Renewing your spirit one bite at a time

Sourdough Brioche by Hand


This hand-made sourdough brioche recipe is rich and decadent, perfect for all skill levels. While many brioche recipes require a stand mixer due to the sticky and challenging dough, this one is designed for those who prefer to do everything by hand. Traditional brioche is made with eggs, sugar, and milk, and this recipe includes all of those elements, with the delightful addition of sourdough.

sourdough brioche

The result is a rich, buttery, and soft bread with a deeper flavor from the fermentation process. This process enhances the flavor and texture and makes the bread more nutritious and easier to digest. It’s a must-add to your list of favorite recipes!

What is sourdough brioche?

Sourdough brioche is a luxurious bread made with a sourdough starter instead of commercial yeast. This enriched dough features eggs, sugar, butter, and milk, creating a delightful balance of flavors—richness from the sourdough and sweetness from the other ingredients.

Its texture is incredibly soft, with pieces that effortlessly peel away. The crumb is tender, encased in a golden, slightly crisp crust. Making this divine treat is as enjoyable as eating it!

sourdough brioche

How can I use sourdough brioche?

There are many ways you can enjoy this beautiful loaf of bread! Here are a few traditional ways that most utilize brioche:

  • French Toast: Dip thick slices of sourdough brioche in a mixture of eggs, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon, then cook until golden brown. Top with fresh berries, maple syrup, and a dusting of powdered sugar for a decadent breakfast treat.
  • Bread Pudding: Cube the brioche and combine it with a custard mixture of eggs, cream, sugar, and vanilla. Bake until set for a rich and comforting dessert.
  • Gourmet Sandwiches: Use slices of sourdough brioche for elevated sandwiches. The bread’s soft texture and sweetness pair beautifully with savory fillings like roasted turkey, brie, cranberry sauce, ham, Swiss cheese, and Dijon mustard.
  • Sweet & savory fillings: This dough is incredibly versatile and perfect for incorporating a variety of fillings. For a sweet treat, you can add chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, or seeds. If you prefer a savory option, fill it with cheese and your favorite sauce to create a unique and delicious sandwich bread.
sourdough brioche piece

Is sourdough brioche hard to make by hand?

Sourdough brioche often requires a stand mixer due to the high butter content, which can be tricky to fold in by hand. However, this recipe uses just one stick of butter added gradually.

Each step is broken down with pictures for guidance. While making brioche does take patience due to kneading, the slow fermentation, and long rise times, the hands-on work is minimal. Don’t be intimidated! If you’ve baked sourdough bread before, you can make sourdough brioche by hand!

sourdough brioche

Why I love this recipe

  • Sweet levain: This recipe calls for an active, bubbly sweet levain that gives the bread a vigorous rise and mutes the sour flavor.
  • 100% sourdough: This 100% sourdough recipe makes it a healthier option and easier to digest.
  • No equipment: With this recipe being done by hand, no equipment is required.
sourdough brioche roll

How to make sourdough brioche (by hand)

Baker’s schedule: Day 1: make the sweet levain the evening before the dough is mixed.

Day 2: Mix the dough, allow it to ferment, and place it in the refrigerator overnight

Day 3: Shape the brioche bread, let it rise, and bake.

Fermentation times can vary due to temperature, watch the dough, not the clock.

Equipment
Ingredients

For the sweet levain:

  • 15 grams sourdough starter (fed within the past 12-24 hours)
  • 15 grams sugar
  • 50 grams water
  • 50 grams all-purpose flour

For the dough

  • 450 grams of bread flour
  • 3 eggs (150 grams see notes)
  • 100 grams of whole milk
  • 50 grams sugar
  • 10 grams salt
  • 100 grams of sweet levain (from above)
  • 113 grams of unsalted butter (softened)
  • Eggwash: 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of water

Make the sweet levain

  • The evening before the dough is mixed, add the sourdough starter, sugar, and water to a clean jar. Stir until the starter and sugar dissolve and the water becomes milky.
  • Next, add the flour and stir until there are no dry bits of flour left. Loosely cover the jar and allow the levain to rest for 10-12 hours.

Mix the dough

  • Warm the milk in the microwave for 30-45 seconds and add it to a mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar and sourdough starter until dissolved.
  • Next, add in the 3 eggs and ensure they weigh around 150 grams. If they exceed this, plan to add in (5-10 grams more of bread flour).
  • Lastly, add the bread flour, salt, and half of the softened butter (56 grams). Mix until the dough comes together and no dry bits of flour are visible.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30-45 minutes.

Mix in the remaining butter

  • After the dough has rested, take the remaining softened butter and start by spreading it over the top of the dough and dimpling it in while still in the bowl.
  • Then, place it on a clean work surface and start to knead the butter into the dough by folding the dough into itself repetitively. Try not to use more than a tablespoon of flour during this process.
  • During the kneading process, the dough is going to get stickier and the butter will be all over the work surface. Use a dough scraper to clean it and put it back into the dough. See pictures & videos below.
  • The kneading process takes about 8-10 minutes. If the dough starts to tear at any point, allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes before returning to it. Also if you simply need a break, let the dough rest. It becomes easier to knead after resting.
  • The dough has been properly kneaded once it is no longer sticky and is smooth. Once this has been achieved place it in a buttered bowl and cover it for 45 minutes.
kneaded sourdough brioche dough

Stretch and fold the dough

  • To ensure optimal gluten development perform 1 stretch and fold after it has rested. Then cover it and allow it to rise in the warmest spot in your kitchen (do not place it anywhere over 80 degrees F as you don’t want the butter to melt out of the dough).
stretch and fold brioche dough

Second bulk rise

  • Once the dough has doubled in size (mine took 8 hours at 73 degrees F) place it in the refrigerator overnight (the dough can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours).
  • If you would like to shape and bake the same day, refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours before shaping. It makes it much easier to work with.

Shape and second rise

  • The following morning remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it onto a clean work surface.
  • Weigh the dough and divide it into 6 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball by pinching the seams together and rolling it on the counter.
  • Place each ball into a buttered loaf pan. They can be squeezed in using a dough scraper or your hands. Don’t be afraid to mold them to ensure they fit, they will even out during their second rise.
  • Lastly, cover the pan with oiled plastic wrap and allow it to rest in the warmest spot in your kitchen. Tip: place it in your oven with the oven light on.
  • The dough is ready once it has risen well above the rim of the pan, is puffy, and soft to the touch. This can take 6-8 hours depending on the temperature. It is important to allow it to rise the necessary time before baking.
sourdough brioche

Brush & Bake

  • Once the dough has finished its second rise, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Mix together the eggwash and brush the dough with it and bake for 35-40 minutes or until it turns golden brown.
sourdough brioche dough - brush egg mixture
  • Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes in the pan before transferring it to a cooling rack. Let it cool completely before slicing (1-2 hours).
  • Sourdough brioche is best enjoyed on the same day, but can last up to 3 days in an airtight container or bread bag on the counter.
sourdough brioche bread

More sourdough recipes

sourdough brioche
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Sourdough Brioche by Hand (no mixer needed!)

This rich and decadent sourdough brioche recipe is incredibly soft and designed to be easily made by hand!
Prep Time45 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Resting time1 day 6 hours
Course: Appetizer, Dessert, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: sourdough brioche
Servings: 1 loaf

Equipment

  • Mixing bowl
  • Food scale
  • Silicone scraper tool
  • 9×5 loaf pan

Ingredients

For the sweet levain

  • 15 grams sourdough starter fed within 12-24 hours
  • 15 grams sugar
  • 50 grams water
  • 50 grams all-purpose flour

For the dough

  • 450 grams bread flour
  • 100 grams milk
  • 50 grams sugar
  • 10 grams salt
  • 100 grams sweet levain from above
  • 113 grams unsalted butter softened
  • 3 medium eggs (150 grams) see notes

For the eggwash

  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 teaspoon water

Instructions

Make the sweet leavin

  • The evening before the dough is mixed, add the sourdough starter, sugar, and water to a clean jar. Stir until the starter and sugar dissolve and the water becomes milky.
  • Next, add the flour and stir until there are no dry bits of flour left. Loosely cover the jar and allow the levain to rest for 10-12 hours.

Mix the dough

  • Warm the milk in the microwave for 30-45 seconds and add it to a mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar and sourdough starter until dissolved.
  • Next, add in the 3 eggs and ensure they weigh around 150 grams. If they exceed this, plan to add in (5-10 grams more of bread flour).
  • Lastly, add the bread flour, salt, and half of the softened butter (56 grams). Mix until the dough comes together and no dry bits of flour are visible.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30-45 minutes.

Mix in the remaining butter

  • After the dough has rested, take the remaining softened butter and start by spreading it over the top of the dough and dimpling it in while still in the bowl.
  • Then, place it on a clean work surface and start to knead the butter into the dough by folding the dough into itself repetitively. Try not to use more than a tablespoon of flour during this process.
  • During the kneading process the dough is going to get stickier and the butter will be all over the work surface. Use a dough scraper to clean it up and put it back into the dough. See pictures & videos above.
  • The kneading process takes about 8-10 minutes. If the dough starts to tear at any point, allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes before returning to it. Also if you simply need a break, let the dough rest. It becomes easier to knead after resting.
  • The dough has been properly kneaded once it is no longer sticky and is smooth. Once this has been achieved place it in a buttered bowl and cover it for 45 minutes.

Stretch and fold the dough

  • To ensure optimal gluten development perform 1 stretch and fold after it has rested. Then cover it and allow it to rise in the warmest spot in your kitchen (do not place it anywhere over 80 degrees F as you don't want the butter to melt out of the dough).

Second bulk rise

  • Once the dough has doubled in size (mine took 8 hours at 73 degrees F) place it in the refrigerator overnight (the dough can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours).
  • If you would like to shape and bake the same day, refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours before shaping. It makes it much easier to work with.

Shape and second rise

  • The following morning remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it onto a clean work surface.
  • Weigh the dough and divide it into 6 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball by pinching the seams together and rolling it on the counter.
  • Place each ball into a buttered loaf pan. They can be squeezed in using a dough scraper or your hands. Don't be afraid to mold them to ensure they fit, they will even out during their second rise.
  • Lastly, cover the pan with oiled plastic wrap and allow it to rest in the warmest spot in your kitchen. Tip: place it in your oven with the light on.
  • The dough is ready once it has risen well above the rim of the pan, is puffy, and soft to the touch. This can take 6-8 hours depending on the temperature. It is important to allow it to rise the necessary time before baking.

Brush & Bake

  • Once the dough has finished its second rise, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Mix together the eggwash and brush the dough with it and bake for 35-40 minutes or until it turns golden brown.
  • Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes in the pan before transferring it to a cooling rack. Let it cool completely before slicing (1-2 hours).
  • Sourdough brioche is best enjoyed on the same day, but can last up to 3 days in an airtight container or bread bag on the counter.

Notes

Baker’s schedule: Day 1: make the sweet levain the evening before the dough is mixed.
Day 2: Mix the dough, allow it to ferment, and place it in the refrigerator overnight
Day 3: Shape the brioche bread, let it rise, and bake.
Fermentation times can vary due to temperature, watch the dough, not the clock.
Eggs: If the eggs exceed 150g, plan to add 5-10 grams of additional bread flour. 
5 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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