Mocha Brioche
This coffee- and cocoa-scented brioche is partially adapted from Nancy Silverton's fabulous classic brioche recipe in Baking with Julia. It tastes best the day it's made, but leftovers will keep for a couple more days in a tightly sealed zip-top bag (and, incidentally, also make a fabulous bread pudding or french toast).
Recipe type: Bread
Serves: 12
  • ½ cup lukewarm double-strength coffee
  • 1½ tbsp non-fat milk powder
  • 2¼ tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1¼ cups flour
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional)
Egg Wash
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp turbinado sugar
Preparing the Sponge:
  1. In the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer, combine the coffee, milk powder, yeast, egg and 1 cup of flour. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, stir together until the ingredients are just blended. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup flour on top, then set aside to rest, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes.
  2. After about half an hour, the flour coating should crack, indicating that the sponge is ready to use.
Preparing the Dough:
  1. To the bowl containing the sponge, add sugar, salt, eggs, cocoa and ¾ cup of flour. Using the stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, mix on low speed for 1-2 minutes or until the dough looks as if it's beginning to come together.
  2. Continuing to mix on low speed, sprinkle in another ½ cup flour. Once the flour is completely incorporated, increase to medium speed and continue mixing for about 15 minutes, or until you have a soft, cohesive dough that wraps itself around the dough hook and slaps against the sides of the bowl (if the dough is too loose or wet, add more flour, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together).
  3. Once the dough has reached the right consistency, add all of the butter at once. The dough will probably look as if it's falling apart at this stage, but have faith and continue mixing on medium speed - in a few minutes, it should come together again. Continue mixing for 2-3 minutes, or until the dough is once again smooth and elastic, and makes a soft slapping sound against the sides of the bowl. It should be quite soft and slightly sticky.
  4. If using chocolate chips, fold them into the dough at this stage.
First Rise:
  1. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled mixing bowl. Cover with a clean tea towel, and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot for 2-3 hours or until dough has doubled in size.
Second Rise:
  1. Gently lift the dough away from the sides of the bowl to deflate, then cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight, until the dough has doubled in size once more.
  2. Divide the dough into three equal-sized portions. At this stage, you may shape and bake the dough using one of the options below, or wrap it up in an airtight zip-top plastic bag and stored for up to one month in the freezer (when ready to bake, defrost the dough - still in its bag - in the refrigerator overnight and continue on as written below).
Shaping the Loaves (Option 1: Fluted Brioche):
  1. Shape each piece of dough into a smooth ball.
  2. Lightly butter three fluted brioche molds, and nestle a ball of dough into each one. Dust tops lightly with flour, then cover with clean tea towels and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until loaves are doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Shaping the Loaves (Option 2: Pull-Apart Buns):
  1. Divide each piece of dough into 8 equally-sized pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball.
  2. Lightly butter three 8" springform pans, and arrange 8 pieces of dough in each one. Dust tops lightly with flour, then cover with clean tea towels and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until the rolls have doubled in size and are tightly nestled together, about 2 hours.
Baking the Loaves
  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Brush the top of each loaf with egg wash, then sprinkle with sugar.
  2. Bake the brioches in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the tops are browned and spring back lightly when pressed in the middle (if the tops begin to brown too quickly, cover loosely with aluminum foil). Let cool in pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.
Recipe by Crumb: A Food Blog at