Bread (dough) & Butter (fat)

While I don’t bake a lot of bread, I was always taught to add butter (or other fats) late in the game… after the dough has come together and rested a bit for gluten development. The reason for this is that supposedly fat actually impairs gluten development.

But I see so many online methods for baking bread that adds softened (or even melted) butter into the initial wet ingredients. Is there a reason for this? Was I taught wrong about when to add it? Or are some of these folks just a little bit clueless?

Clueless people on the interwebs? No way!

But seriously, I’d say it’s a matter of proportion. A small amount of fat may be added in the beginning and not interfere with gluten, but a super-rich brioche will need some development before adding heaps of butter.


@Babette Oh you’re good here, almost reading my mind. Brioche style sandwich buns (burger/hotdog/hoagie) are exactly what I want to improve upon over the supermarket offerings.

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Agree with above but also note the fats in brioche or challah [1] and the gluten formation impairment you mention, is part of what gives the bread that soft, soft texture.

[1] Not just butter or oil, but also all them there egg yolks. Each large egg yolk is about a teaspoon of fat, and I’ve seen wide variations in recipes for these 2 breads, anywhere from 2 yolks to 6 yolks (even 8+ for challah) for recipes have essentially the same intended yield. But still small in comparison to the butter, considering most recipes call for 8-12 tablespoons of butter whereas 6 yolks would be about 2 tablespoons.

That said, most (all?) of the brioche recipes we’ve used call for adding the eggs and any additional yolks up front, but holding the butter until everything else together has been kneading at least a few minutes in the stand mixer. But I can’t recall ever using a challah recipe that held the oil until later.


If you mix the flour and water and let them autolyze for 20 minutes, or a little longer, you shouldn’t have any problems.

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I think what I am gonna start with is this recipe, simply because they have been the only online channel that has been 100% for me re: baking, plus the smaller batch size appeals to me.

Then I want to do the folding of caramelized onions shown in this vid to get the buns/hoagie rolls I want.


I really like Apron, but like a lot of Asian channels, salt amounts tend to be too low. Salt should be 4.5 g on the low end. Also less than 20% fat is playing a bit loose with the “brioche” designation. But as someone who doesn’t really like brioche for burger buns, I don’t mind that fat content.

The amount of butter in that recipe can be added upfront and it won’t make a difference. I always wait until the end since I take out the butter and slice it up when I’m going to bake, so it softens up a little, but small amounts like that won’t negatively affect the dough.
In terms of fat, one of my favorite bread blogs found that high sugar seemed to have more of an effect in her tests than butter when added early.


Yeah… I have seen recipes with way more butter and eggs (or yokes), but few looked as good as Apron’s (plus they have never had a miss for me). I’ll up the salt, but will most likely still add the butter toward’s the end. I’ll be using a stand mixer so there is no real extra work there.

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The lowest fat brioche is 20% and that’s good enough for me for a burger bun. I just don’t know you can call a bread with less than 20% fat a brioche. This is 20%:

Another of my favorite bread channels, Chain Baker, has a richer brioche bun here, easily cut in half (the eggs can be cut to 2 and made up with milk, or simply left as 2.5 and the other half used for egg washing later)

He has multiple burger bun recipes, but this is specifically a brioche one.


Ha ha… I was careful to use the terms “brioche style” as I am not sure I want a true brioche (and all the extra fat involved). What I am looking for is a fresher, fluffier, taller bun/roll for sandwiches, cut the way I want, with the caramelized onions, at the ideal size.

Gotta say I don’t get the Chain Baker vid with the keep everything cold mantra, plus the cold proofs are way over the top for me. I want this all done within an hour or two.


Thanks, I don’t think I’d seen them (April channel) before, except their “Wool Bread” looks familiar, so maybe. Even given that’s a medium sized recipe overall, I think they’re cutting the egg and fat too short.

Edit - Shelly already covered this!


As I’m living in tropical climate, I never sweat dough temperature too much because I will never get there :joy:. However in that particular recipe it’s specifically because it’s brioche (and a fairly rich brioche at that) and brioche is generally a two day process. The dough is much easier to handle when cold and you do want to keep the butter from melting.
He’s generally a fan of either pre-ferments or cold retardation for better flavor, and I am too, but you always have the option of skipping if you need something faster.

I make a lot of different types of buns so I couldn’t say I have a favorite, but some memorable ones for burgers were mascarpone buns which were super light.
You might be interested in potato buns for burgers, which aren’t necessarily all that rich but are very soft and fluffy with a good sort of chew to them.

I think some people who put out these recipes use “brioche” to make them sound more luxe even if it doesn’t meet fat requirements to label that way and it’s just a regular burger bun, but a regular burger bun is always tasty when homemade and very different from commercial ones.

If they’re good for hotdog buns and hoagie rolls I would def’ be interested. Ideally I’m looking to do all three (or at least two) from the same batch of dough.

Hot dog buns and hamburger buns are made from the same doughs, but to me hoagie rolls are crustier and less rich.

Hot dog buns it’s just the shaping. Funny enough I recently made my own franks and said I wouldn’t bother with the buns because while they’re simple enough, I don’t see the need because hot dog buns are a vehicle for me, but seeing the hot dog buns at the supermarkets here I am re-considering.

When I think of hoagies I think of something more like this, but that might also be regional differences:

He uses this for all three and you can see this is a softer dough that you typically see for hot dogs and hamburger buns:

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Yeah… not really looking for crusty, more like a soft french roll or Amoroso roll. For crusty I buy sourdough.

This looks good… similar to the Apron recipe with more salt, and like that it calls for AP flour.


I said “more crusty”, as in there’s some bit of crispness :grin:. I didn’t mean a thick crust like sourdough. A banh mi baguette with a thin, light crispy crust is more crusty than a hamburger bun and typically the type of crust I think of for a hoagie.