- 4 large eggs
- 20ml milk
- 350g strong white bread flour
- 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
- 30g caster sugar
- 5g salt
- ½ tsp mixed spice
- 200g unsalted butter, cubed and softened
- 1 egg, beaten with a pinch of salt
- 1 whole 250g camembert in a wooden, stapled carton
- 2-3 sprigs thyme
For the decoration
- 30g fresh cranberry
- rosemary springs or bay leaves
The day before baking whisk together the eggs and milk in a jug. Put the flour, yeast, sugar, salt and spice in the bowl of a kitchen mixer fitted with a dough hook. Stir to combine.
On a medium setting, slowly pour in the egg mixture in a steady stream, continuing to stir until incorporated into a very soft, wet dough. Add the butter and increase the speed, kneading for 8-10 minutes. The dough will be ready when it clings around the dough hook. At this stage it will look more like a thick cake batter than bread dough. Cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight.
On the day line a baking tray with baking parchment. Remove the cheese from its wooden carton and put the cheese back in the fridge until later. Put the carton in the centre of the lined tray.
Tip the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Divide into 5 large equal-sized pieces - it can help to roll the dough into an even sausage shape and mark with a knife first to get equal pieces.
Divide each fifth by 5 again. One at a time, roll each of these pieces gently into a ball. Arrange the buns around the wooden carton, you’ll need 10 for the inner ring and 15 for the outer ring. Leave around 0.5cm between each bun, giving them room to rise. Cover with oiled cling film and leave in a warm place for 30-40 minutes or until nearly doubled in size.
Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Remove any plastic wrapping or stickers from the cheese. With a small knife, make an incision in the top rim and remove the top layer of rind. Sprinkle with thyme leaves and place in the carton, cut side up. Brush the buns with the beaten egg.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Slide onto a serving platter. Decorate with the herbs and fresh cranberries.