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Vegan brioche rolls with custard are a type of brioche buns that look similar to cinnamon rolls, but are filled with custard and raisins. They are fun to make and a joy to eat.
The brioche rolls are soft, sweet, creamy, and surprisingly easy to make. They are a popular breakfast food in Italy and we often dip them in cappuccino, or eat them on the go.
We make these vegan brioche rolls with our fluffy brioche bread dough. We like to knead the dough by hand, it's easy and it only takes 5 to 10 minutes, but you can of course use a kitchen aid. The dough will turn out super light, airy and aromatic.
For the custard, we use our beloved vegan custard recipe. Without eggs, it is so easy and safe to make, and it only takes a few minutes. We use the custard to fill the dough, we add some raisins for texture and extra sweetness, then we roll it and cut it into cute little rolls.
The trick to get neatly cut brioche rolls without having the custard go everywhere is to use dental floss to cut the dough, and not a knife. The knife will make a mess, crushing the rolls completely. The floss, will cut perfectly round and clean little custard rolls. No mess, guaranteed!
Since we make this recipe without eggs and without dairy, these brioche rolls with custard are suitable for people with allergies to those ingredients, and also for people that follow a plant-based, vegan lifestyle.
If you are interested in other vegan Italian recipes made with a similar brioche dough, check out our Italian croissant with custard filling (cornetti con la crema), Vegan brioche bread (pan brioche), Sweet cream buns (maritozzi con la panna), Italian donuts (ciambelle), Jam stuffed donuts (bomboloni), Italian breakfast brioche with jam (buondì).
Ingredients & Substitutions
For the dough
- Flour: I use first-clear flour but, if you can't find it, just go for bread flour or all-purpose flour. That is basically a flour that is less refined than all-purpose, but not as heavy as whole-grain flour.
- Sugar: plain sugar works best. No syrups.
- Instant dry yeast: I love instant dry yeast because you don't have to mix it with water to activate it. You can replace it with fresh yeast, but if you do so you need 3 times more fresh yeast compared to our instant dry yeast dose. When you use yeast, always read the expiration date on the package, and also read the instructions on how to use it. Some yeasts need to be dissolved in lukewarm water and sugar before they can be used.
- Soy-milk and water: this is our go-to milk for cooking. You can replace it with any other plant milk of your choice. We mix it with water in this recipe to make the vegan brioche rolls with custard extra light and soft.
- Sunflower oil: this is our go-to fat because it has little flavour, it's affordable and widely available. You can replace it with any other vegetable oil that has a mild flavour.
- Vanilla extract and orange zest: both necessary for the aroma. Better if the orange is organic.
For the custard filling
- Plant-milk: we use unsweetened soy milk, but any plant-milk will work. If you want fatter, richer custard, use half soy-milk and half coconut milk.
- Cornstarch: to thicken the custard, cannot be replaced.
- Sugar: we use plain white sugar, but any other sugar will work.
- Vanilla extract and lemon peel: to add flavour and aroma to the custard. You can leave the lemon out if you don't have it, but in this case double the amount of vanilla extract.
- Turmeric: this is optional. We use it to add the yellow color to the custard. You need the tip of a teaspoon and it's enough. You can also use any other yellow food colouring agent.
- Raisins: they add texture and sweetness.
For this recipe you'll need a clean worktop, a rolling pin and some dental floss to cut the brioche rolls with custard without making a mess.
- Don't use a knife: I know it might seem strange to use dental floss in the kitchen, but for this recipe using floss is really necessary to cut the rolls neatly.
If you use a knife, the the rolls will turn out squished, flat, and not really round. Also, the custard will go out of the rolls, and your worktop will be completely covered in it.
- Use lukewarm water and milk: lukewarm water and milk will kick-start the proofing much faster than cold water and cold milk out of the refrigerator.
If you take the time to warm them up, slightly, the proofing will be a lot faster. Do NOT use hot water and hot milk, the yeast will die.
- Proof the dough twice: you should allow a minimum of 2 hours for the first proofing, and another 1 hour for the second proofing. This way you will have light, airy, and beautiful brioche buns with custard.
- Proof in a warm place: the best way to proof the dough is to put it in a slightly warm oven. To do that, turn on the oven for 30 to 45 seconds, then turn it off and put the dough inside to proof. Warmth and protection from drafts will really help the yeast to do a good proofing.
- Cover with a damp cloth: I find that the dough proofs better if it's covered with a damp cloth. I put the kitchen cloth under warm running water, then I squeeze the water out, and use the cloth to cover the bowl with the dough.
This will add moisture that the yeasts love so much. Just leave enough space between the dough and the cloth, as the dough will grow.
If your dough has not proofed, first of all check the expiration date of your yeast. Also, temperature is key. Yeasts proof best if you add lukewarm liquid to them, and if you let the dough proof in a warm place, without cold air drafts.
Yes. You can fill these rolls with any other flavoured custard. Check out our custard guide with all the different variations.
Yes, you can. Check out the storage section below.
How to store raw brioche rolls
The best way to store uncooked vegan brioche rolls with custard is to freeze them. If you do so, I recommend freezing them before the second proofing.
To do that, first, arrange the brioche rolls on the baking tray (or on a plate if your freezer cannot fit your baking tray). You can leave very little space in between them as they will not grow.
Then put them in the freezer for 30 minutes until they are hard. Now you can transfer them into a plastic bag suitable for freezing, and put back in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To thaw them, take out of the freezer, arrange them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, and let thaw in a turned off oven. Once they are thawed, you should also give them some time to proof.
To help the yeast, slightly warm up the oven by turning it on for 45 seconds, then off again. The warmth will help the yeast proof. They should proof for about 1 hour.
After the second proofing, you can cook them as described in the recipe box. That is, in a preheated oven at 180C / 360F for 13 to 15 minute.
How to store cooked brioche rolls
Store these vegan brioche rolls with custard in a plastic bag as soon as they have cooled down. This will keep them soft for up to 3 - 4 days. If you store them longer than 24 hours, then put them in the refrigerator, then reheat them in the oven at 180C / 360F for 5 minutes before eating them.
In Italy, we make these vegan brioche rolls with custard almost exclusively like I showed you in this post. That is, with plain custard and raisins.
However, there are many similar recipes that you can make with the exact same brioche dough.
If you are interested, check out our:
- Italian croissant with custard filling (cornetti con la crema)
- Vegan brioche bread (pan brioche)
- Sweet cream buns (maritozzi con la panna)
- Italian donuts (ciambelle)
- Jam stuffed donuts (bomboloni)
- Italian breakfast brioche with jam (buondì)
Vegan brioche rolls with custard
- Rolling pin
- Dental floss (I know it's weird in a recipe but it really is essential for cutting the rolls)
- 500 g (3.2 cups) bread flour or all-purpose flour + 2 to 3 tbsp for kneading
- 100 g (0.5 cups) sugar
- 7 g (1.5 tsp) instant dry yeast or 20g fresh yeast
- 150 g (0.6 cups) plant-milk soy, almond, oat
- 150 g (0.6 cups) lukewarm water
- 60 g (5 tbsp) sunflower oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 orange zest
- 1 pinch salt
For the Custard
- 500 g (2 cups) plant-milk soy, almonds, oats, rice
- 80 g (6.5 tbsp) sugar
- 50 g (6.5 tbsp) cornstarch
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ lemon the peel
- ⅛ tsp turmeric optional for colour
- 150 g (1 cup) raisins
- In a bowl add flour, sugar and instant dry yeast. Stir, then add the zest of one orange, lukewarm plant-milk, lukewarm water, sunflower oil, vanilla aroma, and a pinch of salt. Mix with a spatula till all the ingredients come together.NB: if you don't have instant dry yeast, you can use either 7g (1.5 tsp) of active dry yeast or 20g of fresh yeast. In both cases, you need to first dissolve the yeast in lukewarm water and sugar before adding it to the flour.
- Add 2 tbsp of flour to a worktop, then knead the dough for 5 minutes. By the end, your dough should be elastic, soft and moist. It should almost stick to the worktop.You can use a kitchen-aid if you prefer.
- Brush the inside of a large bowl with a thin layer of oil, then put the dough in it, brush it with oil, and cover with a damp kitchen cloth, leaving enough space for the dough to double in volume. Let proof for about 2 hours in a warm place.While the dough is proofing you can make the custard.TIP: turn the oven on for 30 seconds then turn it off and put the dough in it to proof.
- With a rolling pin, flatten the dough till you have a rectangle shape that is around 55cm long and 35cm wide. That is 21 inches by 14 inches.To make sure the dough doesn't stick to the worktop sprinkle with flour.
- Cover the dough with a layer of custard. Distribute the custard evenly with the help of a spoon.Now add the raisins on top of the custard.
- Roll the dough on itself from the long side, forming a long roll. If the dough sticks to the worktop, help yourself with a dough scraper.
- Cut the long roll into 2cm (0.8 inch) wide brioche rolls. Use dental floss to cut the rolls, like if you were tying a knot around the brioche roll, and then pulling the two extremities of the floss, cutting through the dough.
- Arrange each roll on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Leave some distance between the rolls. Depending on the size of your baking tray you can fit between 9 and 12 rolls on each tray.Let proof for about 1 hour in a warm place. I recommend turning the oven on for 30 seconds, then turning it it off and putting the custard rolls in it to proof.
- Preheat the oven to 180C or 360F. Brush the top of the brioche rolls with soy-milk, and bake on the central rack for about 13 minutes.
- The brioche rolls with custard should be golden on top but still soft on the inside. Let cool down before eating.
For the custard
- In a pot off the heat, add plant-milk, sugar, vanilla, turmeric, lemon peel, cornstarch. Stir well with a whisk until all the lumps of the cornstarch are gone.Bring the pot on the heat, set it on medium, and stir continuously until the liquid thickens into a creamy custard. Let it cool down before adding it to the brioche.
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