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.
Why Make This Bread?
Brioche is not the quickest bread to make, but let me tell you why this loaf is worth it.
While this is a whole wheat brioche, you will be surprised at how light and tender it is. That is one of the best things about a rich dough like brioche.
They have a texture, unlike any other dough.If you have not tasted brioche before you are in for a treat. Buttery brioche dough is a favorite of mine!
Brioche gets a cool rise, which means the dough is made the day before and refrigerated for about 24 hours. I like this as the day of serving, you are not dealing with the dough-making process, only assembly, and baking of the loaf.
The lemon sugar creates the best subtle but still there 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.
- 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 the blend of all-purpose and whole wheat. You can always do 100% whole wheat, but my family prefers the blend. If you are new to whole wheat baking, this will be a great way for you to start out.
- Brown Sugar- Brioche is generally a sweet dough and I used brown sugar for the dough.
- Salt- it only takes a teaspoon salt, but you cannot skip this.
- Instant Yeast- You could also use an active dry if you prefer, but I like instant for this recipe.
- Eggs- this is 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 lemon zest (lemon peel) for the lemon sugar.
- Granulated Sugar- this is used in the lemon-sugar mixture.
How To Make Brioche Dough
Start by adding your warm milk (you can heat it in a small saucepan or microwave. It is only heated to about 100 degrees), yeast, salt, eggs, brown sugar, and flours to the bowl of a stand mixer. 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. Use the dough hook for this recipe.
Mix for about 1 minute. Then you will start adding the butter in 1 tablespoon increments. Butter is added slowly to the dough in making brioche. In fact, the process of adding the butter should take about 10-15 minutes. So add a tablespoon, let it mix in, then add another. do not rush this process. At the end of the mixing time, you should have a very smooth dough.
Once the butter is all added and mixed in, it is time to chill. Now, transfer dough in a ziplock bag sprayed with pan release, or you can turn 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.
Forming The Pull-Apart Bread
The next day, remove the chilled dough from the fridge.
Wash your lemons, dry, and grate with a Microplane to get the fresh lemon zest. Mix the zest with the granulated sugar.
Flour your work surface and roll the dough to about 12x18 inches. Brush with the melted butter and sprinkle generously with the lemon sugar.
Now, with a sharp knife, cut the dough into strips that are around about 4+inchesx12 inches. So cutting in 4 sections widthwise. If there is any confusion on this, check the video.
Cut each of these down into 4 squares. Layer upright into the loaf pan. It will not fill up the pan right now, don't stress once it has risen and baked, it will be perfect! 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. Make sure and preheat the oven while it is rising. Rising time depends on the warmth of your kitchen.
You can brush the loaf with an egg wash, but I don't really think it is necessary. Bake until it is golden brown and reaches an internal temp of 190 degrees.
Remove and allow it to cool for about 5 minutes, then gently remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack.
What is Brioche?
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.
It is also best to give this dough a cool rise. While this means it takes longer than the average bread to make, this is also good as you can make it ahead of time. The cool rise makes the dough so much easier to work with and enhances the flavors.
This bread is best with a cool rise. Don't be tempted to cut corners here. Not only will it make the dough easier to work with, but also hydrates the bread, and enhances the flavor of the dough.
Make sure you allow the bread to rise until it is doubled. This will take time as the dough is chilled, to begin with.
You can also make this into a sweet rolls recipe, check out the recipe for lemon swirled rolls.
I like to take the temperature on my loaf to decide on doneness. It is really hard on a loaf like this one to go by time and color. You are looking for 190 degrees internal temp.
I am not sure of the answer to this as I have not tried it. I mean there are vegan subs for just about everything. If you try it, let me know!
Pulling apart the pieces is my favorite way. I guess this is a bit of a rustic bake like that.
Wrapped tightly, this bread will be good for about 3 days. If it gets a little hard, microwave for a few seconds and it will be good as fresh!
Other Brioche Recipes
- Pumpkin Brioche with Pecan Filling
- Raspberry Swirled Loaf
- Herb Swirled Loaf
- Lemon Brioche Rolls
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!