This crown of bread is sweet dough heaven, and the time it takes to create it only makes the end result all the more delicious.
To make this dough, you’ll need:
400g strong white flour, 2tsp fast action dried yeast, 1/2 tsp salt, 2.5 tbsp golden caster sugar, 250ml milk, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 40g butter and zest 2 lemons
Mix your flour and yeast together in a mixing bowl then add the sugar and salt and stir.
Pop your milk, vanilla essence and lemon zest in a jug and warm in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Once warmed, add to the flour etc with the very soft butter and mix until all the ingredients are combined.
Turn this dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes at least. The consistency will be a little sticky but it should be a nice dough to work with. When it’s ready to prove it will be stretchy with a slight sheen.
Place the kneaded dough in a lightly oiled bowl covered in a damp cloth and leave for 1 and a half hours. It should double in size during this time.
Whilst the dough is proving, make the cinnamon and sultana filling. For this, you will need:
3tsp cinnamon, 70g butter, 50g light brown soft sugar and 2 handfuls sultanas
Simply beat the cinnamon, butter and sugar together and finely chop up the sultanas.
To assemble the couronne…
Once your dough has proved and your filling is prepared, you’re ready to put the couronne together.
Roll out your dough into a long rectangle (about 45cm x 20cm) and spread the cinnamon butter across its surface, then sprinkle with the sultanas.
After this, roll the rectangle firmly into a long sausage (from long side to long side) and seal the long edge with a little water on the tip of your finger.
Now, listen closely. Make a cut (all the way through and out the other side) lengthways along the centre of the sausage until you almost reach one end. You should now have the base of a sausage with two long separate strands. Adjust the strands so that the open filling side is facing upwards (this way you won’t lose any).
Now, transfer carefully onto a floured baking tray. To make the crown shape, take the two strands and twist one over the other until the whole sausage is woven together and no dough remains. Once woven (with the filling sides always facing up) tuck each end of the (now complete again) sausage together to form a circle. The bread should now be in a ring formation with visible filling in places and woven strands making up the pattern.
Hopefully you have achieved the couronne shape at this stage, so now cover with lightly oiled clingfilm and leave for an hour to prove again. Preheat the oven to 180c (fan).
Once proved, wash with 1 beaten egg and bake in the oven for half an hour or until a deep golden colour has been achieved.
For the last decoration you will need:
200g icing sugar, 2-3 tbsp water and some flaked almonds.
Once your bread has been baked to perfection, mix the icing sugar and water to create an attractive white icing. Drizzle this over the top of the bread then scatter with almond flakes.
Serve warm with a cup of tea or leave to cool and have a slice as a sinful breakfast treat.