It’s quite handy that these two tasty treats make a perfect pair.
(I also have a writing obsession with alliteration, so this is just about the most ideal recipe I could ever dream up).
My standard brioche recipe is delicious on its own. But if you’re hoping to up your game the next time you’re assigned roll duty at a dinner party, then adding this one small step will elevate this dough just a bit more.
Browned butter is made when the milk proteins in butter are caramelized. It takes on a toasty, nutty flavor – in fact the French name, beurre noisette, translates literally to “hazelnut butter.”
To make browned butter, simply heat your butter in a medium sized pot. After it melts, it will begin to bubble and foam – cooking off the water. Stir throughout this process to release the bubbles, and soon you will see small brown specks forming on the bottom of the pot.
I recommend browning your butter in a light-colored pot so that you can keep a watchful eye on this transformation. You can go from perfectly toasty to a bitter burn in a matter of a few seconds.
As soon as you can smell the nice hint of nuttiness and see the brown specks in the base of the pan, turn off the heat and transfer your butter to a heatproof bowl to cool. Don’t leave it in the pot or else the residual heat will continue to cook – again, taking you into the unwanted realm of scorched solids.
Let the butter cool in the fridge for half an hour, then use it just as you would the regular butter in my standard brioche recipe!
See our complete guide for full details on making browned butter, including step by step photos.
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step One – Brown
In a medium sized pot, brown the butter for my standard brioche recipe.
As the butter melts, it will begin to bubble and foam – cooking off all of the water. Make sure you use a pot big enough that it does not overflow!
Stir the butter regularly to release the bubbles and in order to keep an eye on the bottom of the pot.
As soon as brown flecks begin to form, take the pot off the heat and transfer the butter to a heatproof bowl to cool. Let chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Step Two – Mix
Mix the brioche recipe according to the standard directions outlined in my basic brioche post (link above). When it comes time to add the butter, simply add the browned butter one third at a time.
Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 12 hours or overnight. This not only develops most of the flavor, but it makes it easy to work with as well.
Step Three – Shape
Divide the chilled dough into 2-ounce pieces and shape into rounds. For a more detailed explanation of how to do this, refer to my ultimate guide to shaping!
Place the rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, or a silicone mat. They will double in size as they proof and bake, so be sure to give them plenty of space.
Step Four – Proof
Let the rolls proof at room temperature. Though it might be tempting to speed the process up by placing in a warm environment, the high volume of butter in brioche dough performs better at a cooler temperature.
They are ready for baking when they can be touched lightly with a fingertip and the indentation slowly returns to its original form.
While the dough is proofing, preheat the oven to 325°F.
Step Five – Bake
When the rolls are finished proofing, brush them with an egg wash. This is simply an egg that’s whisked together, sometimes with a touch of water. Get out your balloon whisk and a medium-sized bowl and you’re good to go.
Brushing the tops of the rolls with this wash gives them a beautiful sheen and a deep golden color when they’re done.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until the rolls are a nicely browned.
Step Six – Finish
While the buns are still warm from the oven, you have the option of brushing with some additional brown butter and sprinkling with a nice finishing salt. Though not necessary, this simple finish adds the perfect final touch.
Roll out with the Best Bread on the Block
These buns make the perfect addition to any dinner party, but don’t let a slow social season hold you back. They also make great hamburger buns, sandwich rolls, or a sweet breakfast treat, too!
Have you ever made a browned butter bread before? What’s your favorite use for this toasty treat? Let us know in the comments below!
And if you love brown butter as much as I do, I’m sure that you’ll love some our other recipes:
- Pumpkin Pie with Sage and Brown Butter
- Pecorino-Encrusted Cod in Brown Butter
- Roasted Carrot Ravioli in Thyme Brown Butter
- Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Brown Butter Sage Sauce
- Brown Butter Shortbread Cookies
- Grandma’s Brown Butter Cookies
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Photos by Kendall Vanderslice, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.
About Kendall Vanderslice
Kendall’s love of food has taken her around the world. From baking muffins on a ship in West Africa and milking cows with Tanzanian Maasai, to hunting down the finest apfelstrudel in Austria, she continually seeks to understand the global impact of food. Kendall holds a BA in Anthropology from Wheaton College and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University, and has worked in the pastry departments of many of Boston’s top kitchens. Based in Somerville, Massachusetts, Kendall helps to run a small community supported bread bakery and writes about the intersection of food, faith, and culture on her personal blog, A Vanderslice of the Sweet Life.