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Fennel and orange sugared brioche

A little bit of spice makes this brioche extra nice.

By Emma Knowles
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 25 mins cooking plus proving
  • Serves 6 - 8
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  • 7 gm (1 sachet) dried yeast
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) lukewarm milk
  • 100 gm raw caster sugar
  • Finely grated rind of 2 oranges
  • 410 gm plain flour
  • 3 eggs, plus 1 extra, lightly beaten, for eggwash
  • 185 gm softened butter
  • 40 gm candied orange rind, finely diced
  • 60 gm pearl sugar (see note)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds


  • 1
    Combine yeast and milk in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and stand until foaming (4-5 minutes). Add caster sugar and half the rind, mix to combine, then add flour in 3 batches along with an egg with each, kneading until smooth between each addition, then knead until shiny and elastic (4-5 minutes). With the motor running, gradually add butter and knead until incorporated (3-4 minutes). Add candied rind, mix to combine, transfer to a buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (1½-2 hours). Knock back dough, return to bowl, cover with plastic wrap and weight with a large heavy plate. Refrigerate overnight to prove.
  • 2
    Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knock back, add 40gm pearl sugar and knead to incorporate, then stand for 10 minutes. Divide into 8 even pieces and roll into balls. Place a ball in the centre of a 2-litre, 20cm-diameter fluted brioche tin (see note), then arrange 6 balls around it. Place the remaining ball in the centre on top, cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel, and stand in a warm place until almost doubled in size (1-1½ hours).
  • 3
    Preheat oven to 180C. Combine fennel seeds in a small bowl with remaining rind and remaining pearl sugar. Brush eggwash lightly over brioche, scatter with fennel seed mixture and bake until dark golden and well risen (20-25 minutes). Serve warm or at room temperature on the day of baking or lightly toasted the following day.


Note Pearl sugar is available from The Essential Ingredient and select delicatessens. If it's not available, coarsely crushed sugar cubes will achieve a similar result. If you don't have a brioche tin, you can use a loaf tin that's 11cm x 23cm and 10cm deep, arranging the dough balls side by side.