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.

Serves: 12Hands-on: 30 minutesTotal: 5 hours 5 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 12


  • 2⁄3 cup milk
  • 2 3⁄4 cups sugar
  • 1 3⁄4 tsp. active dry yeast (1 package)
  • 4 large eggs, divided
  • 6 oz. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. plus 1⁄8 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 5 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 to 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 3 hours. Punch dough down, fold it in half, and rise again, until doubled, about 45 minutes.
  • Coat twelve 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 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Combine remaining egg with remaining 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 to 20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes, then remove from tins while still warm to prevent sweating. Finish cooling on a rack.