Now this is something. It’s a bread, but it is sweet and it has chocolate in it. That should be enough said. Again, it is one of those easy recipes that you can whip up quickly. While it proves you can clean the house, watch a romcom, make your tax return, or have an extensive nap. When baking, your house will smell divine, and the braiding and chocolate swirls make it look so pretty! I saw the bread over at Artisan Bread in Five, but it was not vegan and required brioche dough, which I didn’t care to look up (now that is dedication!). Instead, I went for my own version with the sweet yeast dough. Worked perfect and the people over for tea enjoyed the bread very much (and also me the next morning with some peanut butter on top). It should best be eaten fresh or the next day, after that it can be a wee bit dry, but you can always spread some peanut butter or margarine on top. Chances are, you will gobble it up pretty quickly anyway.
This recipe and pictures were featured on the website of The Independent in August 2014. I am so proud. If you want to check it out, also other yummy recipes from fellow bloggers, follow this link.
I used a 30 cm loaf form, that is a slightly bigger loaf form than you would use for a cake. It is more used in bread baking. After proving the dough filled the whole form. If you only have a smaller form, I would make 2/3 of this recipe.
Here is what you need for the bread dough:
500 g flour (I used plain white, you could also use 1/2 plain, 1/2 spelt)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 packet (about 8 g) dried yeast
pinch of salt
about 250-300 ml warm water (depending on your flour)
Here is what you need for the filling (adopted from Artisan Bread in Five):
4 tablespoons vegan butter (such as Earth Balance or Alsan)
60 g semi-sweet chocolate
1/4 cup powdered sugar/icing sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cardamom or cinnamon (optional)
For the dough, combine flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a bowl. Slowly add some of the water until about 250 ml, and mix. It your dough is still too crumbly or dry, add a little more water at the time by the tablespoon until you have a dough ball forming. Give the dough a good knead, best on a floured surface. I kneaded mine for about 7 minutes, to build up nice gluten strings and make the dough shiny and springy. Roll out the dough in a rectangle of about 1 cm in height (slightly under 1/2 inch).
For the filling, in a small pot, melt the butter and the chocolate on low heat (stir!). When melted, remove from heat and add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder and spices if using. Mix until smooth. Spread the chocolate paste on the dough, leaving a boarder of about 2.5 cm/1 inch. Sprinkle the chocolate drops more or less evenly over the chocolate.
Then, from a long end of your dough rectangle, roll up the dough into a long log. Take a sharp knife and cut the log into half lengthwise. Having both halves vertical to you, press together the ends of the halves on the top. Then lift the right braid over the left one and continue until you are at the bottom. Gently press the ends together here too (for some pictures on how to do this have a look over to Artisan Bread in Five). Then lift your braid into your (greased) loaf pan, cover with a kitchen towel and let the dough prove for at least one hour in a warm spot. The dough should about double its size until it fills out the loaf form. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F and bake bread for about 35 min (until a wooden skewer inserted comes out clean). Let the bread cool in the form for about 10 minutes, then remove and let cool out on a wire rack. Enjoy a big slice with a cup of almond milk and some good company!