Brioche à Tête
Tête means “head,” and these traditional buns have them. They look like tiny, buttery, luscious snowmen. Serve them with plenty of marmalade, jam, and honey.
INGREDIENTS | YIELDS 12 ROLLS
- ⅔ cup milk
- 2¾ cups sugar
- 1¾ teaspoons active dry yeast (1 package)
- 4 eggs
- 6 ounces (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon plus 1 pinch kosher salt
- 4–6 cups bread flour
In a large bowl, combine milk, 1 cup sugar, and yeast. Stir to dissolve and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
Add 3 eggs, butter, remaining sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt; stir to combine. Add enough bread flour to create a firm dough. Turn onto a floured surface and knead 8–10 minutes. Add flour only to reduce stickiness.
Return to bowl, dust the top lightly with flour, and cover with plastic wrap. Rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 2–3 hours. Punch dough down, fold it in half, and rise again, until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Coat 12 brioche tins with pan spray. Turn risen dough onto floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a tight ball. Turn the ball on its side, and using a sawing motion, almost pinch off the top third … but not quite. Turn roll upright again. Give the top knot a little twist.
Place into prepared tins so the rolls resemble snowmen. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and set aside to proof for 15–20 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F.
Combine remaining egg with a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of water, and brush lightly onto surface of brioche. Do not let egg wash pool between tin and dough. Bake until golden brown, about 15–20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes, then remove from tins while still warm to prevent sweating. Finish cooling on a rack.
Any bread baked in a high-sided pan will sweat as it cools. In tiny brioche molds, this phenomenon can be particularly detrimental, leading to soggy bottoms. As soon as the pans can be handled, invert them and remove the buns to cool on a rack to encourage evaporation of moisture. Taking the bread out hot also prevents sticking.