Stir together this one-bowl, Overnight No-Knead Brioche Bread before bed. When you rise, it will be ready to shape and bake. It's the most tender, buttery bread that's wonderful for toast, sandwiches or for your next dinner party!
My mom was famous for her fabulous homemade bread. She would bake ten (yes TEN!) loaves at a time and made it seem like it was child's play. We all loved her bread and enjoyed it toasted for breakfast, warm and crusty in the dinnertime bread basket or for sandwiches of all kinds. When I served this bread to our son Nick for the first time, he took one bite and said, "This bread! It's better than grandma's!" I knew we had a winner!
Better and easier than grandma's bread...
And guess what? I used to watch my mom make her homemade bread and this no-knead brioche bread is WAY easier than the way she did it. Of course, she probably had really shapely arms because of all that kneading, but I can think of more fun ways to get shapely arms (or "guns" as my kids call them!).
The magic happens while you sleep...
The whole process from start to finish will take 10-12 hours, on average, but it's 99% hands-off time. Good bread can't be hurried when it comes to rising. And that's exactly where the majority of the time is involved with this recipe.
Your part is super easy. You simply stir together flour, sugar, yeast, salt, eggs, butter and water until it's well-mixed. Cover the dough, refrigerate and have yourself some sweet dreams. The magic will be taking place in the refrigerator. You'll know what I mean when you check things out in the morning. The dough will be light, airy, will have climbed up the bowl and be ready to roll (literally!).
I like to make four small (my pans are 3x6-inch) loaves of bread with this recipe, but you can also make two larger loaves.
Keep a stash of this no-knead brioche bread in the freezer
This no-knead brioche bread freezes beautifully. It's so nice to pull a loaf out for breakfast, lunch or dinner. As soon as my stash is depleted, I make another batch since it takes so little time. If I'm making it during the day, I can run out, do a few errands, have lunch with a friend, pick up groceries, and the dough just does its own thing while I'm gone.
I like to pop the little loaves back in the oven after thawing and get the crust nice and crisp. The hot bread is fabulous served sliced in a breadbasket. It's also wonderful for sandwiches (grilled cheese are amazing!), with salads or alongside soup (pictured below is my Fresh Spinach Soup - delish!)
Even if you've never made bread before, give this no-knead brioche bread a try! Because the recipe calls for instant (or rapid-rise yeast) there are no worries about activating the yeast. Instant yeast is combined with the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt) and activates on its own when the warm liquid is added.
You might even get a reputation like my mom had as a famous little old bread baker!
Café Tips for making this Overnight No-Knead Brioche Bread
- This recipe calls for "hot tap water". What that means is water that feels hot if you dip your finger in it but not so hot that you need to quickly pull it out. If you want to use an instant thermometer, the temp should be between 118-122˚F (47-50˚C).
- This recipe calls for instant (or rapid-rise) yeast. Don't try to use regular dry yeast. Instant (or rapid-rise) yeast can be found at most grocery stores right next to the regular yeast. It usually comes in small packets which hold 2¼ teaspoons, but you can also purchase rapid rise yeast in bulk which is infinitely cheaper!
- When turning the dough out onto the counter to form the loaves, use plenty of flour. If the dough is sticking to your hands or the work surface, you need more flour. Just keep flipping the dough in the flour till it's not sticky.
- A baker's bench scraper is a wonderful tool when working with bread dough. It keeps your fingers from getting sticky as you can use the scraper to turn the dough in the flour to coat it. It's also a great clean-up tool to scrape any excess dough from the counter.
- I like to let the bread cool completely then slip individually into bread bags and pop them into a freezer. A few hours before serving I pull a loaf or two out to thaw, then re-warm the bread in the oven at 300˚F for about 10 minutes - or until it's nice and crusty.
- If you want to make the dough in less time, just don't refrigerate it. It will take 2-3 hours to rise and then you can proceed with forming the loaves. Bake as directed once the loaves have risen. The bread has a deeper flavor with the long, slow rise but if you're in a pinch, you can do it without the refrigeraton.
- You'll need 4 small baking pans to make this brioche bread, approximately 3x6-inches. I've had these Chicago Metallic pans for several years and really like them. They're non-stick and come out of the dishwasher looking like new.
- If you want larger loaves, you could also use two 8x4-inch pans.
- This no-knead brioche bread is fabulous with a smear of butter and a dollop of this Overnight Raspberry Freezer Jam (pictured above). If you missed the fresh raspberry season, no worries, the jam can be made from frozen berries.
Thought for the day:
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
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Stir together this one-bowl, Overnight No-Knead Brioche Bread before bed. When you rise, it will be ready to shape and bake. It's the most tender, buttery bread that's wonderful for toast, sandwiches or your next dinner party!
- 4 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 envelope instant yeast 2 ¼ teaspoons,7 grams, or ¼ ounce
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 egg
- 1 ¼ cups hot tap water
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon tap water
- soft butter for greasing the pans
Combine flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a medium-large bowl. Stir well to combine then make a well in the center.
Melt butter in the microwave for 30-45 seconds on high power, until just melted. Remove from microwave and add the ¼ cup of milk. Stir with a fork then add the egg and stir again until well mixed.
Add the milk mixture to the well in the center of the flour. Add the very warm tap water to the well then stir to combine. Continue stirring until all flour is incorporated. Cover the dough rightly with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight, 8-16 hours.
Generously butter four 3x6-inch loaf pans and set them aside. (Alternatively, you could use two 8x5-inch loaf pans.)
Generously flour a work surface and transfer the dough to the work surface. Turn several times with a bench scraper or spatula until the dough is well coated with flour.
Using a bench scraper or spatula, divide the dough into four equal pieces. Turn each piece in the flour to coat all of the surfaces. Add more flour to the work surface if needed.
Take one piece of the dough and flatten it out with your hands into a rectangle shape with the long side slightly longer than one of your bread pans. Turn to coat both sides with flour if any of the surfaces are sticky.
Roll up tightly like a cinnamon roll, then tuck the ends under and shape with your hands into a loaf. Place in one of the prepared pans. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough. Cover the pans with a clean kitchen towel and let the bread rise again until the loaves look like they’ve doubled in size, about 1-2 hours (if your house is chilly, it may take a little longer.
When the loaves are close to being doubled in size, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Prepare the egg wash by vigorously whisking together one large egg with 1 tablespoon of water.
With a pastry brush, brush each loaf over the top with the egg wash. Try to be careful not to let the wash drip down the sides of the loaves into the pan.
Place loaves in the preheated oven for 18-25 minutes or until golden brown. Check it after 15 minutes. If it's getting too brown on the top, cover it with foil for the last 3-8 minutes. (Larger loaves will take longer.)
Remove bread from pans and transfer to a cooling rack. (If bread is stuck to the side of the pan anywhere (from the egg wash), loosen it with a small thin-bladed knife.) Allow to cool before slicing. Enjoy!
See Café Tips above in post for more detailed instructions and tips.
Recipe adapted from Alexandra Cooks.
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