16 - 18 HOURS
Brioche is one of the most recognised and celebrated bread in the world, brioche Italian or Italiano is my preferred versions. Packed with flavour, brioche Italian is lighter and softer than authentic French brioche. There are quite a few techniques that are used to make brioche, one of the most challenging is shaping brioche à tête.
Fantastic fun, and absolutely delicious! Give this a go - you'll love it! This bread is fantastic eaten with ice cream as done in the isle of Sicily.
These Italian versions are a little more forgiving if the shaping isn’t perfect than the original French brioche. If you don't fancy the traditional brioche à tête shape, they can simply be rounded to make the most delicious brioche rolls.
How to make Italian brioche by video tutorial
For the dough:
500g White bread flour
250g Eggs (5 medium)
25g Fresh yeast (12g active dried)
80g Caster sugar
250g Salted butter (at room temperature)
1 egg and a pinch of salt for the egg wash
A tablespoon of butter for greasing.
For the sugar glaze:
2 tablespoons of caster sugar
A cup of hot water
Method to make brioche rolls
Add the ingredients (minus the butter) to a large mixing bowl and set a 6 minute timer. With a plastic dough scraper, make sweeping circular movements through the ingredients to combine them in the bowl. Once the dough forms a mass, knead slowly on a table, using a slow, stretching motion. Continue this until the timer beeps. At this point the dough will have an even consistency. Scrape the dough back into the mixing bowl, cover with a bag and place it in the fridge for 25 minutes.
Using a dough mixer:
Alternatively you can use a dough mixer. Excluding the butter, add the ingredients to a dough mixer, fitted with a dough hook attachment. Mix on slow speed for 5 minutes, then increase the speed and mix for a further 8 minutes. Slow down the mixer and add the butter, a few cubes at a time. Continue mixing for another 5 minutes, or until the butter is incorporated and nice, luscious, gluten strands are visible in the dough. Skip to step 5.
Fast knead & add the butter
Take the dough out of the fridge and onto a worktop. Set a 5 minute timer and use a stretch, slap and fold technique until the timer beeps. Add the butter all at once and keep kneading for an extra two minutes. Don't worry if it doesn't get fully incorporated. Cover, and place back in the fridge for another 20 minutes.
Remove from the fridge again, and knead on the table using a fast technique until the butter is incorporated and nice, luscious, gluten strands are visible in the dough. This can take up to 8 minutes.
Bulk ferment overnight
Place back in the bowl, cover with a bag or plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for 12-14 hours.
Divide into dough pieces
The next day, take the dough out of the fridge and remove from the bowl to a floured table. Using a metal dough scraper, and a set of scales, divide the dough into 70g pieces and roughly preshape into balls.
Prepare the tray
Leave to rest for 10 minutes on the table whilst greasing a baking sheet with butter or lining with greaseproof paper.
Shape into the brioche à tête shape
Then, starting with the first piece that was cut, shape into balls. Shape into brioche à tête and place onto the baking sheet.
Break an egg, add a pinch of salt and whisk. Use a pastry brush to brush the egg wash over the shaped brioche.
Leave to rise for around 3 hours. This will depend on the temperature of the room. Test with the poke test to check if they're ready. Preheat the oven to 180C (355F).
Egg wash and bake
Again, egg wash the brioche, before baking in the oven for 15-20 minutes. It is best to take them out just before a golden colour is achieved as they continue to brown when they cool.
Glaze and cool
Once baked, allow to cool on a wire rack. Mix the sugar and a couple of drops of boiling water in a cup to dissolve the sugar. Add the glaze over the Italian brioches for a nice shiny surface.
Using dried yeast
If using instant yeast, divide the amount of fresh yeast used by 3 and follow the same method as the recipe. Active dried yeast needs to be activated before use. In this case, warm the milk and water using 10 second bursts in the microwave until it reaches 35C (95F) - no higher. Add the dried yeast and a teaspoon of sugar to the milk, whisk and leave for 10 minutes to bloom. Add the yeasty milk to the recipe when required.
Top tips for the best brioche rolls
You can use unsalted butter for this brioche recipe, just increase the salt to 10g.
When making bread with high amounts of sugar in the recipe, try to use osmotolerant yeast. This type of yeast thrives in high sugar environments where common yeasts often struggle. That said, I used fresh yeast in this recipe and it works great!
Brioche is a sticky dough which is why it has to go into the fridge to cool. It warms up quickly too so work fast when dividing and shaping your rolls.