking stone, you will need to preheat your oven with the stone in it for 20 minutes before putting the bread in the oven.
- Right before baking, brush the tops and sides of the loaves with an egg wash made with 1 beaten egg and 1 Tbsp of water. Sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds if you wish.
- Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 to 35 minutes depending on the size of your loaves.
- You will know it’s done when the crust is a beautiful golden brown and the center of the braid offers a little resistance to pressure when you poke it.
- Put on a cooling rack and try not to cut it until it’s cooled.