Master the art of French brioche with our simple recipe. Rich and yet surprisingly light, the sweet dough is perfect for breakfast - why not try toasting and topping it with fresh fruit?
Place 2 tbsp warm water into a small bowl, sprinkle over the yeast and sugar, whisk together and leave for 10 minutes or until frothy. Sift the flour into a large bowl and then stir in the salt. Make a well in the middle of the flour and then gradually add the yeast mix and beaten eggs. Use a fork to bring the mixture together into a dough. Tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding a little more flour as necessary for 10 minutes or until the dough is elastic but still a little sticky.
Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 2-3 hours. On a lightly floured surface, knock back the dough and flatten it slightly with your finger tips. Scatter with a third of the cubed softened butter, fold the dough over the butter, add a sprinkling of flour and then knead gently for 5 minutes. Repeat with the rest of the butter (a third at a time), adding more flour as necessary, until all the butter has been incorporated and keep kneading until there are no streaks of butter showing.
Grease and line the bottom and sides of a 900g loaf tin with nonstick baking paper and put a double layer on the base. Divide the dough into 8 equal sized small balls. Place these in pairs across the bottom of the tin so there are 4 balls along the length of the tin and 2 across. Cover with oiled cling film and leave in a warm place for 2-3 hours or until the dough has again doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Brush the top of the loaf with a little beaten egg and bake on the top shelf of the oven for 30 minutes or until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it. Cover the loaf loosely with foil during cooking (but only after 20 minutes) if it is browning too quickly.
Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Serve in thick slices with butter.
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