Yield: one loaf Time: 12 hours
500g strong white bread flour (plus extra for dusting)
50g caster sugar
10g fast action yeast
140ml warm full-fat milk
5 medium eggs
250g unsalted butter, softened (plus extra for greasing)
- Pour the flour into the bowl of your mixer, and then add the salt and sugar to one side of the bowl, and the yeast to the other (don't place the salt next to the yeast as it will prevent it activating properly).
- Add the milk and the eggs and mix on a slow speed for 2 minutes, and then on a medium speed for 6-8 minutes until your mixture is elastic, soft and glossy. You'll know it's elastic when you turn the mixer off as it'll retract like a living organism breathing. I did it a couple of times, watching it, enthralled. It may just be me, but I thought the whole process was pretty cool to watch.
- Add the softened butter and mix for 4-5 minutes until fully incorporated. You may need to scrape the sides of the bowl down a couple of times! The dough will be very soft by the end of this step.
- Tip the dough into a bowl (I sprinkled mine with a little flour first just in case), cover with cling film and chill overnight (or for at least 7 hours). It should be firm and easy enough to shape.
- Grease a 25cm/9.8in (I used my 9in tin!) round deep cake tin. It really does need to be a deep tin as it rises quite considerably.
- Take your dough out of the fridge and tip it onto a lightly floured surface. Fold it in on itself a few times to knock out any air bubbles, and then divide into 9 equal pieces. Place each dough ball in a 'cage' formed by your hand and the counter, and move your hand around in a quick, circular motion to create a dough ball. Put 8 of the dough balls around the edge of your cake tin, and one in the middle (there will be gaps, but once it's been left to prove all those gaps will be filled).
- Cover with a clean plastic bag (I improvised with a large sandwich bag split down one seam and placed it over my cake tin, tucking under the sides), and leave to prove for 2-3 hours until the dough has risen to just above the rim of the cake tin.
- Heat your oven to 190C / 170C Fan / 375F / Gas Mark 5.
- Once the brioche has proved, remove the plastic bag and place the cake tin in the oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until a knife in the centre comes out clean. Be sure to do this test, as the sugar and butter in the dough causes the bread to brown before it's actually fully cooked! Remove from the oven, take the brioche out of the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
This brioche will easily last a weekend in terms of freshness, but you can also heat it up a little in the oven if you'd like it warm. It'll get a nice crispy edge to it! Delicious with butter, or with Nutella. Probably with jam, too!
Adapted from Paul Hollywood's 'How to Bake' p186.