What Enriched Bread Actually Is

What would the world be like without bread? We know, it's a horrible proposition to even posit. As a global food staple for centuries, per Britannica, it's hard to imagine what we would do without it. While its ubiquitous presence on dinner tables around the world and throughout time is impressive, what's even more amazing about bread is how something so soft and delicious can come from just four basic ingredients: flour, water, yeast, and salt, per Bread Magazine.

While the main ingredients remain the same, bread comes in many different shapes and forms based on how the dough is folded and baked, Food Crumbles explains, and what type of flour is used. Baguettes, sourdough loaves, bagels, focaccia, and whole-wheat country loaves might look radically different, but they are all considered basic breads because they are made similarly.  

So, what happens if you add something extra to your dough besides those four basic ingredients? You've created a different dough altogether — an enriched dough.

Enriched doughs add an extra ingredient

If you add an extra ingredient to the flour, water, yeast, and salt of your dough, you have just enriched your dough. According to MasterClass, the most common ingredients of popular enriched dough recipes tend to be butter, eggs, milk, or sugar. Often when considering enriched doughs, the resulting breads tend to be more rich, fatty, and flavorful than basic breads.

Popular enriched breads include challah, brioche, and milk bread. In typical challah recipes, eggs, oil, and sugar are added. Meanwhile, with brioche, eggs and a massive amount of butter are added, per MasterClass, and with milk bread, milk is blended with basic bread ingredients to make extremely fluffy, cloud-like bread.

Food52 acknowledges that enriched doughs behave a little differently than basic doughs, and might require different rise-conditions and bake times than their basic bread cousins. For that reason, make sure you follow your enriched dough recipes closely to enjoy your delicious enriched bread!