For 2 loaves:
- 375g strong white flour
- 50g caster sugar
- 7g sachet fast-action yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 100ml milk
- 3 eggs + one for brushing
- 175g butter, softened
In a mixer or large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, yeast and salt (put salt and yeast in opposite sides of the bowl, as salt does retard yeast growth), then add the milk and 3 of the eggs and continue mixing to make a smooth dough – 5 mins in the mixer (dough hook) or 8 mins by hand.
Add the softened butter in portions and mix for a further 5 mins in a mixer or 10 mins by hand. Dough will be very soft at this stage. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and leave in the fridge overnight. Your dough will then be stiff and easy to shape.
Grease 2 x 500g bread tins, then divide the dough into 16 or 20 pieces – you can add some fruits into the dough at this stage. Shape the dough into little balls – you can put a piece of chocolate in the middle of each ball. Place the balls in a tin in sequences of 2 until the tin is full (8 in the tin or 10 in the tin). I usually make mine as 10.
Put each tin in a foil bag and leave to prove for approx. 3 hours until doubled in size.
Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Brush with 1 beaten egg and bake for 20 mins until golden brown and the loaves sound hollow when tapped underneath. Cool on a wire rack.
As this is enriched dough (contains sugar and butter) it tends to burn in the oven quickly – be careful or cover with some baking paper half way through.
Source: BBC Good Food – slightly modified