- 1 cup (9 fl oz/250 ml) milk
- 4 cups (1 lb 2 oz/500 g) plain (all-purpose) flour
- ½ cup (3 ½ oz/100 g) sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 ½ teaspoons active dry (fast-action) yeast
- 4 eggs
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
- 1–2 teaspoon orange blossom water, to taste
- ¾ cup (7 oz/200 g) butter cold, diced melted butter, for greasing and brushing
- 1 egg, beaten
- pinch of salt
- pinch of sugar
- Bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, then remove from heat and let cool. Set aside.
- Put the flour into a large bowl and make a well. Sprinkle in the sugar and the yeast and pour in the milk. Close the well by flicking flour on top of the milk and let it sit for 1 hour.
- Add the remaining ingredients except the melted butter and form into a ball. Transfer to a clean work surface and knead for 10 minutes. Add the butter and knead again for 10 minutes. Return to the bowl and cover. Let rise for 2 hours, until double in size.
- Grease two baking sheets with butter. Divide the dough in three pieces. Take two of those pieces and roll them into tight balls and then press them gently to flatten a bit. Cover and let rise for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 400° F (200°C/Gas Mark 6).
- After 1 hour, take the remaining piece of dough and divide it into 10 little pieces. Roll two of these pieces into small balls and eight of these pieces into long, thin logs.
- To make the glaze, combine all the ingredients and 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl and mix well. Brush the loaves gently with the glaze. Take four of the logs and drape them in an “X” shape over one of the disks of dough. Repeat for the other disk of dough. Brush these with egg. Take a little ball of dough and place it on the top of one disk of dough, where the “X” meets. Press down gently so it sticks.
- Repeat for the other little ball of dough.
- Glaze the dough balls and baking the loaves in the oven for 30–35 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. While they are still warm, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.