This brioche is made in the classic loaf shape, with 'leaves' that you pull apart by hand. The buttery brioche dough is sandwiched with a mixture of lemon zest and cardamom infused sugar, for something deliciously different and festive.
Combine the yeast with 3 tablespoons warm water and 1 pinch sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes, till the mixture is frothy.
In a large mixing bowl, combine 400g of the flour, 65g caster sugar and salt. Stir in yeast mixture. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, combine 60g butter, milk and seeds from 8 cardamom pods. Remove from heat once warmed through and the butter has melted. Stir in vanilla. Ensure you don't overheat the mixture - you should be able to keep your finger in the milk and comfortably count to 10. If it's too warm, let it cool slightly.
Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture, mixing with a spatula or wooden spoon. Stir in eggs. Add remaining 200g flour and knead for a few minutes till dough is smooth.
Place dough into a large greased bowl and cover with greased cling film, then with a tea towel. Let rise in a warm place, away from any drafts, for about 1 hour, or till the dough has doubled in volume.
While the dough is rising, combine the 160g caster sugar with the lemon zest and seeds from 6 cardamom pods. Rub together with your fingertips to release the flavours. Set aside.
Deflate the dough. Dust a work surface with flour, no more than 2 tablespoons, then knead briefly. Cover with a tea towel and let rest 5 minutes.
Lightly dust work surface with flour. Roll dough out to a 30x50cm rectangle.
Brush melted butter over the dough. Sprinkle with the lemon and cardamom mixture.
Cut dough lengthways into six long strips of equal width. Stack each strip on top of the other.
Cut the strip into six equal parts, obtaining six squares.
Grease a large loaf tin with butter and dust with flour. Arrange the dough squares in the tin vertically, one behind the other. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes, till doubled in volume.
Bake the brioche in a preheated 180 C / Gas 4 oven for 35 minutes, or till the top is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes in the tin. Unmould by running a knife along the sides of the tin and inverting once the brioche is cool.