Leiths How to Cook
Peter Cassidy

This recipe uses plain flour, which has a lower gluten content than strong bread flour, giving the brioche a cake-like texture. For a more bread-like texture, use either strong bread flour or a mixture of plain and strong. Here the brioche is baked in two 500 g loaf tins. You can also bake the mixture in a large fluted brioche mould, shaping the dough as described for individual brioches (see below).


Quantity Ingredient
85ml milk
20g fresh yeast
500g plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
30g caster sugar
6 eggs
350g butter, softened

For lining the mould

Quantity Ingredient
30g butter
flour, to dust

For the glaze

Quantity Ingredient
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk


  1. Pour the milk into a small saucepan and bring to scalding point over a medium heat. Remove from the heat and cool to blood temperature, about 38°C. Pour the milk over the yeast in a small bowl and stir to dissolve.
  2. Meanwhile, put the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Lightly beat the eggs and add to the flour along with the milk and yeast mixture. Using a cutlery knife, mix to a very soft dough. Then, using a wooden spoon, beat the dough until smooth and elastic, about 10–15 minutes.
  3. Turn the dough onto a work surface and, using your fingertips, work the dough by stretching it to shoulder height; it won’t stretch this far until the gluten is fully developed, so keep working it until it does.
  4. Cut the butter into walnut-sized pieces. Using the same kneading-stretching technique, work the pieces of butter into the dough one at a time, only adding each when the previous piece is completely worked in. As more butter is worked in, the dough should gradually become more shiny, elastic and glossy.
  5. Lift the dough into a clean bowl and cover with lightly oiled cling film. Leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
  6. Tip the dough out onto the work surface and knock back by turning it over with your fingertips a few times. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 3–4 hours (up to 24).
  7. To prepare the tins, melt the 30 g butter in a small saucepan and remove from the heat. Brush two 500 g loaf tins with the butter and set aside in a cool place for the butter to firm up, then brush again with butter and, before the butter sets the second time, dust with flour, tapping any excess out.
  8. Divide the dough in half, shape into 2 loaves and place them in the tins. Cover loosely with lightly oiled cling film and leave to prove at room temperature until risen to the top of the mould. Place in the fridge for 10–15 minutes to firm the dough. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 220°C.
  9. For the glaze, lightly whisk the egg yolk and milk together in a small bowl, then sieve. Brush the risen brioche with the egg glaze, taking care not to let it drip down the sides of the mould.
  10. Bake the brioche in the oven for 40–45 minutes until cooked and dark golden brown on top. The finished loaf should be quite dark, but if it appears to be colouring too quickly, lower the oven setting to 200°C. The brioche should come out of the tin easily and sound hollow when tapped on the base. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


  • Individual brioches: Grease and dust 12 small fluted brioche tins. Divide the dough into 12 pieces, roll three-quarters of each piece into a ball and place in the tins. Make a hole in the middle of each with a floured wooden spoon handle. Roll the remaining pieces of dough into 12 small balls, place in the holes in the larger rounds, and press the wooden spoon handle through to seal. Place on a tray, cover loosely with cling film and prove as above. Refrigerate as above, then brush with the egg glaze and bake for 8–10 minutes.
Leiths School of food and wine
cookery course
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