Easter Treats: Buttery Saffron Brioche

Saffron Brioche (03) by MeetaK  

As March turns into April and we turn our clocks forward to “save time” I was surprised to look at the calendar and see that another holiday is upon us. Time is flying and there seems to be no saving it. Easter is but a few days away and this year Easter Sunday also chimes in Tom’s birthday.

This time last year we were celebrating Tom’s 40th with such a bang and had big plans for new adventures in a new country. As I waited for the lights to turn green, turning the music up a notch, I could not help but think it all seems so far away now. Was it only last year?

I looked out of the window of my Golf. Grey skies and an early morning Spring mist floated across the green fields, playing hide and seek with the blooming trees.

This time last year I wasn’t expecting to experience my beloved German Spring. But here I am and getting very excited to see the first of the crocuses, tulips and forsythia blooming into their glorious burst of colors.

Brioche Crocus Diptych (01) by MeetaK

I wasn’t expecting to flavor the juicy fresh Spring produce as it comes into season – because where I was going it was available throughout the year. It’s actually the experience of eagerly waiting for something to come into season and then savoring it with honest pleasure, which I was going to miss the most. But here I am and my Farmer’s Market is slowly bringing the first asparagus, rhubarb, strawberries and a variety of other delicious produce. I feel like a little girl who can hardly wait to open her birthday presents.

Saffron Brioche (02) by MeetaK

As the lights turned green again, I smiled – things change so fast, time is transient and not meant to be saved. Memories on the other hand can be and filed away to be used at a another time.

One can feel that it’s Easter break in Weimar. There is a slight tranquility on the streets and as schools and the university take a break, the pressure to get anywhere quickly has disappeared. Soeren is at his grandparents, Tom is in Vienna and I am feeling guilty that I am liking the serenity of it all. 
 Saffron Brioche Diptych by MeetaK

There is enough time to plan a lovely birthday and Easter day on Sunday. It’ll have to start with a nice, long and luxurious brunch, which means these brioches will have to be on the list. Of course these sweet red current and marzipan swirls and maybe even these quark cheesecake squares topped with lemon curd will have to be on part of the sweet buffet. Classic are the hot cross buns and wonderfully piquant these wasabi salmon egg rolls. Some of these mustard eggs will make a great Easter lunch or maybe even theses creamy veal and mushroom pie with potato crust. A tangy lemon meringue pie for dessert maybe!

Saffron Brioche (05) by MeetaK 

These brioches are totally buttery and utterly delicious, with an addition of quark into the dough to intensify the flavor of butter. Make sure that the ingredients and chilled so that butter is integrated into the dough without melting and separating. Saffron adds an incredible highlight to the brioche making it aromatic and silky.

Saffron Brioche

Printable version of recipe here


425g strong white flour, place in the freezer for about 15-20 minutes
330g cold butter, cut into cubes
1 envelope active dry yeast
75g sugar
good pinch of saffron strands
60ml warm water approx 30 degrees C
5 eggs, cold
1 tablespoon quark
pinch of salt
1 egg


  1. Place the cold butter cubes in a bowl and with an electric beater, beat until the butter is smooth and creamy, with no lumps. Scrape the butter into a smaller bowl and set aside in the refrigerator until required.

  2. Dissolve yeast in a clean bowl, with 1 teaspoon sugar and the saffron water. Using the kneading hooks of your electric beater add the remaining sugar, quark, eggs, salt and flour. Mix all the ingredients on low speed until everything is nicely blended. Scrape the bowl as you go along.

  3. Turn up the speed of the beaters to medium and continue beating for another 5-7 minutes. The dough should be very sticky, soft and supple. You’ll have to keep stopping and scrapping it from the sides and from the hooks.

  4. Add the cold creamed butter in several portions into the dough. Push the pieces right into the dough and beat well to integrate it without and lumps into the saffron dough. You’ll have to keep stopping and scrapping it from the sides and from the hooks.

  5. Scrape the dough into a clean bowl, cover with a cloth and refrigerate for 24 hours to allow the flavors to really intermingle well.

  6. Butter your brioche, muffin or loaf pans generously.

  7. Scrape the dough out onto a nicely floured surface and punch it down with your hands. It will still be slightly sticky. Divide it into about equal 10-12 portions for brioche/muffin pans or shape into 2-3 loaves for the loaf pans.

  8. For individual brioches, pinch off a smaller piece of each portion. Taking the larger portion and in the cup of your hand tightly roll the dough into a tight ball. Do the same with the smaller portion. Place the larger dough ball into the brioche or muffin form and then put the smaller portion on top. Gently pinch the sides to secure it. Repeat this procedure until all of the portions are formed.

  9. For the loaf pans, shape the portions into a loaf and place into the loaf forms.

  10. Place the forms on a baking tray, cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let the brioches rise for 2 hours in a warm and dry place.

  11. In the meantime, prepare the egg wash by beating the egg with a 1 teaspoon of water.

  12. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Brush the egg wash gently over each brioche. Be careful not to get any on the forms.

  13. Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes, until the tops are golden. Cool on a rack.

Sticky Note Kitchen Notes

- You can enjoy the brioche warm or at room temperature.

- I love it fresh with butter with a variety of jams, jellies and preserves or with a drizzle of honey. A day or two later it’s perfect toasted.

- Stale brioche make awesome French toast or a brioche pudding like this banana brioche pudding with baileys caramel cream.



Saffron Brioche (04) by MeetaK

Taste-wise this is a wonderfully rich brioche with a fluffy and light texture. The saffron not only lends its vivid sunny yellow color but provides an aromatic and subtle flavor to the brioche. It is the perfect option for your Easter brunch and will leave all your guests in awe.

A few of these golden delicious brioches are on it's way to Rachel at Tangerine's Kitchen, who is hosting this month's Bread Baking Day - BBD #28. Rachel has chosen the theme Buns and I think these would be a great addition.

So what are you cooking up for Easter?

Later this week I will be presenting a lovely decadent but light dessert to highlight your Easter meal. Chocolate of course, because chocolate cannot be missed at Easter. 

You might like these ideas from WFLH:

Sour Cream Cherry Cake Matcha White Chocolate Pralines with Pistachios Hot Cross Buns


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2010 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

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  1. Lovely post Meeta, you can really see the spring light is here! Those brioche look so soft and buttery, I am yet to master making them after the chocolate incident..

    Enjoy the peace! They'll be back before you know it!

  2. Those brioche buns and loaves look so perfect and spring-like! A heavenly Easter treat!



  3. As always - your food styling is an inspiration to me.

  4. The Brioche looks divine. Mouth-watering Easter treat!

  5. Ah, so here it is! THe shaffron does wonder for this brioche, Meeta! Love the color. I'm attempting this soon. Will let ya know the results!

  6. The saffron brioche looks decadent Meeta...so beautiful and "fluffy". I think this will be devoured over Easter!

  7. It is a visual treat to me now. I am on SBD and I can only enjoy it virtually :) I am just waiting to see more of your decadent easter recipes.

  8. That buttery goodness is jumping right off my computer screen! I love the color, too.

  9. Such a beautiful post and the pictures are gorgeous, as always! And the brioche looks simply delicious!

  10. Meeta, the cover of the latest copy of the South African Food and Home Entertaining magazine has brioche on the cover, and calls it "The new Cupcake". Yours is looking beautiful.

  11. Your photos are just stunning! This looks wonderful.

  12. I have never visited your site and not been blown away by your amazing artistry!
    Enough said. Now can I have a brioche?

  13. I am so glad I landed here today Meeta. I was thinking of attempting to make quark and lo and behold, the recipe falls into my lap. Thank you:) That golden brioche looks sensational too. May you and your family have a joyous Easter holiday.

  14. That brioche looks so soft and delicious. Your description of the Easter break feeling on the streets is great...I love those calm, quiet, nice spring weather days.

  15. I look at the squirrels everyday and see how they are frantically working to stock up those cupboards before winter sleep starts. Spring or winter, I think a brioche would be an awesome start to a day!!! Good luck with all your planning!

  16. Butter, bread and spring. Mothernature really knows how to make us happy. We are heading into Autumn (Fall) in Australia and I can feel the cool coming in. I think this loaf will be perfect no matter what kind of weather.

  17. Love your pics with those beautiful flowers. Unfortunately the daffodils V had gathered in the woods have wilted and I have only 2 daffodils blooming in my garden.

    Your brioche looks smashing - love that colour and I can imagine the taste of that brioche of yours. :) Your saffron brioche just inspired my next brioche. Thanks love.

    Btw: I made a No Knead Brioche and it turned out perfect. Will blog about it next.

  18. Saffron gives such a beautiful colours to that brioche. I love the small pot ones, they are so so cute.
    Oh I remember how you celebrated Tom's b'daylast year by taking the baloon ride.

  19. I must start adding saffron to more things. And you bake a gorgeous brioche! Beautiful! And I am still waiting for Spring. The first of the Brittany gariguette strawberries are on the market but they may be hothouse so I am waiting even though they are deep red and look too luscious!

    Sounds like a fabulous Easter and birthday buffet you are going to have!

  20. Wow. Your photos are so light and lovely! The brioche loaves look so comforting! I'm bookmarking this recipe.

  21. A very beautiful post hihglighting the season.

    The loaf and the brioche looks so lovely..To dta, i have never had a tender crumb as your bread does..

    Thank you so much for the entry.

  22. Your brioche with saffron sound divine! I like brioche so much but I'm very lazy to make them at home as I don't have a stand mixer, and it's very difficult to knead the dough by hands. I still hope the propers spring will come here soon too! :)

  23. I love the use of saffron here - very clever, Meeta. Will be attempting to bake this recipe soon!

  24. Oh Meeta, these photographs are awesome. I wish I could bite into a slice of that brioche.

  25. Amazing what changes in a year, isn't it? I'm so glad that you are enjoying the German spring and new flowers and seasonal treats. These buns are so beautiful and almost glow with the saffron! My Easter will include hot cross buns...and I'm going to check your recipe for tips :)

  26. What a beautiful yellow color! Those brioches look and sound absolutely delicious. A perfect Easter treat. Frohe Ostern!

  27. thank you everyone for all these comments. excited that you are liking these fluffy golden brioches and hope you will tell me what they tasted like when you make them. hugs!

  28. Those are lovely looking brioche...I can imagine how delicious they must be with the saffron! A happy birthday to Tom! :)

  29. Brioche looks absolutely delicious! loved the add of saffron..

  30. What a good idea to use saffron, it is such a great spice! And I am selfishly happy you remained here in Europe.

  31. OH Meeta, your posts make me so happy, warm and mumsy inside. :-) One of my goals this year is to make brioche and I love how you baked yours, in those darling little tins. :-) Happy Spring!!

  32. Wow, so vibrant and yummy! I am drooling. I love your photos, as always.

  33. You really gave a luxury look with a touch of saffron!

  34. Meeta your brioche looks wonderful and fluffy. As I don't eat eggs, I can only sit and gawk at these beautiful pictures. How I resent that I can't make them! :) Stunning!

  35. These look so good! Your photos are stunning, too!

    And happy birthday to Tom!

  36. if brioche is wonderful as it is, I cannot stop but dreaming about how good must be with the adittion of saffron, one of my favorite spices.

    thanks Meeta..and Happy Easter.


  37. Hi Meeta, i made the brioche yesterday/today and followed your recipe exactly.
    My dough was very difficult to work with, forming balls was even an almost impossible task :-),it was quite wet and very sticky, maybe because i used large eggs? or we might have different flour here (Holland)?
    I baked them in loaf pans, and it took 30-35 minutes to bake them.
    Happy easter!

  38. Your gorgeous photos make me long for spring even more... I love the first signs of spring, but it is even better when it is not raining..lol.. Your brioche buns look divine!

  39. I love those climates when you can actually see the seasons change - unlike sub-tropical Brisbane!

    This brioche is divine. Rich, eggy and more-ish.

  40. can't wait to try this. I love saffron and brioche so this is win-win!

  41. thank you all so much for all your comments. glad you like this recipe.

    Monique, the dough is a rater sticky dough and when you turn it out on the counter you will have to make sure it is floured. also while rolling the dough with your hands you should work with lightly floured hands. of course the ingredients and ovens all play a role too. each oven is very different from the other - but did they taste good? that's pretty much what interests me - LOL!

  42. The taste was good, buttery and it was toasted the next day, also very good.
    Thanks voor your reaction!

  43. Meeta, this Brioche looks wonderful. Would love to try some with the addition of saffron---so tempting!

  44. Oh my, the colour, Meeta!!! It's absolutely gorgeous!

  45. Meeta..your saffron brioche buns just may be the most beautiful brioche buns I've ever seen. I cannot stop looking at your stunning photos. You really did capture Spring and Easter perfectly :) I hope I can turn out a brioche bun or brioche loaf as beautiful as yours one day!@

  46. These have got to be some of the most sexy looking brioche I have ever seen Meeta. Stunning girl. And I have no doubt that they taste just as good as they look. Will have to try this some time soon. Thank you. Hugs xx

  47. The brioche looks heavenly and I am totally fond of the tins you bake them in.
    I am very happy that spring has arrived lately. I like snow but at the moment I cheer about every small leaf that appears on the bushs and trees outside!

  48. Meeta, as usual great photos and the of course the brioche, buns and loaf, look perfect. Thank you for your participation in BBD.

  49. Its a recipe of time saving for me. thank you for sharing with me.

  50. thanks for the feedback and your wonderful comments. hope those who make this enjoy it as much as we did!

  51. Oh, what wonderful Spring-y pictures!! I can almost taste that buttery brioche too...

  52. Meeta, I just landed on your blog from Julia's @ Mélanger. Congratulations!!!!!!! So well deserved! Your blog is amazing! Your photos so inspiring!
    Sure, I'll visit you often! ;)

  53. Brioche has to be one of my favourite breads. I love the texture, the richness and the slight sweetness. This looks great with saffron. Lovely pictures, Lovely blog!

  54. Well I think you made a good and healthy recipe, great that you shared it.

  55. HAHA! I completely missed this post! We're saffron twins this week! This brioche certainly does look buttery... just as it should be.

  56. Hi Meeta
    I am a long time lurker and admirer of your blog.Your recipes and writings leave me in awe. I can say that yours is the best food blog with most cosmopolitan appeal to it.
    This Brioche has caught my fancy and i wish to bake it for weekend. But as im from India, we dont get "strong white flour" here. Instead what we get is "plain flour or Maida" if you know that. Can that we used for making this beauty? also, can cream be used instead of quark? If you can sort out this for me, I promise you can feast on your Brioche at our table this weekend.


  57. Thanks everyone for your great comments. Good to see that you all are enjoying this recipe.

    Pooja - Looking forward to hearing your thoughts about the brioche when you make it. You can substitute ricotta for the quark and cream will make this too runny. However, I have a very easy recipe for Homemade quark which you can make. I have tried making this with all purpose flour and while the texture was slightly different it does work. Have fun!

  58. Hello Meeta... love the new fresh look of your blog... and these brioche, wow! Tell me please, what is 'one envelope' of yeast?? How many grams please? Thanks.


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