Braided Brioche | Disney’s Tangled

This one’s for the brioche lovers. Soft, buttery, nutty, floral. My Tangled braided brioche is a bread showstopper; marrying together pistachios and rose water into a buttery loaf that is big enough to feed a party. Consider this your time to be free and wild.

About the film:

When it comes to Disney, I have a ‘top 10’ list of my favourites. Most of the time I can shorten this list and categorise it into either my childhood top Disney films list or my current one. I’m such a fan of Disney, especially the classic films. Essentially, anything that comes out of the Disney animation studios, I’m giving it a watch. 

When Tangled was released in 2010, I was all in. I had already started to grow out my hair (which is blonde) so I guess I kind of saw myself in Rapunzel. Her desire for adventure and her desire to follow her dreams had me even more invested in her story.

Plus, Pascal and Maximus. SO CUTE. Disney truly have an affinity for creating lovable creatures. I see you, Stitch cake.

Years later, with my long hair, I dressed up as Rapunzel for a Disney pub crawl that I went on as a student. I was known as Rapunzel among my friends for most of my student life (and still am!). 

By 2019, I had grown my hair out for nearly a decade. I cut most of it off and was able to donate a whopping 19 inches of it to charity. On the day of my haircut, I wore a pastel purple dress and had my trusty Pascal plushie with me.

It was something that I had been planning to do for a long time. I was able to raise money for Dementia UK at the same time in honour of my Nan, so it was a really special thing for me. I still look back at photos with a warmth in my heart.

Disney’s Tangled is an animated adaptation of the classic fairy-tale written by The Brothers Grimm.

If you’ve ever read the original version, you’ll know that it’s very dark so it’s obvious that Disney sprinkled their usual magic over it and made their version with more light and warmth. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of The Brothers Grimm. But, their original stories don’t exactly scream quality time with the family.

Rapunzel, the main character and heroine of this tale, is taken from her parents, the King and Queen, as a baby by the evil Mother Gothel. Rapunzel’s mother was administered the power of a very rare magic flower during her labour with Rapunzel, which in turn gave Rapunzel the same magical healing powers of the flower. 

No copyright infringement intended.

Wanting to stay young forever, Mother Gothel, who had been using the flower’s power before it was obtained by royal guards, stole Rapunzel in the night for herself. She hid Rapunzel away in a tower and raised her as her own, all to keep the power of the flower to herself.

Rapunzel is none the wiser, providing Mother Gothel with all of the power she desires over the years. All she has to do is sing a special song. Her hair glows a beautiful gold, just like the flower did. Anything broken is healed and anything old is reversed back to its previous youth.

It’s not until Rapunzel is nearing her eighteenth birthday that she tries her luck.

She asks Mother Gothel if she can leave the tower for the first time ever to follow her dream of seeing the floating lanterns. The same lanterns that, unbeknownst to her at the time, are the very lanterns that the kingdom releases on her birthday for a reason. The birthday of the ‘lost princess’.

After Mother Gothel denies Rapunzel this opportunity, a thief looking for a hiding place stumbles across Rapunzel’s tower and climbs in. After knocking out the thief, Flynn Rider, with a frying pan, the two strike a deal. Rapunzel gives the stolen crown of the lost princess back to him in return for safe passage. She also asks for guidance to and from the lantern display. 

And thus, adventure ensues.

Directed by Nathan Greno and Byron Howard; written by Dan Fogelman, Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Green, Tangled features the voices of a wonderful cast. Mother Gothel was voiced menacingly by Donna Murphy, Flynn Rider’s smooth tones belong to Zachary Levi and the woman herself, Rapunzel, is voiced by the gloriously talented Mandy Moore. All of whom  provide such gorgeous singing voices for their characters as well.

Alan Menken scored the film and his piece ‘Kingdom Dance’ makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Tangled is one of my favourite Disney films and I will love it forever. If you are yet to see it, I hope you make the time to and find yourself glad that you did so.

About the bake:

I thought about a cake to celebrate Tangled… but when I realised that I wanted to make her braid the main element of the bake, I found myself designing a bread. A deliciously soft braided brioche, as it happens. 

I chose brioche because I wanted a bread that I knew would be a lovely deep golden brown colour once baked. Brioche is made with butter acting as the star of the show. I knew that when I cut into the loaf, it would be a gold colour all the way through as a result. Plus, brioche is so delectably light, not to mention moreish.

The look of the braided brioche is quite literally Rapunzel’s braid.

I shaped the dough into a plait and made more plaits to lay over it with extra dough. The final effect looks great and I had a lot of fun doing it. You could pretend that you are one of the younger girls braiding Rapunzel’s hair in the film! To finish, I placed candy flowers through the braid to resemble the real flowers that are threaded into Rapunzel’s braid in the movie.

You can definitely use real edible flowers if you want. I just chose not to because they are a lot more expensive. They are also harder to get a hold of, whereas candy flowers are something you can pick up at a supermarket.

When it came to flavours, I chose a combination that I knew would compliment each other and that also felt relevant to the film: pistachio and rose water. Pistachio for its earthy taste and green colour (a nod to Pascal). Rose water for its floral and fresh taste (and connection to the flower theme). 

If nuts are an issue for you in this braided brioche, citrus flavours also go really well with rose water. As long as you get the balance of the two right. Lemon in particular would work well, so you could simply leave out the nuts and add another element of your choice i.e. lemon extract or juice to taste (up to 2 tsp of extract or up to 1 lemon worth of juice). 

The key with brioche is to use a standing mixer or hand mixer, both with dough hook attachments.

The dough is too buttery and wet to knead with your hands the whole time. My hand mixer struggled to knead for as long as needed so I ended up kneading my hand with the dough still in the bowl. As you can imagine, this is not the most ideal way to do it but it’s certainly possible. If you have a standing mixer, put it to work so your arms don’t have to!

As you’ll see in the ingredients list, I used plain flour instead of bread flour for this braided brioche. The reason for this is because the protein percentage in the two differ slightly. The difference may be slight but it can make all the difference in the texture of your bread once baked.

As a brioche is supposed to be really soft, using plain flour is ideal to get the feathery texture in your braided loaf. You can still use bread flour, but you’ll end up with a slightly different texture.

Top Tips:

  • Skip out on the nuts if they are an issue and replace with another flavour like a citrus extract.
  • Use dough hooks on an electric mixer as much as possible when kneading. Your arms will thank you for it.
  • Do not skip resting the dough in the fridge. Brioche loves the fridge.
  • Plain flour is best here due to the protein percentage, but bread flour will work, too.
  • Enjoy the braiding process! It really is satisfying.

This is a really fun bake. Like most breads, it takes a little effort and time but it is so worth it. This braided brioche is so fresh and buttery and those pistachios give a lovely, earthy crunch. Go easy on that rose water, a little goes a long way!

Happy baking, happy eating!

Ingredients:

Braided brioche:

  • 600g [3¾ cups] plain [all-purpose] flour
  • 7g [1 sachet] fast action dried yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 75g [¼ cup + 2 tbsp] caster sugar
  • 150ml [5.5 oz] whole milk
  • ½ tsp rose water
  • 5 eggs
  • 250g [8.75 oz] softened unsalted butter (cubed)
  • 75g [½ cup] unsalted pistachios (de-shelled) (chopped)
  • Edible/candy flowers for decoration

Serves: 12+

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Proving time: Up to 4 hours

Baking time: 35 minutes

Method:

Braided brioche dough:

  1. Add the flour and sugar to a large bowl. Add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the opposite side. Do not let the salt and yeast touch yet.
  2. Mix briefly with the dough hooks until combined.
  3. Add in the pistachios and mix again until well distributed.
  4. Measure the milk out into a saucepan and warm through on the hob [stove]. Stir regularly until the milk is warm to the touch. Do not let it boil.
  5. Take the milk off the heat. Add the milk and rose water to the dry ingredients and mix. You can do the rose water to taste, but know that a little goes a long way so take it easy!
  6. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing in between until incorporated. 
  7. Knead on a medium speed for 10 minutes. If using a hand mixer, do this for as long as you can with it and then finish by kneading by hand, keeping the dough in the large bowl while you do so. 
  8. Gradually add the butter over 5 minutes whilst the dough is kneading.
  9. Your dough will be ready when it looks elastic and shiny, and it passes the windowpane test: a piece of the dough stretches when pulled apart and you can see light through it before it rips apart completely. This is the elastic-like element that tells you the gluten has developed enough in your dough.
  10. Cover your dough in its bowl with cling film [plastic wrap] or beeswax wrap or a damp tea towel and allow to rise for an hour to two hours until doubled in size. I usually place my dough in an airing cupboard to rise but any relatively warm place will work. The warmer the place, the quicker your dough will rise so make sure to check on it – over proving is possible!
  11. Once doubled in size, place your dough in its current state in the fridge for 1 hour.

Braiding:

  1. Grease and line a good sized baking tray with greaseproof paper/baking parchment.
  2. After 1 hour is up, tip your dough out onto a clean and lightly floured surface. Knock the air out gently and then begin to shape the braid.
  3. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into a soft rectangular shape – length and width of your choice. 
  4. With a large sharp knife, cut a chunk off the end of your dough – enough to be able to make three small braids from (about 15cm in length) and put aside.
  5. Leaving a 2 inch gap at the top, cut the dough into 3 sections to braid. Do this with the 2 inch gap at one of the short ends of your dough rectangle (not lengthways) so that it holds your 3 sections together. 
  6. Braid the 3 sections by placing one section over the middle section, then the opposite side section over the newly-placed middle section. Repeat this until you have a large braid, then pinch all 3 sections at the end to keep them together.
  7. Repeat this process with your spare dough, dividing it and creating 3 small braids. Size here is a personal preference – the dough will enlarge in the last rising session.
  8. Lay the 3 small braids in different places of your main braid.
  9. Carefully lift and place the braid on your lined baking tray.
  10. Cover again and leave to rise for a final 30 – 35 minutes.

Baking:

  1. After around 20 minutes of your dough in its final rise, preheat your oven to 180°C [325°F] or 160°C fan.
  2. Brush some whole milk or a single beaten egg over the surface of the dough.
  3. Bake your brioche braid on the middle shelf for around 35 minutes, until deeply golden and softly-hollow sounding when tapped on.
  4. Leave to cool for 10 or so minutes on the baking tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Once completely cool, decorate with your chosen flowers.

This lusciously buttery braided brioche is best eaten on the day. It will still be edible for another day if kept in an airtight container, but it won’t be as light and feathery. Enjoy!

Recipe card:

Braided Brioche | Disney’s Tangled

Laura – Flavour of the Film
Delicately buttery pistachio and rose water braided brioche shaped like Rapunzel's plaited hair, celebrating Disney's Tangled.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Proving time 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 35 minutes
Course Snack
Cuisine French
Servings 12

Ingredients
  

  • 600 g [3¾ cups] plain [all-purpose] flour
  • 7 g [1 sachet] fast action dried yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 75 g [¼ cup + 2 tbsp] caster sugar
  • 150 ml [5.5 oz] whole milk
  • ½ tsp rose water
  • 5 eggs
  • 250 g [8.75 oz] softened unsalted butter cubed
  • 75 g [½ cup] unsalted pistachios de-shelled (chopped)
  • Edible/candy flowers for decoration

Instructions
 

  • Add the flour and sugar to a large bowl. Add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the opposite side. Do not let the salt and yeast touch yet.
  • Mix briefly with the dough hooks until combined.
  • Add in the pistachios and mix again until well distributed.
  • Measure the milk out into a saucepan and warm through on the hob [stove]. Stir regularly until the milk is warm to the touch. Do not let it boil.
  • Take the milk off the heat. Add the milk and rose water to the dry ingredients and mix. You can do the rose water to taste, but know that a little goes a long way so take it easy!
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing in between until incorporated.
  • Knead on a medium speed for 10 minutes. If using a hand mixer, do this for as long as you can with it and then finish by kneading by hand, keeping the dough in the large bowl while you do so.
  • Gradually add the butter over 5 minutes whilst the dough is kneading.
  • Your dough will be ready when it looks elastic and shiny, and it passes the windowpane test: a piece of the dough stretches when pulled apart and you can see light through it before it rips apart completely. This is the elastic-like element that tells you the gluten has developed enough in your dough.
  • Cover your dough in its bowl with cling film [plastic wrap] or beeswax wrap or a damp tea towel and allow to rise for an hour to two hours until doubled in size. I usually place my dough in an airing cupboard to rise but any relatively warm place will work. The warmer the place, the quicker your dough will rise so make sure to check on it – over proving is possible!
  • Once doubled in size, place your dough in its current state in the fridge for 1 hour.
  • Grease and line a good sized baking tray with greaseproof paper/baking parchment.
  • After 1 hour is up, tip your dough out onto a clean and lightly floured surface. Knock the air out gently and then begin to shape the braid.
  • Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into a soft rectangular shape – length and width of your choice.
  • With a large sharp knife, cut a chunk off the end of your dough – enough to be able to make three small braids from (about 15cm in length) and put aside.
  • Leaving a 2 inch gap at the top, cut the dough into 3 sections to braid. Do this with the 2 inch gap at one of the short ends of your dough rectangle (not lengthways) so that it holds your 3 sections together.
  • Braid the 3 sections by placing one section over the middle section, then the opposite side section over the newly-placed middle section. Repeat this until you have a large braid, then pinch all 3 sections at the end to keep them together.
  • Repeat this process with your spare dough, dividing it and creating 3 small braids. Size here is a personal preference – the dough will enlarge in the last rising session.
  • Lay the 3 small braids in different places of your main braid.
  • Carefully lift and place the braid on your lined baking tray.
  • Cover again and leave to rise for a final 30 – 35 minutes.
  • After around 20 minutes of your dough in its final rise, preheat your oven to 180°C [325°F] or 160°C fan.
  • Brush some whole milk or a single beaten egg over the surface of the dough.
  • Bake your brioche braid on the middle shelf for around 35 minutes, until deeply golden and softly-hollow sounding when tapped on.
  • Leave to cool for 10 or so minutes on the baking tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Once completely cool, decorate with your chosen flowers.

Notes

This lusciously buttery braided brioche is best eaten on the day. It will still be edible for another day if kept in an airtight container, but it won’t be as light and feathery. Enjoy!
Keyword braided brioche, brioche, brioche braid, disney, pistachio and rose water, rapunzel, tangled

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