1 cup lukewarm water (about 40-50C)
1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 – 2 1/4 cups of plain flour
3/4 teaspoons salt
125g ice-cold salted butter
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 Tablespoons salted butter melted, spike with a healthy pinch of fleur de sel (or any good quality salt)
# Place the water in a bowl, add the yeast and stir to dissolve well. Stir in 1 cup of flour to make a smooth batter. Let stand, covered with plastic wrap for an hour or two. Sprinkle on the salt and stir in. Stir in a further 1 cup of flour, then slowly add little by little of the remaining 1/2 cup of flour to bring the dough together enough to turn out to a lightly floured surface. Knead until very smooth and firm but not dry, about 5 minutes. Incorporate flour only as you have to. Place the dough on a floured spot on the counter, cover well with plastic and let stand for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
# On a lightly floured surface, flatten the dough out to a rectangle at least 30 cm long x 15 cm wide. Thinly slice the butter and divide it into 3 equal portions. Place 1 portion, in pieces, over half to two-thirds of the length of dough. Sprinkle with about 1/4 cup of the sugar. Fold a third of the dough into the centre over the butter, and then fold the other flap over that, like folding a letter. Flatten the dough out again into a rectangle and repat with butter and sugar. Flatten once more, and then repeat with butter only. The dough will feel soft and the butter may be breaking through a little. Don’t worry.
# Lightly grease a 23cm spring form tin and place on a baking sheet. Place the dough in the tin and flatten it once more, pressing it in the sides with your fingertips to form a round. Cut 6 to 7 cuts right through the dough, each about 5 cm long, in a starburst pattern radiating out from near the centre. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 1 hour. Meanwhile, place a rack in the lower third of the oven and pre-heat to 220C. Just before baking, brush the melted butter over the cake and sprinkle with the last of the sugar.
# Bake for 20-25 minutes until very golden brown. Both the top and bottom of the cake will have a caramelised surface. Let cool for at least 30 minutes, and serve cut into wedges.
Tip: This is meant to be a sticky dough, so be careful not to add too much un-necessary flour.