Buttery and fluffy vegan brioche with a tender crumb which just melts in your mouth. I included a ‘classic’ version using vegan butter and ‘healthier’ version with spelt flour, olive oil and no refined sugar!
I used to be obsessed with French desserts before I went vegan. Macarons, creme brulees, profiteroles… you name it! Conventional brioche is made with butter and eggs. I was surprised that achieving a fluffy and tender brioche is 100% possible with vegan substitutes!
Ingredients for this vegan brioche
In traditional brioche, eggs add fat to the loaf which makes a super tender crumb. In order to create a beautiful crumb, I used apple cider vinegar which is an acid and tenderises the gluten in the flour. Don’t worry – you can’t taste the apple cider vinegar in the final brioche!
Eggs also help the brioche to bake in the middle. However, I managed to perfect ingredient ratios so this isn’t needed!
Instead of using conventional butter, I used vegan butter or olive oil. Vegan butter creates a lighter crumb than olive oil (more info in the section about ‘customising your loaf’).
One benefit of using olive oil is that the oil’s naturally bold yellow colour can give the loaf a beautiful golden hue. I tested this recipe with olive oil which you can see in this recipe video on my Facebook page.
How to make vegan brioche: making the dough and the first rise
I used instant dried yeast for this recipe which does not need to be proved or bloomed beforehand. To make the dough, simply add all the ingredients to a bowl, mix and knead it until it’s soft and stretchy.
I used a stand mixer to knead the dough and it reached the perfect consistency within 3 minutes. If you don’t have a stand mixer, You can absolutely mix and knead the dough with your hands! Consider it a free arm and hand exercise ;).
Place the dough in a bowl, cover it and place it in a WARM area for 1 hour until it doubles in size, like below. With the angle of the bowl and dough, you can’t see a significant increase, but I assure you that it did.
If your dough doesn’t grow, reposition it in a warm spot and wait until it does. Sometimes when it’s cold at home, I have to place the bowl above or near a steamer for just 3 minutes to kickstart the dough.
How to make vegan brioche: second rise
To prepare your loaf/cake tin, you can line it with baking paper or brush it with butter/oil and dust it with flour.
Now that your dough has risen once, place your dough on a floured surface. Divide it into 4 equal parts then place it in a loaf tin! Feel free to shape the dough in other ways, such as dividing it into less or more parts, or even braiding it!
Next step is, you guessed it – cover the dough and let it rise again.
How to customise this vegan brioche
There are a few ways you can customise this loaf:
Replace plain flour with white spelt flour. Spelt flour doesn’t rise as well as plain flour but it still creates a beautiful crumb!
Replace vegan butter for olive oil. The taste and colour is probably the biggest difference in the final products. Butter helps create a lighter crumb so the bread ‘tears’ like a traditional brioche. Olive oil creates a crumb which is more similar to cake!
Replace organic cane sugar for coconut sugar. Baking with a light-coloured cane sugar will result in a lighter coloured and fluffier bread than baking with coconut sugar!
Replace yeast with a sourdough starter. I’ve tried a similar recipe using about 75-150g of a bubbly active sourdough starter and it worked wonderfully! 75g was the minimum I needed to use to make the bread rise. For a stronger ‘sourdough’ taste, I increased the starter.
Or you can make a savoury vegan brioche simply by reducing the sugar to 1 tablespoon. The sugar is still needed in the recipe to feed and activate the yeast
I have not tried baking the brioche with gluten free flour but if you do, please let me know how you go!
Baking the vegan brioche
This is my favourite part because the brioche makes your whole house/apartment smell AMAZING! Baking the brioche is pretty easy. Just pop it in at 180°C (355°F) for about 30-40 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
While the brioche is still warm, brush it with a little maple syrup to create the most beautiful glaze ever!
Troubleshooting baking issues
Every time I made this brioche, it worked well. However, I’ve definitely had my fair share of ‘baking with yeast’ fails so I’ll share how I fixed them:
“My bread didn’t double in the first rise (when it’s in the bowl)”
Your bread doesn’t need to double in size – it just needs to grow at least by 150%! However, if it doesn’t grow at all, this could be due to various factors:
- Your yeast is old and no longer active. Before baking, you can ‘proof’ your yeast to ‘prove’ whether its still useful. Add it to a small bowl of warm milk with a pinch of sugar and wait until it bubbles. If it doesn’t, the yeast may no longer be good for baking!
- The dough needs to be placed in a WARM place. If you live in a cold climate here are a few things you can do:
- Turn your oven’s light on, place the dough near the light and close the door.
- Preheat your oven or dehydrator to only 30°C / 85°F then turn it off. Place the covered dough inside.
- Steam your dough double-boiler style for only 1 minute. Heating your dough to 50°C / 120°F will kill the yeast so don’t heat up the dough too much!
“I used a different ingredient and my bread didn’t increase in size”
- You used a different type of yeast which may need to be activated beforehand. Simply add it to a small bowl of warm milk with a pinch of sugar and wait until it bubbles. I used a common instant dried yeast which does not need to be activated before mixing with the other ingredients.
- Different flours and fats will affect how much the dough rises. For example, spelt flour and olive oil will inhibit the rising of the dough!
“My bread didn’t bake in the middle”
Before you finish baking, make sure you test your dough by sticking a knife or skewer in it.
If the outside is brown and inside is uncooked, cover it with an oven-proof bowl or plate or aluminium foil. This minimises the oven’s radiant heat to the outside of the brioche and forces the heat into the middle of the brioche.
If you have any other questions or issues, leave a comment below!
How to serve the vegan brioche
If you don’t finish the whole brioche loaf when it’s fresh from the oven, you can enjoy it in many ways:
- Toast a slice and smother it with jam, cream or any sweet spread!
- Use the leftovers for french toast, a nourishing self-care breakfast or dessert! You deserve it!
- Freeze and enjoy it when the cravings hit.
- Crumble the bread, bake it at a low heat and use it as decadent topping for ice cream or other desserts.
Check out my other bread-like recipes!
Here’s a secret: this brioche recipe is used as the foundation for my other yeast-based bread and scroll recipes! My favourites are:
Buttery Vegan Brioche (classic and healthier options)
- 3 1/3 cups (415g) plain or all-purpose flour, or white spelt flour*
- 2/3 cup (165mL) plant-based milk, such as almond, soy or coconut, warm
- 1/4 cup (80g) organic cane sugar, or coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup (70mL) melted vegan butter, or olive oil
- 2 1/2 tsp instant dried yeast**
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp maple syrup, or any other light-coloured liquid sweetener
- Add all the ingredients except the maple syrup to a large bowl and mix until combined. Knead the dough for at least 5 minutes or until the dough becomes soft and elastic. If you're using a stand mixer, use the dough hook and knead until the dough is smooth and comes away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is a little dry, add a little more milk and knead again. If the dough is still sticking on the bowl, add a little flour and knead again.
- Leave the dough in the bowl and cover with a damp tea towel (the damp towel prevents the dough from drying out). Leave it in a warm area to double in size for at least 1 hour.***
- When the dough is puffy, divide it into 4 even sections. Shape each section into a round ball and place them a lined loaf tin (I used a 12x22 cm or 5x9 inch tin but any size tin will work). Cover the tin with a damp tea towel and leave it in a warm area to rest for another 30 minutes - 1 hour. The dough should increase in size by 150% or 200%.
- When the dough is puffy again, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the surface is golden brown. The loaf is fully cooked in the middle when you can tap the bottom of the loaf and it sounds hollow. If the bread is browning too quickly on the top and has not fully cooked, reduce the oven temperature to 160°C (320°F).
- When the brioche is still hot, brush the top with maple syrup then allow it to rest in the tin for 15 minutes. Turn it onto a wire rack and allow it to cool.
- Store the brioche in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-5 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
This post was originally published in August 2019 and was updated in May 2020.
Please leave a comment below if you made this recipe, have any questions or thoughts! Your comment will help other readers and Rainbow Nourishments.