30g/1oz yeast or 2 x 7g sachets of fast-action yeast
1kg/2lb 4oz strong bread flour
120g/4½oz unsalted butter at room temperature
80g/3oz caster sugar
4 large free-range eggs, plus 1 beaten egg for brushing
For the brie
1kg/2lb 4oz brie wheel
1 garlic clove
fresh thyme sprigs
fresh rosemary sprigs
olive oil, for drizzling
2 tbsp aniseed liqueur
cooked new potatoes
cured meat selection
To make the herb butter, mix all the ingredients together and form into a long sausage shape. Cover with cling film and put in the fridge to chill.
Pour the milk into a pan and warm gently until it’s about body temperature – feeling neither warm nor cold when you dip your finger in.
To mix by hand, rub the yeast into the flour, then rub in the butter. Make a well in the centre and add the sugar and salt, then the eggs and milk. Use a plastic spatula to mix the dough for 2–3 minutes you have a wet dough. Turn out onto a work surface and knead to form a smooth dough.
To mix in a mixer, place the cold butter between two sheets of baking paper and bash it with the end of a rolling pin to soften and break it up into small pieces. Break up the yeast with your fingers and mix with the flour.
Put the milk and eggs into the bowl of a food mixer, then add the yeast and flour, together with the sugar and salt. Cover the butter in the flour and tear the butter into a few pieces. Mix on a slow speed for 4 minutes, then turn the speed to medium and continue to mix until you have a dough which comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. (Don’t be tempted to turn up the speed, but let the dough come together in its own time.)
Lightly dust your work surface with flour and form the dough into a ball. Put the dough into your (lightly floured) bowl, cover with a cloth and leave to rest for 2 hours.
Meanwhile, prepare your brie. Make some diagonal slashes in the top of the brie, place some slivers of garlic, fresh thyme and rosemary sprigs and drizzle some olive oil all over the top. Place a few thin slices of herb butter on top.
Preheat oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7.
Once your dough has rested, remove from the bowl and cut in half. Press half of the dough out to fit your baking ring, place onto a piece of greaseproof paper and lift onto the ring on a baking tray. Place the brie into the dough and leave, covered, in a warm place for an hour.
Brush the dough edges with egg wash and drizzle the brie with a little aniseed liqueur and olive oil. Bake the brie for 40–60 minutes until golden and melted in the centre.
Serve with toast, potatoes and meats to dip into the cheese. Once the cheese has gone, fill the centre with a green salad.
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