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The Silver Spoon, Phaidon Press

Serves 6-8

• 1/4 ounce fresh yeast
• 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
• 4 eggs
• 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
• scant 1 cup sweet butter, softened and cut into pieces, plus extra for greasing
• salt

Pour a little lukewarm water into a bowl, add the yeast and mash with a fork to a smooth paste.

Sift 1/4 cup of the flour into a mound, make a well in the center and add the dissolved yeast.

Knead well and shape into a ball.

Cut a cross in the surface, cover with a dish towel and let rise in a warm place for 2-3 hours.

Sift the remaining flour into a mound, make a well in the center, break one of the eggs into it and add the sugar and a pinch of salt.

Mix well, gradually incorporating the butter, then knead in two of the remaining eggs, one at a time.

Once the first batch of dough has doubled in size, combine the two mixtures, knead into a large ball, cover with a dish towel and let rise in a warm place for 2-3 hours until doubled in size.

Grease a brioche mold with butter.

Lightly dust your hands with flour and lightly knead the dough again.

Cut off one-third of the dough and set aside.

Shape the larger piece of dough into a ball, place in the prepared mold and cut a cross in the top.

Shape the smaller piece of dough into a pear shape and place, pointed end down, on top of the first piece, then let rise in a warm place for a further 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400°F, Lightly beat the remaining egg and brush it over the surface of the dough.

Bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the brioche comes out dry.

You can use individual fluted molds to make small brioches.

Shape as before, brush with beaten egg and prick with a fork.

Bake for 15-20 minutes.

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