This is a wonderfully versatile dough and has been on our menu since day one. It is hugely popular when turned into buns (see these Peach, Chocolate & Almond Buns or more in the book) though arguably most things are when stuffed with custard.
Makes: 1 loaf
Prep time: 20 minutes (+ 4 hours proving)
Cook time: 30-40 minutes
PHOTOGRAPHY: LAURA EDWARDS ASSISTED BY SAM HARRIS
STYLING: ROSIE RAMSDEN, JESS DENNISON ASSISTED BY KITTY COLES
Season: Year Round
500g plain flour
125g caster sugar
100g whole milk
1 large egg, plus extra egg, beaten, for egg wash
10g dried instant action yeast
250g unsalted butter, softened
Weigh out all of the ingredients together in a free-standing mixer, being careful that the sugar and yeast don’t touch at this stage. Beat using a dough hook (or by hand) until smooth and well combined. The butter should be soft before using, otherwise you will notice lumps throughout the mixture. If this happens, allow it to soften up, then mix again to fully incorporate.
We normally mix up this dough at the end of our working day and sit it in a cool spot to prove overnight. We are using the dough quite early, so if you want to bake at a leisurely pace, I would recommend popping it in the refrigerator. Either that or set an alarm for the crack of dawn… If you want to make your brioche in one day, the dough should be fully proved and ready to shape after 2 hours.
To shape the brioche into loaves, simply grease and line 2 large loaf tins, then split the dough in half to roughly the same length as each tin. They should be smooth and rounded when placed into the tins. Cover and leave to prove for another 2 hours, or until well risen and doubled in size.
Half an hour before they are finished proving, preheat the oven to 170ºC (340ºF/Gas 5). Lightly brush the loaves with egg wash, then slash down the middle with a knife at a 45-degree angle. Bake for 30–40 minutes, or until golden brown and glossy on top. Allow to cool for 20 minutes in the tin before turning out and cooling completely.
Flora’s bakery Aran in the little town of Dunkeld is reason enough to make the trip up to Scotland. But for the times that you can’t quite get there, her cookbook will give you your fix. Published by Hardie Grant (£22) with beautiful photography © Laura Edwards.