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! This brioche is egg-free, dairy-free and can be made soy free and sugar free!
Conventional brioche bread recipes use butter, eggs and dairy milk. However, with a few easy substitutions you can make brioche vegan. This brioche has no eggs, dairy or animal products!
Table of contents
- Simple ingredients to make this vegan brioche
- Making the brioche dough
- First rise for the brioche
- Second rise for the brioche
- Baking the vegan brioche
- Customising this recipe
- Troubleshooting baking issues
- How to serve the vegan brioche
- Other easy vegan bread recipes!
Simple ingredients to make this vegan brioche
Traditional French brioche bread use eggs and egg yolks to create a tender and fluffy crumb. However, you can recreate this beautiful texture in vegan brioche with the right ingredient ratios. And you don't need any store-bought vegan egg or egg yolk replacers!
Instead of eggs, I increased the amount of fat (through extra vegan butter) and raising agents (through extra yeast). This combination creates a soft, fluffy and tender vegan brioche.
Instead of using conventional butter, I used vegan butter or olive oil for this brioche bread. Vegan butter creates a fluffier and lighter crumb than olive oil (more info in the section about 'customising your loaf').
Even though oil makes this bread more dense, the bright yellow colour of some oils (such as olive oil) will give your brioche a beautiful golden hue. I tested an older version of this brioche recipe with olive oil which you can see in this recipe video on my Facebook page.
To make dairy-free bread, I simply used dairy free milk! I prefer soy milk as it's higher protein and leaves no aftertaste. However almond, oat, coconut and other milks will work.
Making the brioche dough
This is a very easy vegan bread to make! To make the brioche dough, simply add all the ingredients to a bowl, mix and knead it until it's soft and stretchy. I used instant dried yeast which does not need to be proved or bloomed beforehand.
I used a stand mixer to knead the dough and it reached the perfect consistency in around 10 minutes. If you don't have a stand mixer, you can absolutely mix and knead the dough with your hands! It will take a little longer so consider it a free arm and hand exercise ;).
First rise for the brioche
Place the brioche dough in a bowl, cover it and place it in a WARM humid area for 1 hour OR until it doubles in size, like below.
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.
Second rise for the brioche
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.
Baking the vegan brioche
This is my favourite part because the brioche makes your whole house/apartment smell AMAZING! This is an easy vegan bread to bake! Just pop it in at 180°C (355°F) for about 30-40 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
While the bread is still warm, brush it with a little maple syrup to create the most beautiful glaze ever! I tried brushing the brioche with dairy-free milk and aquafaba but they don't leave a beautiful golden glaze.
See, it is 100% possible to make DELICIOUS vegan french bread!
Customising this recipe
There are a few ways you can customise this vegan brioche bread:
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! Note that if you use oil, it'll take longer to rise and it will be more dense.
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.
Alternatively, you can use the recipe to make individual vegan brioche buns. See my post for more details!
Or you can make a savoury vegan brioche bread simply by reducing the sugar to 1 tablespoon. The sugar is still needed in the recipe to feed and activate the yeast
Several readers have said this brioche recipe does not work with a 1:1 gluten-free flour. I am working on a gluten-free vegan brioche so watch this space!
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 vegan brioche dough doesn't need to double in size - it just needs to grow at least by 50%! However, if it doesn't grow at all, this could be due to various factors:
Possible issue 1: The brioche dough needs to be placed in a WARM place. Unlike bread, this brioche has butter in it so the butter needs to be soft and warm for your dough to rise!
If you live in a cold climate here are a few things you can do:
- Turn on your oven light, place the dough in the oven 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!
Possible issue 2: 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!
Possible issue 3: Your brioche dough is too dry. All brands of flour, vegan butter and milk absorb differently. As Step 1 says, if your dough is too dry, simply add a little more milk and knead again. Use the above pictures as a guide for the consistency of your dough. It should be smooth and without cracks!
"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 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 brioche 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, plate or aluminium foil. This minimises the oven's radiant heat (which cooks the outside of the brioche) and forces the heat into the middle of the loaf.
If you have any other questions or issues, leave a comment below!
How to serve the vegan brioche
If you don't devour the whole brioche loaf 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 vegan bread, bake it at a low heat and use it as decadent topping for ice cream or other desserts.
Other easy vegan bread recipes!
Here's a secret: this brioche recipe is used as the foundation for my other yeast-based bread and scroll recipes! Here's a full list of ways to use brioche-like dough. My favourites are:
- Ultimate Blueberry Cinnamon Scrolls
- Double Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns
- Vegan Chocolate Babka
- Jam Donut Babka
If you want to make a yeast-free version of this brioche, check out my Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls recipe. Simply follow the ingredient ratios for the bread and skip the filling.
Or if you want to make this brioche into BUNS, check out my Buttery Vegan Brioche Buns recipe.
Buttery Vegan Brioche (classic and healthier options)
- 3 cups (375g) plain or all-purpose flour, or white spelt flour (note 1)
- ¾ cup (190g) dairy free milk, such as almond, soy or coconut, warm, plus more if needed
- ⅔ cup (150g) vegan butter or margarine, room temperature or ½ cup (125g) olive oil
- ¼ cup (50g) cane sugar, or coconut sugar
- 1 tbsp instant dried yeast, (note 2)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp salt, if using unsalted butter or oil
- 3 tbsp maple syrup, or any other light-coloured liquid sweetener
To make the brioche dough:
- EASY METHOD: Add all the ingredients except the maple syrup to a stand mixer bowl with the dough hook. Knead for at least 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth, soft and elastic. You can also do this in a bowl and on a floured surface but it will take a little longer. The dough should be very tacky but should just come away from the sides of the bowl. However, if your dough is too dry, add a little more milk and knead well.
- ADVANCED METHOD: Add all the ingredients except the butter and maple syrup to a stand mixer with the dough hook. Knead until the dough is well combined and stretchy (at least 5 minutes). Add a little milk if needed. While the dough is kneading, gradually add the butter, around 3 tbsp (40g) at a time. Only add more butter when the last bit has been fully incorporated. Knead until the dough is very smooth and comes away from the bowl (at least 15 minutes).
- Shape the dough into a smooth ball, place it back in a clean bowl and cover with a slightly damp tea towel (the moisture prevents the dough from drying out). Place the dough in a WARM area to double in size (or grow by at least 50%) for at least 1 hour (note 3).
To shape the brioche:
- 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 (my tin was 12x22 cm or 5x9 inches but any size tin will work). Cover the tin with a tea towel and leave it in a warm area to rest for at least 30 minutes. The dough should increase in size by 50% - 100%.
Baking the brioche:
- 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 top is golden brown. The loaf is fully cooked when you can tap the bottom and it sounds hollow or if you poke a skewer in the middle and there's no raw dough on it. If the bread is browning too quickly but is not baked in the middle, reduce the oven to 160°C (320°F) or cover the bread with aluminium foil.
- While the brioche is still hot from the oven, brush the top with maple syrup then rest it in the tin for 15 minutes. Turn it onto a wire rack and allow to cool slightly.
- Serve the brioche warm. Store the brioche in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month. To serve the brioche, reheat or toast the leftovers.
- Spelt flour absorbs more liquid than regular flour so you may need to add a little more milk than specified. Add the specified amount of milk and knead the dough. If needed, add 1 tablespoon milk (15g) at a time until the dough is soft and cohesive.
- I used instant yeast doesn't need to be 'activated' or 'bloomed' beforehand. However, if you use active dry or regular yeast, combine it with warm milk and a pinch of sugar beforehand. Wait until it bubbles then use it in the recipe.
- If your dough doesn't increase in size, place it in a warmer spot in your house. Read my post above for some tips. The amount of time it takes for the brioche to rise also depends on your butter/margarine (margarine-based brioche rises quicker), flour and milk. If your dough doesn't increase in size at this stage, it will not bake well.
This post was originally published in August 2019 and has been updated a few times since then to provide more useful information and an improved recipe which is more similar to traditional French brioche.
Please leave a comment below if you made this recipe, have any questions or thoughts! Your comment will help other readers and Rainbow Nourishments.