French Fridays with Dorie: Bubble-Top Brioche Rolls

New month, new year, new recipe for French Fridays with Dorie. I actually wanted to try making bread during my end of year break from work. I never got around to it, but when this year’s first recipe for brioche was announced, I was thrilled!

I love the idea of making bread. The alchemy of yeast, flour and a few other ingredients transforming into bread is so simple and magical at the same time. It’s not even labor-intensive. The blocker for me is finding chunks of continuous time in a sequence that works for all the steps to come together. With its 3 eggs and 1½ sticks of butter, brioche isn’t really everyday bread, but I found it easy to mesh the rising schedule of this particular recipe into mine. The overnight rest in the refrigerator really helped with the timing.

I found a jar of yeast in my refrigerator. It was within the “use by” period, but the jar also said “best used within 6 months of opening”. From the 1/11 written on the lid, I could see it had been open for a year, so had some doubts. I followed the instructions to proof the yeast to see if it was still good. After dissolving the yeast in warm water and adding a pinch of sugar, I waited for 10 minutes to see what happened. It grew and grew, so I went ahead and used my “not best” yeast. It was fine.

Proof Test on Left



Technology worked in my favor for this recipe. The KitchenAid mixer did all the work of kneading the dough. Plus, I had a chance to try out the “bread proof” setting on my new oven. Ideal conditions for letting bread rise would be a warm, draft-free spot. That sort of spot can’t be found in my cool, drafty, sesquicentennial house in the winter. The cocoon inside the 100F oven worked magic. Voila!



I was a little worried as I worked through the recipe because my dough didn’t match Dorie’s description of what to expect. The dough was never like a batter after I mixed in the eggs. It was not sticky when I rolled the dough into the trio of balls for the bubble-tops. It was always smooth and silky. Despite expectations to the contrary, I found the dough was easy to work with.

As I said, brioche isn’t everyday bread. It is quite rich, eggy like a challah, but not as sweet and not as soft and squishy, more elegant. The bubble-top brioche rolls were baked in muffin tins to make little rolls. They are perfect with a bowl of soup or for breakfast. I gave the leftovers a few minutes in the oven to warm them up. (By the way, I’m starting to think that Dorie sets the bar much higher than I do for leftovers. For many of her recipes, including the brioche, she implies the leftovers won’t be good, but, in my experience, they’ve been fine.)

Recently, I wrote about how crazy my dog Bella is about challah (with cute pictures). I don’t know what it is about her and egg breads, but she was hanging out in front of the oven while the bread was baking, and I had to keep a close eye on her while it was cooling on the counter. I used one of the rolls as a treat to keep her still while Howard applied the monthly tube of Intercept (anti-flea and tick treatment, for the non-dog owners) to her back.

I would definitely make brioche again. I’d like to try it in loaf form next time. Besides making a lovely breakfast, I love brioche for grilled cheese sandwiches.

I’m looking forward to reading about how brioche worked out for my fellow FFwD bloggers. I’m hoping someone baked a loaf so I can take notes on that. Check out their links at French Fridays with Dorie. We don’t post the recipes, but this one was already published here on Bon Appetit’s website. Still consider getting your own copy of the book, Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. And you’re always welcome to cook along with us on Fridays.

Happy French Friday!


Posted on 6 January 2012, in Baking, Bella, French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. Your Bella has amazing taste!
    I actually made Challah bread last year and just like making these rolls, it was sooo satisfying!
    Your brioche looks great!

  2. Well I’m all kinds of jealous after reading your post. Next time I buy a new oven I will definitely be checking to make sure that it has a bread proofing setting, that’s great! I always have a hard time finding a warm enough place in my apartment.

    Your rolls look delicious!

  3. Haha–I always thought that I was high maintenance when it came to leftovers (ie, i usually don’t like them after a day or two), but yes, Dorie is VERY picky on this front. I always seem to enjoy her leftovers, even when she says they won’t be good.

    I didn’t even know there was such a thing as an oven with a bread proof setting. Sweet!

  4. I think we all did quite well on these brioches….well risen and the soft and springy texture full of buttery and eggy flavor. I love it and shall make this again :) Yours look good too :)

  5. Your in-process pictures look great! As do the final baked rolls. Am envious of the proofing setting – I don’t bake much anymore but that would be great for yogurt.

  6. Your rolls look delicious! You’re so right about standards for leftovers :-) Guess I don’t have a chefs palate because I also find most things we’ve tried are just fine as leftovers.

  7. I’ve seen just people who loved the brioches when they just came out of the oven. We loved them to.

  8. Betsy, I has some trepidation as I was working through this bread. My dough seemed very wet. But in the end it turned out great. Yours looks so delicious! How yummy…brioche grilled with cheese!!

  9. Hi Betsy! Looks like your brioche rolls turned out great, Congrats!

  10. I am fascinated by the chemistry of bread baking too. Your rolls turned out well. Don’t you hate it in winter when there is no warm, non- draughty spot to be found!

  11. It took me a while to discover that my new oven also had a bread rising setting (mine is 85F). I agree with you–such a boon on a cold, windy winter day!

  12. I definitely loved the loaf version. Your rolls turned out wonderfully!

  13. You used the word “alchemy” :-)
    Glad this worked out for you. I keep telling everyone that 2012 needs to be the “year of yeast”…

  14. I froze my leftovers and they reheated very well! I have a ho-hum relationship with yeast, but lucked out with these little beauties. Maybe I should join Cher’s campaign!

  15. I’m eager to try my leftovers as french toast!

  16. I want to make this again, but make loaves so I can make french toast and have it toasted with butter and jam. For some reason, the flavor was even butter in the loaf shape than in the rolls. How cool that you have a bread proof setting on your oven. I have not heard of that! Your brioche looks so pretty. I hope Bella got a little taste! :) Have a good weekend!

  17. I don’t throw out leftovers either. We enjoyed these for three days – just gave them a little warming in the oven and they freshened right up. I thought the texture was very challah-like, but as my husband said, with extra buttery yumminess, or something like that!

  18. These rolls look buttery and moist. I am sure they taste good too. I would love to have an oven like yours that have bread proof setting.

  19. Wait now *I* want an oven with that setting too! Interesting test to see if the yeast is still ok – I never know but have just started writing the “opened on” date on the jars. Your brioche are absolutely darling!

  20. They look delicious! Glad you had fun making these!
    Cute … My favorite of 2012 to… Ha!

  21. I’ve never heard of a “bread proof” setting on an oven. That’s so cool – my kitchen is very drafty and I always struggle with getting my bread to rise. Your brioche are beautiful. I love the idea of brioche grilled cheese!

  22. I bet the French Toast leftovers were a hit with everyone – four paws??? I also never know about those use by and best by dates. They look delish!

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