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Briony’s Rapunzel ‘Happily Ever After’ Korovai

We’ve simplified this recipe to make a delicious brioche-style bread to slice and serve with coffee, or to toast for breakfast.  

Serves: 16 

Hands-on time: 45 minutes, plus rising  

Baking time:50 minutes  

Skill level:Needs skill 

For the starter: 

250ml whole milk 

250g strong white bread flour  

10g fast-action dried yeast   

1 tbsp caster sugar

For the dough:  

2 eggs 

10g salt 

130g caster sugar  

finely grated zest of 2 unwaxed lemons 

finely grated zest of 2 unwaxed limes 

finely grated zest of 2 unwaxed oranges 

1 tsp vanilla extract  

1 tsp orange extract  

1/2 tsp lemon extract  

1 tsp ground mixed spice 

1 tbsp salted caramel vodka (optional)   

70g unsalted butter, melted   

350g strong white bread flour  

1 egg, lightly beaten, to glaze 

You will also need:

23cm round cake tin, greased, then base-lined with baking paper  

Step 1 – Make the starter. Warm the milk until it is just hand hot, then pour it into a small mixing bowl. Add the flour, yeast and sugar and stir to combine. Cover with cling film and place in warm place for about 30 minutes, until thick, foamy and doubled in size.  

Step 2 – Make the dough. Put the eggs, salt and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk together on a slow speed for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is thick and pale yellow.  

Step 3 – In a separate bowl, combine the citrus zests with the extracts, mixed spice, salted caramel vodka (if using) and melted butter. Fold this mixture into the egg mixture and stir in the starter until well combined. Attach the dough hook to the mixer, add the flour and mix for about 5 minutes on a slow speed to form a soft dough, then mix for a further 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Cover the bowl with cling film and place somewhere warm to rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size. 

Step 4 – Turn out the dough and divide into two thirds and one third. Shape the larger piece into a ball and flatten it in the tin until it reaches the edges. Divide the remaining one third into 3 equal pieces and roll each into a long rope, each about 90cm long. Plait the ropes together and place the plait on top of the dough around the edge. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise for 1 hour, or until the dough has almost reached the top of the tin.  

Step 5 – Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/400°F/Gas 6. Brush the risen dough with a little beaten egg, then bake for 45–50 minutes, until browned. If the bread starts to brown too much, cover with tin foil for the remainder of the cooking time. Remove the dough from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack before serving.