• Paul Hollywood's savoury brioche couronne (Bloomsbury / Paul Hollywood's Bread)Source: Bloomsbury / Paul Hollywood's Bread

This brioche crown bursts with oozy cheese, Parma ham and fragrant basil. It’s a meal in itself when served alongside a good salad and makes a stunning centrepiece on the table.






Skill level

Average: 2.9 (114 votes)

You can make the dough by hand if you prefer, but as it’s a soft butter-rich brioche dough it is much easier to use a food mixer. Take your time over twisting it into shape – think about the end result and remember the filling is supposed to burst out.


  • 500 g strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 10 g salt
  • 10 g fast-action dried yeast
  • 170 ml tepid full-fat milk
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 250 g unsalted butter, in small pieces, at room temperature
  • 8–10 slices Parma ham
  • 3–4 balls buffalo mozzarella, each about 125g
  • Small handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium egg, beaten, for brushing
  • Handful of freshly grated Parmesan

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Rising time: 2-3 hours total 

1. Put the flour into a food mixer fitted with a dough hook and add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the milk and eggs and mix until well combined. Add the butter, bit by bit, as you mix for a further 5 minutes. It’s important to add the butter very gradually.

2. Tip the dough into an oiled, large plastic container or bowl and cover with an oiled lid or cling film. This dough can rise greatly and needs room to expand. Place in fridge and leave until firm and risen (see note).

3. Line a tray with baking paper. Have all the filling ingredients ready so you can work quickly when shaping the crown.

4. Tip the risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Without knocking back, roll the dough out to a rectangle, just under 1.5cm thick, with a long side facing you. Lay the Parma ham slices over the dough. Tear the mozzarella into pieces and scatter over the ham. Sprinkle the basil on top.

5. Roll up the dough from the long side furthest from you to enclose the filling. Roll into a sausage, 40–50cm long. Cut down the entire length of the roll, to reveal the filling. Hold the pieces firmly at each end and twist quite tightly together, moving your hands in opposite directions. Now coil the twisted dough into a circle and press the ends firmly together.

6. Place the crown on a lined baking tray. Put the tray inside a roomy plastic bag and leave to prove for 1–1½ hours until at least doubled in size.

7. Preheat the oven to 200°C fan-forced (see Note).

5.  Brush the top of the couronne with beaten egg and scatter with the grated Parmesan. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, until golden brown. Leave to cool slightly and serve warm or cold.



• If you have a very cool kitchen you may be able to leave it out, but the dough usually needs chilling after the addition of the butter so that it becomes firm enough to handle. Leave it to chill and rise for at least several hours, or overnight. 

• Baking times and instructions are given for fan-forced ovens. If using a conventional oven, you will need to increase the oven setting by around 10-15°C. Ovens vary, so check your bread towards the end of the suggested cooking time.



Recipe and images from Paul Hollywood's Bread by Paul Hollywood (Bloomsbury, available in hardback and e-book)