Christmas Brioche Buns

Christmas Brioche Rolls


Look, I know it’s early, but I suddenly realised that if I don’t get started soon on Festive Food I’m going to run out of weeks. Also, people might want to plan ahead, practice, etc. etc. So I’m buttoning my lip on grumbling about it being too early for either the C-word or X-word and here we go!

First out of the gate some cute little brioche rolls with festive holly decoration. The crust, if you can even call it that, stays wonderfully soft, and although enriched, they aren’t especially sweet, and so can be used for practically any meal of the day.

These rolls are also a great way to get ahead with your Festive Food planning, as they can be baked and then frozen until required. A little extra care is required in the freezing, so that the decoration doesn’t get damaged, but nothing too precious.

I have Festive Food ideas lined up for the next five weeks, but will also try and help with any food ’emergencies’ if I can – just leave a comment here on the blog.

Christmas Brioche Buns

The extra eggs and butter in enriched dough mean it takes longer to rise that ordinary dough, so the easiest approach is to spread the making over two days. Mix the dough in the evening and set to rise overnight in the fridge, then shape and bake the rolls the following morning.

0.5tsp salt
1 sachet fast-action yeast
600-700g plain flour
170ml evaporated milk
60ml warm water
85g butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs
75g caster sugar
0.5tsp vanilla extract
zest of half a lemon

flat leaf parsley and dried cranberries for decoration

1 large egg for glazing

  • Mix the salt, yeast and 500g of the flour.
  • Mix the rest of the ingredients together and pour into the flour.
  • Mix thoroughly to a smooth dough.
  • Add the remaining flour until the dough is soft but knead-able.
  • Knead for 10 minutes – I use a food mixer and dough hook.
  • Set aside to rise for one hour.
  • Gently knock back the dough to release the air andΒ  fold it in half twice (like a napkin).
  • Put the dough in a greased bowl and cover with cling film.
  • Set to rise overnight in the fridge.
  • Next day, tip the dough onto the work surface and pat down gently.
  • Cover with cling film and allow to rest for about 30 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into whatever size rolls you require. I usually make 16 rolls from a batch this size.
  • Shape the dough into balls and set onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Cover lightly and set aside to rise until doubled in size.
  • Prepare the parsley for decorating the buns. I find keeping three leaves attached as a sprig is much easier to handle.
  • Whisk the egg for glaze with a little water.
  • Preheat the oven to 180Β°C, 160Β°C Fan.
  • Brush the risen rolls GENTLY with the beaten egg wash.
  • Lay the flat-leaf parsley sprigs on the top to look like holly leaves, then brush over the leaves with the egg wash. This will help keep them stuck to the surface of the rolls and also protect their bright green colour from the heat of the oven.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until puffed and golden.
  • Remove from the oven and cover with a clean cloth. This keeps the steam in and thus the crust soft.
  • Once cooled, you can finish the decoration
    • Press dried cranberries into the tops of the buns to make little clusters of berries nestled between the holly leaves. NB DON’T do this if you’re going to freeze them, do it when thawed, warmed and just before serving.
  • To freeze:
    • Arrange buns side-by-side in a zip-lock bag.
    • Slide a baking sheet underneath the bag (so they lay flat in the freezer) and freeze.
    • Once frozen, remove baking sheet and keep the buns somewhere where they won’t get bashed by anything – the parsley leaves will just crumble.
    • Thaw flat.
    • To serve: lay on a baking sheet and cover with foil.
    • Warm gently in the oven.
    • Decorate with cranberries and serve.

15 Comments on “Christmas Brioche Buns”

  1. vannillarock says:

    i make a lot of brioche, but never with evaporated milk- will have to give this a go. they are spectacular!

  2. Gill Osborne says:

    oooh they look lovely, so Xmassy (sorry!) hopefully I’ll have more success with brioche than I’m having with macarons!!!

  3. aninanv says:

    Oh we have ham on the bone with fresh bread for breakfast every Christmas and these are perfect. Gorgeous idea

  4. loreinne ojeil nakhle says:

    what is evaporated milk? They looks yummy yummy :))

    • MAB says:

      Wotchers loreinne!

      Evaporated milk is unsweetened, condensed milk. You buy it in tins in the supermarket.
      Hope you give this a try!

      M-A πŸ˜€

  5. Zahra says:

    These look absolutely amazing!

  6. Helen says:

    Hi Mary-Anne, I’m thinking about making Christmas cake soon but I’ve used the same recipe for years. Do you have a cake recipe for us?


    • MAB says:

      Wotchers Helen!

      Don’t know if you’ve got MY BOOK (subtle!) – but the Wood Street Cake in there is delicious, and just the thing for the festive season – spicy and fruity, but also yeast raised, so you can put your feet up for another six weeks before you need to make it! πŸ˜‰

      Hope this helps!

      M-A πŸ˜€

      • Helen says:

        I have got your book! I missed this though – will go and have another look immediately.
        Might do a trial run tomorrow.

  7. Tom B says:


    I have just treated myself to a mixer with a dough hook (fear not I haven’t gone mad Β£79-00 at Lidl!!!) and so have the following question, do you dough-hook it for as long as you would knead by hand? I have a vague notion that I read somewhere you can over-knead dough with a machine. I have never been one who can really tell a dough is kneaded enough so have always gone by time.


    • MAB says:

      Wotchers Tom!
      Congrats on the new acquisition!
      I, too, have read that dough can be over-worked, but I also run the machine for 10 minutes – the length of time I would have kneaded it by hand.
      I usually add more liquid to dough to be kneaded in the machine, so that it is much softer and looser, and also only run the dough hook on the very slowest setting. The rationale behind these two are pure ‘personal foible’.
      Hope this helps!
      M-A πŸ˜€

  8. Hilary Grey says:

    Sorry, I have to check Mary-Anne: Plain flour? Ordinary plain flour? As in “not bread flour”? These look totally fabulous by the way, with or without the Christmassy adornment and I want to make them immediately! πŸ™‚

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