It's golden, it's soft, and it's pillowy. The it is brioche, a sweet French pastry bread that's used for everything from gourmet hamburger buns to the most luxurious French toast. We know it's delicious, but exactly what is brioche? As a lover of all things bread, I did some digging to figure out how this French bread is made and what makes it so special. 

What Is Brioche? 

Brioche uses ingredients similar to those found in regular bread, like yeast, flour, butter, and eggs. But unlike your average sandwich bread, you need lots of eggs and butter to make brioche. Brioche is generally known as a Viennoiserie, which just means it is a baked good made from a leavened yeast dough, like a croissant. Brioche needs to proof twice, meaning it must rest to allow the yeast to do its thing so that the dough can rise (this is only done if you're baking it in a loaf pan, though).


The word 'brioche' first appeared in 1404. Brioche is believed to have been adapted from a classic Norman recipe, but some people argue that it's of Romanian origin, because in Romania there's a very similar holiday bread. In France, The Viennese Bakery in particular made this bread well known, and it was all uphill from there. Over time, the recipe and ingredients used to make brioche have been adapted slightly, and therefore the brioche we eat today isn't necessarily what the OG brioche tasted like. 

Brioche Recipes 

french toast, sweet, cake, toast, syrup, pastry, bread, honey
Ellen Gibbs

If you're looking to try your hand at brioche, there are so many things you can make with it. This basic brioche recipe should only be attempted if you have a whole afternoon free. For something a little easier, buy a loaf of brioche and make this fried brioche PB&J (it's truly spectacular). Or put your bread to good use in this Bailey's hazelnut brioche French toast. Brioche can be used for any number of decadent dishes, so dress it up however you like! 

Let's all take a moment to thank the French for bringing this golden, flaky pastry in our lives. Now that you know what brioche is, it's about time you make something special with it. Bon appétit!