Brioche is one of those things that it’s really worth making from scratch. The shop-bought stuff is just never quite the same – and this bake makes your kitchen smell like a little Parisian bakery. This loaf is baked in a round tin in a flower shape so, when it comes to serving, no knives necessary – just tear off a chunk. Brioche is an enriched dough, meaning it contains butter, eggs and sugar, and must be left to rise in the fridge so that the dough is cool enough to handle without leaking butter everywhere. I recommend preparing the dough the evening before, leaving it to rise in the fridge overnight, then proving and baking in the morning just in time for brunch.
A note on equipment: unfortunately, you will need a mixer for this one; the butter content just makes it too sticky to knead by hand.
500g strong white bread flour
50g caster sugar
10g easy bake yeast
140ml warm milk (full fat gives the roundest flavour)
5 medium eggs
250g unsalted butter, softened
100g plain chocolate chips
Put the flour in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook and add the salt and sugar to one side and the yeast to the other.
Add the milk and eggs and mix on a low speed (about 4 on a KitchenAid) for 2 minutes, then on medium (about 6 on a KitchenAid) for a further 8, until your dough is soft and glossy.
Add the butter and mix for another 5 minutes until the butter is incorporated. Lastly, stir in the chocolate chips.
Tip the dough into a large mixing bowl (no need to grease due to the butter content), cover with cling film and chill overnight, or for about 7 hours.
When the dough is cooled and firm enough to shape, grease a deep 25cm cake tin. Take the dough from the fridge and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Fold it over a few times to knock back, then divide into nine equally-sized pieces. I weigh mine to make sure they’re within 10g of each other, but I’m just a bit like that.
Shape each piece into a ball by cupping your hands around it on the work surface and turning it rapidly. Place one ball in the centre of the tin, then arrange the other eight around it. Cover with a plastic bag and leave to prove at room temperature for 2-3 hours, until the dough has risen to the top of the tin.
When you’re 20 minutes off, preheat the oven to 170°C fan. Bake for 30 minutes until a skewer in the middle comes out clean, then leave for 10 minutes before removing from the tin and cooling on a rack. If you want to add a little extra shine, brush with heated apricot jam.