"Thousand Layer" Chocolate Brioche


This pastry is light, buttery, and filled with rich chocolate, much like a chocolate croissant, only this version is braided and twisted to make a nice muffin sized treat.

Prep Time:
45 mins
Stand Time:
10 mins
Rise Time:
3 hrs
Freeze Time:
1 hrs
Bake Time:
25 mins
Cool Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
5 hrs 40 mins
8 pastries

"Thousand Layer" Chocolate Brioche – That's Just an Estimate

You can probably count on one hand the number of times I've made a recipe harder, or added extra steps, just so something would look better, but that's exactly what I did with this "Thousand Layer" Chocolate Brioche. By the way, that's just a rough guess. There may be less than a thousand layers. Anyway, I find the look of all that flaky lamination irresistible, and in fairness, the texture is better as well.

If for whatever reason you wanted zero layers, you can simply make the brioche dough component as shown, roll it out, and cut it into the same size rectangles, and proceed with the cutting, filling, and knotting step. From a distance they will kind of look the same, and probably taste close, but don't forget, you'll be using four less tablespoons of butter, which is what we need for the lamination.

You could just add that amount of butter into the dough, so as not to be cheated, but fair warning, a dough with that much fat will rise very slowly, so plan accordingly. Feel free to stuff these with other goodies like nuts and dried fruit instead of, or in addition to, the chocolate chunks, but just be careful not to over fill. No matter if, or how, you personalize yours, I really do hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!


For the Dough:

  • ¾ cup warm whole milk

  • 1 package active dry yeast

  • 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour

  • 3 large eggs, beaten

  • cup white granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon fine salt

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft

For the Rest:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter for laminating dough

  • ½ cup dark chocolate chunks

  • 1 large whole egg for brushing

  • coarse sea salt

  • white granulated sugar


  1. Combine warm milk and dry active yeast in the bowl of your stand mixer; let stand for 10 minutes. Add flour, eggs, sugar, and salt. Use the dough hook to knead the mixture until the flour almost disappears, about 1 minute. Add the soft room temperature butter, and continue kneading the dough until a very smooth ball of dough forms, 4 to 5 minutes.

  2. Set dough into a lightly buttered bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, 2 to 3 hours.

  3. Punch down the dough and divide in 2 pieces. Form each half into a smooth ball and transfer each one into a plastic bag. Refrigerate bags overnight for best results or the dough can be used immediately. Each half of the dough will make 4 brioche.

  4. When ready to make, roll and stretch dough into a 14 x 10 inch rectangle. Spread 4 tablespoons of soft room temperature butter over two thirds of the dough, stopping 1/2 inch from the edge.

  5. Fold unbuttered third up over the top, and then the opposite end to complete the trifold. Gently press and seal the edges together. Fold in thirds again to form a square. Wrap and place in the freezer until cold and slightly firm, about 15 minutes.

  6. Roll the dough out into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick, or thin enough to fold, and repeat the two folding in thirds step. Wrap and place in the freezer again until cold and slightly firm, 15 more minutes. A little bit of water can be used to help the dough stick if needed.

  7. Roll dough out into a rectangle again, just like in the previous step. Fold into thirds, but keep as a rectangle (do not make the second fold). Wrap and place in the freezer until cold and slightly firm, about 15 minutes.

  8. Roll dough into a 12 x 6 inch rectangle and place in the freezer until cold and slightly firm, about 15 minutes.

  9. Trim off about 1/8 inch of dough from the sides and cut into 4 rectangles that are about 6 x 3 inches.

  10. Start with 1 piece (keeping the others in the fridge so they stay cool) and make two cuts starting 1/2 inch from top, all the way to the bottom to create 3 strips of dough. Braid together, and seal at bottom. Flip over and add about 1 tablespoon of dark chocolate chunks along the center of the braided dough, or more to taste. Roll up from the smaller end to create a knot. Place seam side down in buttered muffin tin.

  11. After all braids are done, cover, and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

  12. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

  13. Brush brioche with egg wash, and sprinkle very lightly with some coarse salt. Then sprinkle very generously with the granulated sugar.

  14. Bake on the center rack of the preheated oven until nicely browned, 20 to 25 minutes. If brioches are getting too dark, tent with aluminum foil after 15 minutes.

  15. Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then transfer onto a rack to cool completely before serving.

    Thousand Layer Chocolate Brioche
    Chef John

Editor's Note:

The temperature setting in the video is wrong. Please bake the brioches at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

521 Calories
22g Fat
71g Carbs
12g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 521
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 22g 28%
Saturated Fat 12g 62%
Cholesterol 134mg 45%
Sodium 269mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 71g 26%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Protein 12g
Potassium 206mg 4%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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