Brioche à Tête on Mother’s Day!

brioche a tete

This is a fabulously simple bread to make, and incredibly quick if you have a bucket of Brioche dough on hand. You can bake the bread in a loaf pan but for the Brioche à tête (tête means head) you really want to have the traditional fluted pan. It will be wonderful served with Lemon Curd (page 228) and jam on Mother’s Day this weekend. Not to mention its shape reminds me of the Venus of Willendorf, the ultimate 25,000 year old symbol of being a mom!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the proud moms!

Now let me show you how to shape the Brioche à tête. Start with your bucket of chilled dough and a well oiled/buttered Brioche pan.

brioche a tete

Cut off a 1 pound piece of dough (or an appropriate sized piece for the pan you are using, there are mini pans available) and form into a boule.

brioche a tete

Place it seem side down in the pan.

brioche a tete

Take a small 3-ounce piece of dough (or one proportionately smaller than your first piece) to create the tête. First form it into a small boule,

brioche a tete

then roll one end of the dough between the palms of your hands to create a tear drop shape.

brioche a tete

Make a deep and wide indentation into the larger ball of dough.

brioche a tete

Place the tear shaped piece into the indentation so that the part sticking up looks like a small ball resting on the large ball.

brioche a tete

Cover loosely with plastic and let rise. Brush with egg wash and bake as directed (page 191).

brioche a tete

Allow the bread to cool for a couple of minutes in the pan and then turn it out onto the cooling rack. You need to remove it from the pan so the bread doesn’t get soggy.

brioche a tete

Serve with Lemon Curd (page 228) or Laura’s Marmalade (page 96).

brioche a tete

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40 thoughts to “Brioche à Tête on Mother’s Day!”

  1. Hi My Sweet & Saucy,

    Do try this recipe, it is unlike anything you did at pastry school. It is far easier and less fussy to deal with. The crumb may be a little bit cakier, but just a little time on a stand mixer will give it the stretch you want.



  2. That is just beautiful. I know it probably tastes just as good as it looks. I just love Brioche, and have not made it in years. (BC—Before Children)lol.

  3. Thanks toontz,

    This one is far easier and it will satisfy your craving. If your kids are old enough perhaps they will make it for you???

    Happy Mother’s Day!


  4. I made the brioche several weeks ago, (minus the tete) and it was delicious! I bought 2 ceramic molds from the King Arthur web site (on sale, to boot) so, one for us, and one for gift giving.(No, they don’t get the mold, too) They look lovely un-molded and wrapped in clear cellophane with a pretty bow. This next statement is going to sound too weird in light of the elections, the war, and natural disasters, but: your book and your bread making method has added so much to our lives. It is SO friggin’ easy and we feel in control of what we are putting into our bodies. PLUS, it impresses the heck out of our friends and family.

  5. Hi Rosemary,

    In light of all that is going on in the world it is especially important to find some hope and joy in our lives. If baking fresh bread can bring you some of that then fantastic!

    I’m going to see if KA has any more of the Brioche molds. I can never get enough baking supplies.

    Thanks, Zoë

  6. Thanks so much for the step by step colored photos. I received your book as a *prize* from an online friend who had a little drawing. The first person whose name was pulled never claimed the prize so another name was drawn..MINE! I was so excited. The brioche is next on my list to try. The baguette was super easy. Great book!

  7. Hi Suzy,

    Congratulations on winning the book. I hope you are enjoying your prize.

    Enjoy the brioche! Let us know what you think.


  8. I just bought a brioche pan today so I could try that recipe from the book, so this topic is perfect timing. Thanks! And I’ll also chime in that your recipe has been such an exciting addition to my cooking & our family meals. Since I discovered you on the internet a few months ago, I’ve made more boules than I can count, have given the book twice as gifts, and have sung your praises to whoever will listen! In fact I think the guy at Williams-Sonoma today got a little tired of me going on and on about how “Artisan Bread in Five” is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Literally!

  9. Emilie: We hope the Williams-Sonoma guy is getting sick of us!– we noticed that they sold out of those thick square baking stones right after our book came out (see page 13, “Baking Stone). Seriously, it’s a nice chain.

    Thanks for all your enthusiasm… Jeff

  10. Hello Zoe and Jeff,
    I absolutely love your book, which I bought after I read the piece in the NY Times about your bread recipe. It had never occurred to me to make bread before, and I was quite amazed that I managed it, and that it was so easy.
    My question is: I usually find it much easier to weigh ingredients, so could you please tell me how heavy a cup of flour is using your scoop and sweet method.

    With many thanks,
    Oxford, England

  11. Hi Britt: Welcome to the site, we’re getting more and more visitors from the U.K–thanks for the kind words.

    1 U.S. cup of all-purpose white flour (10% protein) weighs close to 5 ounces (closer to 4.9 but we’ll use the round number). That’s 32 ounces per full Master Recipe from page 26 (2 pounds, or 910 grams). If you want to weigh the 3 cups of water, that’s 1.5 pounds (680 grams).

    Let us know how you make out with this. Jeff

  12. Many thanks! Regarding your master boule recipe(P26), I doubled it and it worked well. Even better, it was easy to make without any fancy equipment. I just put everything into a plastic bucket and mixed it with a sturdy wooden spoon. I left the dough in the bucket for the first rising and clean-up was a piece of cake, so to speak. Instead of using a lid, I just put a towel over the top and it seemed to work.

    Many thanks again,

  13. One other tip, Britt. You don’t actually have to clean the bucket, assuming you’re going to be mixing new dough all the time. The residue at the bottom helps the new batch get a head-start on sourdough flavor. You can even leave in some dough from last batch, up to a pound. Break it up well with a spoon in the fresh mixing liquid, or check out my new post on this today or in the next several days (coincidence!).

    About the towel… some of our readers who’ve tried that and kept it longer than a few days in the refrigerator said that the dough got really dry and hard, but maybe your fridge environment is more humid? Jeff

  14. Hello again, Jeff:
    Thanks for the tip. Up to now I’ve baked all my dough immediately so I didn’t keep any in the fridge — I only used the towel during the rising. Since I live alone and don’t need all that bread, I freeze most of it, which works fine. But I’ll check your new post and try baking bread as I go along.

    Yesterday I moved on to brioche… To be on the safe side, I divided the quantities for your brioche loaf by 4 and baked just the one loaf, which is quite delicious. Next time I want to try using fresh orange juice instead of water to vary the flavour. Do you think this would work?
    With many thanks — Britt

  15. I think the flavor will be nice, but the acid will change the dough. Acid breaks down gluten, so you are likely to get a larger hole structure. The dough may get soupy after a few days because of this. Curious what you’ll find. I’d make a small batch and think of it as an experiment. Jeff

  16. Hi Britt,

    It sounds wonderful, but instead of adding orange juice I would add a tablespoon of orange zest. This will give you the flavor without all of the added acid as Jeff mentions above.

    Please let us know how it goes.

    Thanks, Zoë

  17. Hi again,
    I’m sure you’re right about using orange zest instead of the juice, given all your experience. I’ll try it and let you know.
    With many thanks — Britt

  18. Hello Zoe and Jeff: I tried the brioche loaf again (using 25% of the recipe) and added 1½ TBsp orange zest and an additional fluid ounce of honey, which I thought it would need. There was no question of shaping it into a ball (No. 5 P190), even after I’d chilled it and dusted it with flour, presumably because of the extra moisture and the zest. So I just put it into the pan as best I could. It worked out pretty well (though there were small holes in it). While it may no longer be a proper brioche loaf, I like the orange flavour. Perhaps it would be nice with a little marmalade?
    Many thanks again — Britt

  19. It sounds like it would be PERFECT with a bit of marmalade!

    To get larger holes, you could try a longer rest time before baking, see if that helps.

    What’s No. 5 P190? Jeff

  20. I am sorry if I missed it, but what is the recommended diameter of the mold? (I need to buy one and am torn between the 5.5″ and the 8″) Thanks. Berta

  21. Britt, KA has a flavoring called fiori di sicilia which I think would be a glorious addition to brioche and you use so little of it 1/8 tsp per loaf, I don’t think it would change the composition of the dough at all. I think it has a somewhat vanilla citrusy taste.

  22. I made mini tetes this morning with the brioche dough I made last night. (It rose so high it was coming over the top of the large container so I decided to make up some of it right away.)
    I’ve made brioche before using Julia Childs’ recipe..I think your recipe is the easiest and best. The brioche tasted absolutely fantastic..perfect texture..buttery and rich tasting..

  23. Hi Clarice,

    Wow, you have made my day! Just using the brioche in the same sentence with Julia Child is very high compliment. I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

    I totally agree about the fiori di sicilia, sounds great!

    Thanks, Zoë

  24. i bought a package of 6 small brioche cups from sonoma. each is an 8 cm size. i wonder if you have made this smaller brioche size for individual servings? If so, how long do you suggest baking them?

    wish i had my copy of your book on my trip to see that you baked them in the larger size…

    thank you very much. linda

  25. Hi Linda,

    Oh your brioche pans will be absolutely wonderful. You will love them and the individual size is lovely!

    You will want to fill them about 2/3 full. Let them rise for about 45 to an hour and then bake them for about 20 minutes or until caramel brown.

    Enjoy, Zoë

  26. the small brioche came out perfect with the 20 minutes. i just made some brioche bunnies for easter morning! thank you so much for your wonderful book, and your speedy response to my question! linda

  27. This is a comment on Britt’s soupy bread dough where she couldn’t shape it.

    If she added 1 fluid oz of honey…..perhaps she should subtract 1 fluid oz of water? Or, given her experience maybe even a bit more?

    So the liquid weight would stay about the same…………

  28. Zoe, Thank you for the site on the Brioche but my question is the size of the brioche pans. There are so many different ones.

    1. Hi Janet,

      Sorry about that I thought there was a link to Amazon’s Brioche pan that is the right size. When I filled mine to the very top with water it holds 4 cups.

      Thanks, Zoë

  29. I have bought both books and from the website fell in love with the French Toast idea. We’ve made it twice. Once on mother’s day which was HUGE! The other was for a church wide breakfast and that was very successful. People who didn’t like french toast loved it! I used a Pampered Chef mini loaf pan to make four mini loaves at a time and that gave us the equivalent of silver dollar pancakes which were easier for the kids. Also, I had some left over dough, which I rolled out and spread with Strawberry jelly. My husband LOVES it! I rolled out another and brushed with olive oil, garlic powder, oregano and thyme. That was fantastic! Keep the books/recipes coming!!!

  30. Hello Zoe and Jeff
    I discovered your website the other day as I’m on a quest to recreate the brioche of my childhood (French expat in the UK). My first batch came out too dense but I’ve got more dough in the fridge to try again today. they probably needed to rise more.
    thanks for the inspiration!
    ps: the horrible brioches à tête on my blog are another recipe, not yours! 🙂

    1. Hi Julie,

      I think you will have better luck letting it rise longer. Let us know. The texture will be slightly cakier than the one of your childhood, but still delicious.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  31. Hi Zoë
    I got 3 batches out of half the recipe! The last batch was best, like a super light cake. Added choc chips to some and sugar crystals on top of others; pics on blog. I linked to the recipe page, hope that’s ok (let me know if not).

  32. am making the brioche a tete today. they are on the little molds and wil rise for 1 hr and 20 min. question: i noticed you indicated using a baking stone but did not specify using the broiler pan for the water.
    pls let me know if i am supposed to use it.
    might not answer soon enough, so i’ll try it without the pan. but do let me know.
    am so glad i am using your books and methods. am baking a lot more bread with less mess and stress. thank you

  33. am glad i read the different posts above. i have the mini molds too as posted by Linda 4/11/09. So, the rest time for these mini brioches is 45 min instead of the 1 hr & 20 min. Baking time is 20 min.
    pays to read the different posts for sure.

    1. Hi Amy,

      You don’t actually need the stone or steam to make brioche, because you are not going for a crisp crust. It can’t hurt the bread and I often use one, but it won’t matter if you leave it out.

      Thanks, Zoë

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