bba challenge 4 – brioche

With the addition of Dreyfus Dog to our family, I skipped the third week of the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge.  Bagels would have been a handful with a new puppy in the house, especially one that already ways 68 pounds!  He’s doing well, though he still hasn’t gotten the cats to like him yet.  I think it will happen still.


Week 4′s challenge was brioche, and there are three versions listed in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice, and I chose Rich Man’s brioche. The differences are the amount of butter in the dough; I went all out!

The dough is actually pretty easy to make; it doesn’t require an overnight poolish or anything. The starter has to sit for only about 20 minutes to get the yeast going, then it’s ready. The recipe makes enough dough to make four smallish loaves, and it has 4 sticks of butter in the dough.. that means that each loave has a stick of butter already in it!

BBA Week 4 - Brioche on BGE

I made 2 loaves in brioche pans, which are round and fluted, getting larger from the base.

BBA Week 4 - Brioche

Then I put some cinnamon in the dough and mixed it a bit more with the other half of the dough. I divided it into thirds and made strands out of the three parts, coating one with cinnamon, too. The three strands were braided together and baked as a loaf after rising for about 90 minutes.

The loaves do so well on the Big Green Egg; oven spring is amazing (when the dough goes into the oven/cooker, it ‘springs’ up and expands). The braided loaf came out looking great, except for one thing… The cinnamon on the one strand kept the outside from browning right. The rest of it turned out great. It could have actually used more cinnamon in the dough, though, but I liked it.

Braided Brioche

Braided Brioche

Braided Brioche

I thought the Greek Celebration bread made good French toast, but it has nothing on brioche!

brioche french toast

I’m deciding whether or not to do the challah bread coming up, as it’s similar to breads I’ve already done… If I do, I’ll post on it next week!

About Curt McAdams

I guess I'm a bit of a foodie, learning to cook from my mom, then getting obsessed with outdoor cooking, competition barbecue, bread baking and just about all things food. Lately, I've been trying to upgrade my photography skills a bit, though I still have a long way to go.


  1. Looks wonderful. Well done!!

  2. Your brioche looks beautiful. I’m excited to hear that you bake bread in your big green egg. how high can you get the temperature?

  3. Anne Marie,

    the brioche was baked at about 350f. Ciabatta is coming up soon… For that, I’ll bake at higher temps. To give an idea if how hot it can get, though, I bake pizzas at about 700f. With the platesetter & baking stone, that’s about as high as I can get it.

  4. You did great! Your photos are awesome.
    Nice baking along with you,

  5. Susie,

    thanks. I’m hoping to catch up this week, with the ciabatta!

  6. Love this cinnamon braid variation. Rich man is divine.

  7. Hi Curt,

    Based mostly on inspiration from your website, I’ve started doing breads and pizzas on the Big Green Egg. Works well-one question, though; I’ve had a hard time getting temperatures (at least according to the gauge in the lid) higher than about 350 or so. Without the platesetter and stone-no problem. But as soon as those go on, I’ll have both top and bottom vents all open and limited heat. Any tricks? Maybe the lid gauge reads lower? I’m still experimenting with fire size and timing…

    Thanks so much! Really enjoy the blog -Dan

  8. The braid was easier than I expected, & it does come out fairly well, but I still need practice.

    Rich man’s brioche is almost too much!

  9. DBo,

    When I BBQ, I put the platesetter between the firebox and fire ring; when I do bread or pizza, I put both on the grate above the fire ring. On a large, you may have to remove the grate, I’m not sure. I do get much higher temps this way.

    Don’t forget to raise the stone above the platesetter to create an air gap… The bottom will burn if you don’t.

  10. One more thing:

    use good lump charcoal, like Humphrey or even royal oak. Cowboy is junk, I think, and won’t burn hot enough.

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