Brioche is wonderfully delicate and light, despite its rich butter and eggs - truly great brioche leaves no traces on your fingers as you eat. I use it for a number of dishes and it makes the best bread and butter pudding ever. Sprinkle the dough with chunks of chocolate before forming the loaf. Serve for afternoon tea with the chocolate warm and soft inside. For a savoury dish, I stud the dough with garlicky sausages before baking. Served with grilled mushrooms, spinach, blue cheese and prosciutto, it makes a great lunch dish.
- Heat the oven to 200C. Into a mixer bowl place the yeast, warm milk, sugar and salt. Beat lightly on a low speed, with the dough hook.
- Add the flour and 5 eggs and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
- Add the softened butter a little at a time. Once all the butter is added, mix for a further 15 minutes.
- Cover the bowl with a wet tea towel, and leave for 2 hours to double in volume.
- Place the dough onto a floured bench and knock it back with the fingertips, flipping it over. Shape into a large ball and divide it in two.
- Place each portion of dough into greased and floured bread tins. Brush the top of the loaves with the remaining beaten egg.
- Place the pans in a warm place for the dough to prove again, for about 20 minutes.
- Snip the tops of the loaves with scissors. Bake for 45 minutes.
- When cooked, remove from the tins immediately and cool on a wire rack.
Serving suggestion: Fantastic with goats cheese, serve this with fresh dates drizzled with honey.