I went to a very small middle school in Massachusetts that had its fair share of weird traditions. The weirdest, by far, was Bread Day. We celebrated Bread Day on the day before Thanksgiving. Students were encouraged to bake bread with their family and bring it in. We had an assembly during which people would share family stories about bread. The school’s music teacher even wrote a song about this invented holiday and I still remember every word to it. “Give me some light rye, dark rye, pumpernickel, dill / Whole wheat, oatmeal, I’ll never get my fill.” Why did we do this? Who can say.
All this to say, I might have more bread-based knowledge than your average person. However, despite this, I didn’t know much about brioche bread until I researched it for this article. What is brioche bread? What does brioche taste like? How is brioche bread different from normal bread? Let’s break into the bread facts.
What is brioche bread?
Brioche is a pastry bread that comes from France and dates back to at least 1401. It is richer and sweeter than most other breads.
What makes brioche bread different?
I’m about to blow your mind right now, because it turns out that brioche bread is not, strictly speaking, considered bread. You see, technically, brioche is in the category of pastry known as Viennoiserie. This is because while it is made in the style of bread, it also uses additional ingredients—namely, egg, butter, cream, and sometimes sugar. Pain au chocolat is another pastry in this category.
These ingredients give brioche its distinctive taste and texture, and what makes this not-quite-bread different from its neighbors in the bread aisle.
Is brioche bread sweet?
Yes, brioche is sweeter than your average bread because of the butter and cream, and the occasional addition of straight up sugar. Keep in mind that it’s still not sugary sweet, but it’s absolutely more sweet than savory.
What does brioche bread taste like?
Because of its richer ingredients, brioche has a sweeter taste than most bread. It’s less buttery than a croissant and less sugary than a cookie, but it has a distinctive pastry-like quality to it.
What to make with brioche bread?
Because it’s a little outside of the regular wheat, rye, or white bread rotation, you might be wondering what to do with brioche bread. Well, its rich, pastry-ish, slightly sweet flavor makes it good for both sweet dishes (like French toast) or savory dishes (like stuffing).
Fork Knife Swoon has a great example of the former, with this recipe for raspberry brioche bread pudding. For this sweet treat, you’ll need cubed brioche, sugar, salt, eggs, sour cream, milk, vanilla extract, orange zest, and raspberries.
On the savory side of things, Food & Wine has a recipe for pesto-and-cheese-stuffed brioche scrolls with bacon tomato jam. These salty cousins of cinnamon rolls require bacon, onion, garlic, tomato, vinegar, pesto, asiago cheese, egg, and brown sugar and the result is a mouthwatering morsel of flavors.
That’s the 411 on brioche bread. In the words of the Bread Day Song, “It’s soft, filling, scrumptious, satisfying / Please pass the bread to me, m’mm, m’mm, m’mm.”