Brioche vs croissant – what’s the difference?

/ / / Brioche vs croissant – what’s the difference?

Brioche and croissant are two of the most acclaimed bread in the world. Both of them have a long history of praise for their buttery and delicate goodness. Both are French, (though the croissant is actually from Viennese bakers!) and both can contain eggs. Despite the similarities, there is actually a big difference in a brioche vs croissant comparison. If you want to know what they are, let’s go!

While both almost have the same ingredients, croissant differs from brioche in the amount of butter it contains. A croissant has twice the amount of butter, and its dough is rolled and layered with it to make a crescent shape. While brioche is a versatile bread that can be applied to many baked goods, it contains more eggs and sugar.  Layers, baked at a higher temperature

How is brioche made?

Brioche is a delicious sweet bread that is comparable to the texture of a cake. It’s made with the ingredients of flour, yeast, salt, eggs, sugar, milk, and butter. As the dough can be sticky and hard to handle, it is often prepared the day before. After it is mixed and left to bulk ferment on the worktop it’s then placed in the fridge overnight. Once the dough is cool it is then divided and shaped into its final design.

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Types of brioche

Back in the day, there were two main types of brioche dough, poor man’s and rich man’s brioche. They differ by the amount of butter added to a recipe. Of course, the elite were always served heavily-buttered brioche (85%), while the lower class were served with the ones with less (60%) butter! As years went by, “middle class” brioche became available too!.

Today, a lot of the brioche is eaten outside if France fails to contain nearly enough butter to be classed as brioche. Calling them enriched loaves or rolls might be accurate!

A classic serving of brioche is a small, round roll baked in a fluted dish with a tiny head on top. It’s also often sprinkled with pearl sugar which gives a sweet crunch. This type is called brioche à tête, but there’s more!

Brioche à Tête

A dry brioche that’s proofed and baked in a fluted tin. The brioche à tête is the classic design for a brioche that takes skill and elegance to prepare.

Pogne

This is an enriched bread that uses blossom orange water and lemon. Traditionally served at Easter.

https://www.ardeche-hermitage.com/en/agenda/detail/musee-de-la-pogne-pascalis-112678/

Cougnou

https://londoneats.wordpress.com/2018/12/18/5-cougnou/

The “bread of Jesus” gets its nickname due to its shape that’s reminiscent of a swaddled baby. A soft brioche, similar to the Brioscia Siciliano from Italy. Can be filled with chocolate chips or raisins.

Brioche Vendéenne

A braided loaf that’s adapted across the world. The original brioche vendéenne has a light texture and alcohol, vanilla, orange, and butter aromas. 

Fallue

Brioche artisanale de Normandie aux pépites de chocolat – La Fallue 

A traditional brioche that’s sold in an oval shape with an irregular top. This classic brioche originates from Normandy and contains crème fraîche. 

Brioche de Nanterre

This bread uses a traditional brioche recipe. The dough is divided into balls and placed into a bread tin. As the loaf proofs, the balls connect to each other to make the ultimate tear-and-share bread.

Brioscia Siciliano

The Italian version of brioche is often sweetened with honey. It’s a soft brioche that’s shaped using the brioche à tête method yet proofed on a flat baking sheet. The perfect brioche for an ice cream sandwich!

Brioche Saint Genix

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The pink praline-crusted French brioche was invented in 1880 by pastry chef Pierre Labully at his family-owned pâtisserie. It is a leavened base of brioche that has been enriched with crushed sugar-coated nuts associated with Lyon, France.

Gâche Vendéenne

https://world.openfoodfacts.org/product/41121085/gache-vendeenne-igp-reflets-de-france

Gâche vendéenne is a pastry product from the French region of Vendée that’s oval in shape and has a fine golden crust. It has to always be sold fresh and whole, never sliced. The flavour is milky but it also includes aromas of butter and vanilla as well as undertones of orange flavours. Originally made on festive days such Easter or weddings.

Brioche tressée de Metz

https://www.cuisinonsencouleurs.fr/2012/03/brioche-tressee.html

The classic French brioche bread is made with buttery dough and shaped in braids. Its name even means “braided”. The origin of the bread closely relates to Lorraine, France’s eastern part where Metz city lies. Chill before serving before a meal.

How is a croissant made?

Croissant dough is made and chilled. It’s then rolled with a rolling pin or a pastry sheeter. Then a block of butter is placed on the dough. The butter is then wrapped like a parcel of dough. The croissant dough is then rolled out and folded over itself to create the layers of pastry required. 

The dough is then cut into triangles and rolled up into a croissant shape. The pieces are then left to proof on a baking sheet and glazed with egg wash before baking.

Types of croissant

Croissant is a breakfast pastry that’s usually accompanied by un café in cafes. It’s registered as a product of special interest in France although it is related to the original crescent. This is a pastry from Vienna.

The bread was introduced to France in x. It is made with the same pastry dough as pain au raisin, pain au chocolate and Palmier. This group of pastries become know as viennoiserie across France.

Because of this pastry’s flaky texture, some people slice to make sandwiches filled with ham and cheese. A simple croissant can be eaten alone, or with butter.

Cornetto

Cornetto is the Italian version of a croissant. While croissant is a French translation of crescent, cornetto is Italian for “little horn”. A cornetto contains less butter than a croissant and more sugar. A cornetto is softer, whilst a croissant has flaky pastry. Occasionally a cornetto is called a “brioche croissant”, but the thought of calling it this makes many artisan bakers feel a little bit sick.

The “cornetto vuoto” (an empty cornetto) is without a filling. A cornetto ripieni is filled and more popular. Common fillings include marmalade, honey, pastry cream and Nutella.

Almond

An almond croissant is often a day-old croissant that’s been sliced and brushed with an almond glaze and then almond cream is sandwiched between the slices. It’s a great way to lower food waste however many bakers will make a special almond croissant from scratch. The top is often sprinkled with sliced almonds and icing sugar. 

Sourdough

As its name suggests, a sourdough croissant is made with a sourdough starter levain. It gives the croissant a more interesting and complex flavour. Definitely worth a try!

Chocolate

A chocolate croissant is filled with a chocolate creme that’s made with a chocolate creme patisserie or Nutella. But don’t confuse this with pain au chocolat, they are a different bread that uses the same dough recipe.

Margarine croissants

Margarine croissants are popular in the US. They have a curved shape like a  crescent moon. Cheaper than traditional French croissants, but (depending on who you speak to) are just as nice.

Bake from frozen croissant

Frozen croissants are the perfect choice for supermarkets or small shops where they don’t have the skill to make them. It’s a ready-to-bake croissant. All you need to do is lay them on a tray and bake them.

Which is better, brioche or croissant?

If you’re going to judge it from a baker’s perspective, brioche is much easier to make than a croissant. Making croissants takes more skill to perfect.

But from a consumer’s perspective, the real difference between the two is their texture and crumb. A true croissant is buttery with a flaky crumb, while a brioche is more bread-like and soft.

Served plain with no toppings, a croissant is best for those who prefer a more buttery pastry snack. While the brioche is perfect for those who want that sweet bread with a cake-like texture. Whether you prefer one over the other, it’s all totally up to your taste, both are really great baked goods. 

If you still can’t decide between the two, you can combine both of them by making a brioche croissant! It’s still a laminated croissant made with a soft bread-like texture of brioche. If you’re keen on learning about that, leave a comment below so I can explain how it’s done! 

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