Are you looking for special bread for a weekend bake or even holidays? If so, you need to try this Lemon Brioche Pull Apart Bread. It is the perfect blend of tender brioche and bright lemon flavor.
What is Brioche Bread?
There are a few things that make brioche different than your regular loaf of bread. For one, it is an egg-rich dough. Meaning there are a lot of eggs.
It is also heavy in butter. The butter is added slowly over about a 15-minute period of time.
Brioche works best allowing the dough a cool rise. While this means it takes longer to make than the average bread, it also means this bread is good to make ahead of time. The cool rise makes the dough so much easier to work with and enhances the flavors.
The combination of these characteristics yields a rich-tasting bread that's light, tender, and perfect for enjoying on its own or spreading with butter or jam.
Why You'll Love Brioche Loaf Bread
Brioche is not the quickest bread to make, but let me tell you why this loaf is worth it.
- A whole wheat brioche that's light and tender. That is one of the best things about a rich dough like brioche.
- Buttery brioche has a texture, unlike any other dough. If you have not tasted brioche before you are in for a treat. It's a favorite of mine!
- Perfect for making in advance. The dough is made the day before and refrigerated for about 24 hours. I like this method so the day of serving, you are not dealing with the dough-making process. All you have to do is assemble and bake the loaf.
- Great flavor. The lemon sugar creates the best subtle lemon flavor. I love the undertone. It also caramelizes on the sides, which is one of my favorite things!
- It is a beautiful loaf. I love how pretty this loaf bakes up and I think you will too!
- Warm Milk: Rich doughs generally have plenty of milk, eggs, and butter.
- Whole Wheat Flour: I used white wheat, but you could also spelt, red wheat, rye, einkorn, etc. There are a lot of great options out there.
- All-purpose Flour: I like to use a blend of all-purpose and whole wheat. You can always do 100% whole wheat. However, if you are new to whole wheat baking, baking bread with a blend is a great way for you to start out.
- Brown Sugar: Brioche is generally a sweet dough and I used brown sugar to sweeten the dough.
- Salt: It only takes a teaspoon of salt but you cannot skip this.
- Instant Yeast: You can use active dry yeast if you prefer but I like instant for this recipe because it saves a little time.
- Eggs: Essential for brioche, an egg-rich dough.
- Butter: This needs to be at room temperature. Make sure you start with soft butter and melted butter when you are forming the loaf. You can use unsalted butter or salted. I don't think it makes a lot of difference in this particular recipe.
- Lemons: You will use the zest of the fresh lemon for the lemon sugar that's sprinkled over the top.
- Granulated Sugar: White sugar works best for the lemon-sugar mixture that goes on top.
How To Make Brioche Dough
Let's look at the highlights of making homemade pull-apart bread. Be sure to check the recipe card before baking for all the details.
- Combine the warm milk, yeast, salt, eggs, brown sugar, and flour in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix for about one minute.
PRO TIP: It is not recommended to mix brioche by hand. Not only do you have to knead for a really long time but your hands will warm the dough too much. Using a mixer with a dough hook yields the best results.
- Add the butter in one tablespoon increments mixing between each one. At the end of the mixing time, you should have a very smooth dough.
PRO TIP: When making brioche, the butter is added slowly to the dough and will take about 10-15 minutes. So add a tablespoon, let it mix in, and then add another. Do not rush this process.
- Transfer the dough to a zip lock bag sprayed with pan release. You can also turn the dough into a greased bowl and cover it with a piece of plastic wrap. Make sure and give it room to rise. It will double in size.
- Store it in the refrigerator overnight.
How to Make Pull Apart Bread
The next day, remove the chilled dough from the fridge.
- Make the lemon sugar mixture. Wash your lemons, dry them, and grate them with a Microplane to get the fresh lemon zest. Mix the zest with the granulated sugar.
- Roll out the dough. Flour your work surface and roll the dough to about 12x18 inches.
- Brush the dough with the melted butter.
- Sprinkle the top generously with the lemon sugar mixture.
- Use a sharp knife and cut the dough into strips that are around about 4 x 12 inches each. Basically cutting the dough into four sections widthwise. If there is any confusion on this, check the video.
- Then cut each strip into four squares.
- Layer the slices upright into a loaf pan. It will not fill up the pan right now but don't stress, once it has risen and baked, it will be perfect!
⭐️ TIP: You can line the loaf pan with parchment paper for easier cleanup. I didn't worry about it this time and it came out just fine.
- Let the dough rise in a warm place until it is doubled in size. Make sure and preheat the oven while it is rising. Rising time depends on the warmth of your kitchen.
- Bake until the brioche loaf is golden brown and reaches an internal temp of 190 degrees.
- Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool for about 5 minutes, then gently remove it from the pan and finish cooling on a wire rack.
Serving Sweet Pull Apart Bread
This bread is perfect for the holidays! Serve it up with other favorites for Christmas, Mother's Day, Easter, or a brunch get-together with family and friends.
You can slice the bread or simply pull the pieces apart to serve!
It tastes amazing on its own! Or serve with some homemade strawberry habanero jam or your favorite fruit jelly!
- This bread is best with a cool rise. Don't be tempted to cut corners here. This type of rise not only makes the dough easier to work with but it also hydrates the bread and enhances the flavor of the dough.
- Make sure you allow the bread to rise the second time until it is doubled in size. This will take time as the dough is chilled, to begin with.
- Prefer brioche rolls? It works great! You can check out the recipe for lemon swirled brioche rolls to see this variation.
- Take the temperature of the loaf to decide on doneness. It is really hard on a loaf like this one to go by time and color so taking the temperature is more accurate. You are looking for 190 degrees internal temp.
- Be sure to read through all the instructions before starting!
More Homemade Brioche Recipes
Lemon Brioche Pull Apart Loaf
- stand mixer
- 8x4 loaf pan
- Rolling Pin
- ½ cup warm milk It should be about 100 degrees, just warm to the touch.
- 3 eggs
- 2 ½ teaspoons instant yeast you can also use active dry. The amount will be the same.
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 ¾ cup whole wheat flour I used white whole wheat, but you can use red, spelt, rye, einkorn, or kamut.
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose four
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons lemon zest
- 4 tablespoons melted butter this is for brushing the brioche with after rolling it out.
- Read through all instructions before starting.
- Add all ingredients for the dough into your stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Make sure and start with 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour. You can add more later if needed.
- Mix for about a minute. Then start adding the softened ½ cup butter in a tablespoon at a time. This will take a while to mix all the way, so don't rush the process. It should take 10-15 minutes all together.
- Once all the butter is added and it is mixed well, it is time to chill.
- I like to store mine in a sprayed ziplock bag. If you do it this way, make sure not to take all the air out of the bag, give it room to rise. If you don't want to use bags, you can grease a large bowl and place the dough in it. Cover tightly with saran wrap.
- I like to let this have a cool rise for at least 12 hours.
- On the day of baking, mix your lemon zest with the granulated sugar and set aside. Spray your loaf pan and set it aside as well.
- Lightly flour your surface and roll the dough to a 12x18 inch rectangle. It will still be a little stiff, but jist roll it anyway. Pat it back together if it tries to break apart at all.
- Brush the top with the melted 4 tablespoons of butter, then sprinkle with the lemon sugar.
- Now, cutting the dough into 4 sections widthwise. So they will be about 4+x12 inches. Stack the strips on top of each other, then cut each one into 4 sections.
- stack them layering up into the pan. They will not fill the pan right now, but don't worry after the rise and bake, it will be perfect. I usually lean mine to the side just a touch.
- Cover the loaf and let it rise until doubled. At the end of the rise, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Place the risen loaf into the oven. This will take about 50 minutes to bake. If it starts to get too brown about 30 minutes in, tent a pice of tinfoil over the top, that is what I did with mine.
- Now, to know when it is done, I like to check the temp of the bread. 190 degrees is what you are looking for with the bread.
- When it is done, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for about 5 minutes in the pan. Then gently remove it from the pan. If you need to, you can slide a butter knife around the edges to loosen it where the sugar caramelized.
- That is it! The bread is done and ready to be enjoyed!