French Lessons
1 loaf
60 mins
Cooking time
45 mins
Steve Brown

To my way of thinking, brioche is the perfect combination of sweet and savoury. You can eat it toasted – to serve with pâtés and terrines – or use it in puddings. All the butter means that it takes a long time to rise – but it’s well worth the wait.


Quantity Ingredient
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh yeast
50ml milk, warmed
350g plain flour, sifted
40g sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
250g butter, very soft
1 egg, whisked, for the glaze


  1. Before you start, make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature. In a small bowl, whisk together the fresh yeast and milk until completely dissolved.
  2. Put the flour, sugar and salt into your electric mixer. With the dough hook attached, mix briefly to combine. Add the warm milk and the eggs and knead at a medium speed. With the motor running, slowly dollop in the butter and knead for 5 minutes, making sure the flour is mixed in completely. The dough should be shiny and come away cleanly from the bowl. Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave in a warm place to prove. It should double in bulk.
  3. Knock back the dough with your fists, then return to the bowl, cover and leave to prove again for 40–45 minutes, this time in the refrigerator. This slow prove allows the butter to set firm and stabilise, and the dough will be less likely to split.
  4. Grease a 24 cm x 11 cm loaf tin. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and knock it back for a second time. Divide the dough into thirds and roll each piece to a round ball. Place the dough balls in the prepared tin and leave in a warm place until they rise up to the top of the tin, about 20 minutes.
  5. While the dough is proving for the third time, preheat the oven to 180ºC. When ready to bake, brush the surface with the egg glaze and bake for 40–45 minutes until risen and golden brown. Carefully turn the loaf out of the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack. Wait until completely cold before slicing (although if you’re like me, you’ll just rip off big chunks and eat it warm from the oven). Wrap the brioche in plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator for 3 days, or up to a month in the freezer.
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