• 1 camembert (about 250g) in a wooden box (see tip, below)
  • 50g panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 7 fresh bay leaves, to serve (optional)
  • cranberry sauce or chilli jam, to serve

For the brioche buns


  • STEP 1

    First, make the brioche dough. Put the flour, yeast, sugar and 2 tsp salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Pour 2 tbsp of the beaten egg into a small bowl and set aside. Tip the rest of the egg into the mixer bowl along with the warmed milk. Mix on a medium speed until the mixture comes together to form a dough, then carry on mixing for 5 mins on a medium speed, or until springy and glossy.

  • STEP 2

    With the machine still running, add the butter, a small piece at a time, until fully incorporated, about 8-10 mins. At first, it will look like it’s not coming together, but keep working the dough, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl as you go. Once all the butter has been worked in, carry on mixing for a minute or two until smooth. Form into a ball and cover the bowl with a tea towel. Leave for about an hour until doubled in size.

  • STEP 3

    Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and knead to knock out the air, then divide into 24 equal pieces, roughly weighing 45g each, and roll each into a ball. Take the cheese out of the box, set aside and put the empty box in the middle of a large baking tray lined with baking parchment. Arrange a ring of 8-10 dough balls around the box, then another ring of balls around that one, fitting them into the gaps. Leave to prove in a warm place for 30 mins or chill for a few hours.

  • STEP 4

    Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Brush the dough balls with the reserved beaten egg, sprinkle with salt and use a pair of scissors to make a snip in the top of each one to give them a spiked effect. Unwrap the cheese and return to the wooden box. Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and thyme leaves, and bake for 25-30 mins until the dough balls are golden brown. Leave to cool for 5 mins, then scatter over the bay leaves, if using, and serve with cranberry sauce or chilli jam.

Recipe tips

5 more ideas

Garlic brioche buns

To add another layer of flavour to the wreath, make garlic butter to brush over it. Melt 80g butter with 2 crushed garlic cloves, then stir through 2 tbsp chopped parsley and drizzle this over the baked wreath while it’s still warm.

Cheese-stuffed brioche buns

For double cheese action, roll each ball of dough around a small piece of mozzarella in step 3. It will melt as the brioche bakes to give you even more gooey cheese to enjoy.

Cheese swap

I’ve chosen camembert asit’seasytofindina box for baking, but if you want to switch it up, try a Tunworth, a similar cheese that’s made in Hampshire. It’s available online or in some supermarkets.

Christmas truffle

For a bit of Christmas luxury, any truffle- flavoured food such as oil, salt, butter, or paste would work well drizzled over or served with the wreath.

Get ahead

Bake the buns around the box without the cheese up to a day ahead, then remove the box and bake the cheese when needed and simply pop it into place to serve with the cooled buns.

Goes well with


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