Buttery vegan brioche with a fluffy and tender crumb that melts in your mouth. This brioche uses only 7 common pantry ingredients and is egg-free and dairy-free!
Table of contents
- Ingredients to make vegan brioche
- Notes about the ingredients
- Two ways to knead the dough
- How to tell if the dough has been kneaded enough?
- Tips for the first rise
- Tips for shaping the brioche and second rise
- Baking the vegan brioche
- Customizing this recipe
- Troubleshooting baking issues
- Serving suggestions
- More vegan bread recipes!
Ingredients to make vegan brioche
You'll need a few simple ingredients including:
Notes about the ingredients
Bread flour or all-purpose (plain) flour. This brioche works very well with either flour. However, I recommend bread flour for a more traditional brioche texture. It's higher in protein so creates a chewier rather than cakier bread.
Vegan butter. Brioche typically contains more butter than typical bread which helps create a tender melt-in-your-mouth texture. The butter needs to be at room temperature, not melted as the latter can interfere with the formation of gluten.
Dairy-free milk for dairy-free brioche (it's really that easy!). Any type of dairy-free milk will work but I prefer soy milk as it's higher in protein and leaves no aftertaste.
Instant dried yeast which is the easiest yeast to use and doesn't need to be proved beforehand. However, you can use dry or regular yeast, you will need to prove it.
Traditional French brioche is usually enriched with eggs or egg yolks. However, by increasing the amount of fat through butter and rising power through yeast, we're able to create an eggless brioche that is soft, fluffy and tender. You don't need any store-bought egg replacers!
A complete list of ingredients, quantities and instructions are in the gray recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Two ways to knead the dough
There are two different ways you can knead the vegan brioche dough:
- Easy method where you add all ingredients to the mixer and knead. It takes 5-10 minutes and makes a soft and buttery brioche (left picture).
- Advanced method where you knead in the butter afterward. This is the traditional way of making brioche and takes at least 20-30 minutes. It makes a softer bread which is more feathery when you pull it apart (right picture).
Easy kneading method
For an easy vegan brioche bread, add all the ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer or large bowl and knead until it's soft and stretchy.
Initially, the dough will be very sticky but try to avoid adding any flour. Kneading the dough strengthens its gluten structure and, over time, the dough will become less sticky and pull away from the side of the bowl.
If you don't have a stand mixer, you can mix and knead the dough by hand! It will take a little longer so consider it a free arm and hand exercise ;).
Advanced kneading method
The advanced method takes a little longer so I recommend using a stand mixer.
First, knead together all the bread ingredients (except the butter) until it forms a rough and stretchy dough with no pockets of flour. If it's too tough, add a dash of milk. The longer you knead, the better!
Next, while the bread is kneading, gradually add the butter (around 3 tablespoons at a time). The first time you add the butter, the dough will resist it... just keep kneading!
When each lot of butter has been mixed in, add a little more. Eventually, your dough will be soft and stretchy.
How to tell if the dough has been kneaded enough?
No matter how you knead your bread, the windowpane test is the best way to tell if your dough is ready.
Simply grab a small piece of dough and stretch it between your fingers. The dough shouldn't break and, if you hold the bread against a light, you should be able to see gluten 'membranes' in the dough.
If the dough tears, just keep kneading!
Tips for the first rise
Place the vegan brioche dough in a bowl, cover it and place it in a humid and WARM spot in your home for 1 hour. It should double in size like below.
If your dough doesn't double in size, move it to a warmer spot. In a cold environment, it can take over 2 hours for the dough to double in size.
Tips for shaping the brioche and second rise
It doesn't really matter how you shape your brioche. You can place it as a whole in a loaf pan or braid it into a pretty challah bread.
However, this is what I did:
- Divide the dough into 4 equal parts
- Shape each part into a smooth ball. Squish each ball into a longer bun shape.
- Squish each 'bun' into a lined loaf pan!
You'll need to rest the brioche for a second time. It should increase in size by around 50% and become puffy again. If you poke the dough, it should spring back slowly (otherwise known as the poke test).
Baking the vegan brioche
The brioche is ready when the top is golden brown. If the top of your bread is turning brown but the middle isn't cooked, simply turn down the temperature or cover the bread with aluminum foil.
While the bread is still warm, brush it with a little maple syrup to create the most beautiful egg-free glaze ever!
See, it is 100% possible to make DELICIOUS vegan French bread!
Customizing this recipe
Replace the flour with whole wheat or spelt flour. The latter two flours won't rise as much and create a denser brioche, but it will still be delicious!
Replace vegan butter for olive oil. I recommend adding a generous pinch of salt to the dough to mimic the buttery flavor and adding more flour as the dough will be softer. The final brioche is a little denser and more cake-like compared to the original brioche.
Replace organic cane sugar for coconut sugar or maple syrup for a refined sugar-free brioche, which will be slightly darker in color.
Replace yeast with a sourdough starter. This brioche rises and bakes well with 75-150g of an active sourdough starter with 100% hydration. For a stronger sourdough flavor, use more starter. Or you can make sourdough cinnamon rolls!
Unfortunately, this recipe will 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
Problem 1: "My bread didn't double in the first rise (when it's in the bowl)"
a: Your brioche dough needs to be in a WARM spot at ~25°C (77°F). This dough is enriched with a lot of butter so it rises slower than regular dough. Try placing the dough in your oven with the light on or in the warmest spot in your home! King Arthur Baking gives some tips on how to keep your dough warm.
The exception is if you're proofing the bread overnight. The dough can be cold because it has more time (8+ hours) to ferment.
b: Your vegan brioche dough is too dry which may be due to your ingredients or incorrectly measuring them. As Steps 1 and 2 say, if your dough is too dry, add a little more dairy-free milk and knead again. The dough should be smooth and stretchy!
If your dough hasn't risen, you can still knead more liquid into it and let it rest again.
c: Your yeast is old and no longer active. If you've already made the dough, you may still be able to find an active batch of yeast, combine it with warm milk then knead it into the dough.
d. Ingredient substitutions affect the rise of the dough. For example, dough made with spelt flour or olive oil will rise slower!
Problem 2: "My bread didn't bake in the middle"
Before you finish baking, make sure you test your dough by inserting a knife or skewer into it.
If the outside is brown and the inside is uncooked, tent it with aluminum foil or cover it with a large oven-proof bowl. This slows down the outside of the bread baking and forces the heat into the middle of the loaf.
If you don't devour the whole brioche fresh, you can enjoy it in many ways:
- Toast a slice and smother it with jam, cream, or any sweet spread!
- Use stale leftovers for vegan french toast casserole. You deserve it!
- Freeze and enjoy it when the cravings hit.
- Crumble the vegan bread, bake it at low heat and use it as a decadent topping for ice cream or other desserts.
More vegan bread recipes!
This brioche is used as the base for many other bread recipes on my site! My favorites are:
Buttery Vegan Brioche
Vegan Brioche Bread
- 3 cups (375g) bread flour, plain / all-purpose flour or white spelt flour (note 1)
- ¾ cup (190g) dairy-free milk, warm, plus more if needed
- ⅔ cup (150g) vegan butter or margarine, room temperature or ½ cup (125g) olive oil
- ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar, or coconut sugar
- 1 tbsp instant dry yeast, (note 2)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp any good quality 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 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 (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. 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 in a clean bowl and cover with a tea towel. Place the dough in a WARM area to double in size for at least 1 hour (note 3).
To shape the brioche:
- Line a 9-inch (20cm) loaf with parchment paper or dust with flour.
- When the dough is puffy, divide it into 4 even sections. Shape each section into a round ball and arrange them in your loaf pan. Cover with a tea towel and leave it in a warm area to rest for at least 1 hour. 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 the brioche 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 it doesn't collect any raw dough. If the bread is browning too quickly but is not baked in the middle, reduce the oven to 160°C (320°F) or tent the brioche with aluminum foil.
- While the brioche is still hot from the oven, brush the top with maple syrup then rest it in the pan 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, in the fridge for 5 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month. Leftover brioche is best enjoyed warmed or toasted.
- Bread flour results in a more traditional bread-like texture whereas all-purpose flour results in a cake-like brioche. Spelt flour absorbs more liquid than regular flour so you may need to add a little more milk than mentioned.
- Instant yeast doesn't need to be 'proofed' beforehand. If you use active dry yeast, combine it with warm milk and a pinch of sugar beforehand. Wait until it bubbles then use it in the recipe.
- The dough can take anywhere from 1-4 hours to rise, depending on the temperature of your home and how you made your dough. If your dough doesn't increase in size, place it in a warmer spot in your house. Read my post above for some tips.
This post was originally published in August 2019 and has been updated a few times since then with an improved recipe that is more similar to traditional French brioche.
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