These chocolate brioche rolls are one of my favourite recipes for brioche. Unlike most other recipes, this one doesn’t use butter, eggs or milk and yet it’s as light as anything. I’ve developed this recipe for my bread baking courses students after we’ve gone through a lot of traditional recipes, that just didn’t give us the results we wanted.
If you follow this recipe, you’ll learn one amazing secret of making very light bread, which can be used for any bread baking (sweet or savoury).
This brioche recipe happens to be vegan, but I didn’t set out to make it vegan. It was just a happy coincidence and you will find no replacements or complicated ingredients that you’ll need to buy to make this chocolate brioche recipe.
Why make this recipe?
- Amazingly light & fluffy brioche
- Budget-friendly (no butter, milk or eggs) recipe
- Surprisingly vegan!
My top tips on making this recipe successfully the first time round
- Prepare the scalded dough enhancer 12 hrs in advance. It takes 2 minutes to make, but it’s worth leaving it for as long as you can.
- Bake on low temperature to get even light texture and no crust
Ingredients & Possible Substitutions
I’ve used white strong bread flour for this recipe. This is because I need the gluten from the bread flour to help me to keep the structure of the brioche rolls or loaf. Also since we are going to supercharge the gluten inside the flour, it’s good to have some already there.
Caster sugar is best for this recipe, but light brown sugar or other types of sugar would be fine too. If you use darker sugar, you will colour the dough at the same, time and the flavour will change too.
I’ve used small amount of sugar, because we are using chocolate chips as well, but if you prefer you can easily add more sugar (or less) if you want to.
A good pinch of salt is always useful in baking and in this case it helps to bring out the chocolate flavour. Salt also helps to balance the sugar out and makes all flavours sharper.
I use mainly instant dried yeast in my recipes. It’s convenient and reliable.
One sachet is about 7g which is enough for 500g of flour (slightly more than 3 cups).
Instant yeast is easy to use, just add it to the dry ingredients and mix in. The yeast will start to get active, when you mix it with water.
If you want to use fresh yeast, you’d need to double up the amount – i.e. 15 grams of fresh yeast. To prepare your yeast, you need to mix the fresh yeast in a bit of warm water, add a teaspoon of sugar and leave for about 10 minutes until it starts to bubble.
Oil is used in this recipe because it’s cheap and actually very adequate replacement for butter. If you want to use butter you can either use normal butter (not suitable for vegans) or plant based butter (suitable for vegans).
Personally I would rather use sunflower oil than coconut oil, because the coconut oil will flavour the brioche (and ads to cost too).
Regular brioche recipes use full fat or semi-skimmed milk, but using water surprisingly doesn’t make this recipe less moreish and buttery. I’ve used water because it’s cheap and easily available, but if you want to use you can use plan based or normal milk.
Chocolate chips are best for this recipe as they are bake stable. This means that they go soft when they bake, but don’t melt and keep their shape when you finish baking the brioche. Use plain chocolate chips or plain chocolate bar (chopped up) if you want to keep your recipe purely vegan.
Natural bread enhancers
These are optional, but it’s amazing to see how bread rises with these. If nothing else try the vitamin C – you can use the drink tablets. Don’t worry about the flavour, you won’t be able to taste it.
- 1/4 teaspoon of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) per each 500g of flour
- Full fat soya flour
- Ascorbic acid
- Emulsifier E472e
The method – Instructions
How to prepare scalded flour dough enhancer
- 100g bread flour
- 100ml boiling water
Measure out 100 grams of white bread flour and pour 100 ml of boiling water on the top. I find that it’s easiest to put the bowl directly on the scales and then pour the water on the top. Mix together, cover with cling film and leave to cool down in a room temperature. Leave for at least 1 hr, but up to 12 hrs for a better flavour.
What is scalded flour dough enhancer
It sounds quite scary as a name, but as you’ve just find out it’s basically flour that’s been scalded with boiling water. What this does is that it speeds up the waking up process (and the formation) of the flour gluten.
This process happens usually at the end of your bread baking, when you put your bread in the hot oven to bake. The oven temperature wakes up the gluten even more than when you knead it and work with the yeast to rise the bread. That is why you see your brioche or bread to rise a bit in the first 5-10 minutes of baking.
By scalding the flour with boiling water at the beginning of the process, you are sort of supercharging the flour and that’s what makes super soft texture even without butter, eggs or milk.
It’s quite magical!
The scalded flour method was developed in Scandinavian countries for bread with rye flours. Rye flour have naturally low gluten content and the scalding helps to maximise that little gluten that’s inside the grain.
A similar process of heating up flour before you knead it is also used in far east countries like Japan or China, where the flour is boiled with the water on a frying pan.
Because the gluten is supercharged by this process, we only need to prove this recipe once!
The rest of the basic kneading & baking process
When your scalded flour is ready, mix it with the rest of the ingredients. Kneed everything for about 10 minutes until the dough becomes elastic. Add the chocolate chips and shape in 12 rolls or keep as one large brioche.
Cover with tea towel or plastic bag. Leave until it doubles in size.
Bake in 160 C hot oven for about 35 mins. Check when your brioche is ready by inserting a wooden skewer. If it comes out clean and dry, your brioche is ready. Cool on wire rack.
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How else you can make this recipe?
There are so many flavours that you can add to the basic brioche recipe. Just think about it as a sweet dough roll or loaf, which you can always make in a different way. If you leave out the chocolate all together and lower the sugar, this dough makes and excellent brioche rolls for burgers or hot dogs.
Other flavour ideas
- Raisins & Cinnamon
- Candied orange & chocolate
- Candied lemon & Gingerbread spice
- White, plain or milk chocolate chips
- Dried apricots & Pistachios
- Pecan & Chocolate chips
Can I scale up or down this recipe?
This recipe makes one large loaf (like a proper bread loaf – 2 pound loaf tin at least) or two smaller ones (1 pound loaf tins). You can also make 12 brioche buns.
This recipe is easily scalable – just double or triple your recipe ingredients. Mix and knead everything together, but then divide into the smaller amounts to prove (for both the first and second time). This way, your brioche will prove, rise and bake all at the same time.
How to serve chocolate brioche rolls?
A bit of butter and cup of coffee is fine for me, but you can add jam or toast your brioche if you like.
This recipe and me
I’ve developed this recipe for my bread baking courses and in particular for my students who wanted to have an easy version of brioche recipe, that can be made with few ingredients.
One of my students took the recipe back to his native Africa, where he bakes bread for people in local villages. Since it’s difficult to access fresh milk and butter (not to mention how expensive these ingredients are over there), this recipe was the perfect solution.
I also had many students commenting that even when they make traditional brioche recipe (with a lot of butter, eggs and milk), they end up with a dry, tough brioche and it often feels like they are wasting the butter as it ends up in the pool at the bottom of the brioche baking tin. (By the way there is a solution to this, you just need to leave the brioche to prove very slowly – fridge is best for this).
Can this recipe be made in advance?
Brioche is best eaten on the same day, but it does easily last for few days. This brioche recipe freezes well and when defrosted it can be warmed up in the oven.
How to store brioche
Keep in a loosely covered plastic or a paper bag inside a bread bin. If freezing, freeze on the day you’ve baked it and use within 3-6 months.
More enriched dough recipes
Why not stay in touch…
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- 400 grams bread flour
- 80 grams sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 7 grams active dry yeast 1 sachet or 1 1/2 teaspoon
- 1/4 teaspoon of ascorbic acid & citric acid Vitamin C or equivalent dough improver (optional)
- 170 ml water
- 70 ml sunflower oil unsalted butter at room temperature
- 100 grams dark chocolate chips or chopped up chocolate bar
Scalded flour dough enhancer
- 100 grams bread flour
- 100 ml boiling water
Make scalded flour dough enhancer
- Prepare the scalded flour dough enhancer by boiling water and pouring 100ml of boiling water to a bowl with 100g bread flour.
- Mix together with a spoon, cover with cling film and leave to cool down in a room temperature.
- Leave for at least 1 hr, but up to 12 hrs for a better flavour.
Make the brioche
- Mix first all the dry ingredients (apart from the chocolate chips), then add the scalded flour mix and then the rest of the water and oil.
- Tip on your kitchen counter and knead for 10-15 minutes until the dough is soft and elastic.
- Add the chocolate chips for the last few kneading minutes, just to incorporate them into the dough.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal portions (scales are useful for this) or leave the dough as it is and bake in 2 pound loaf tins.
- Shape your dough into rolls or loaves and place either on a baking tray or bread tins.
- Cover loosely with cling film or tea towel and leave to double in size. This can take up to 1 hr in warm room temperature or overnight (8 hrs) in the fridge
- Bake at 160 C for 30 min for the loaves or for about 14-15 minutes for rolls
- Brush the top of the brioche with water or milk (plant -based if you like) as soon as you remove the brioche from the oven to keep the crust soft.