Chocolate Coffee Cardamom Bread! (CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED)

Thanksgiving has come and gone too quickly yet again. We have finished eating our Thanksgiving Leftovers Torta, but we’ll continue to hold on to our reasons to stop and give thanks, especially as the holiday madness begins in earnest. We’ve come up with a great way to celebrate the season with you–and they don’t involve turkey or long lines of shoppers–a decadent chocolate bread, laced with coffee, cardamom, and more chocolate!

Let’s start with the bread. The recipe is our Chocolate Espresso Whole Wheat Bread recipe, which comes from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes A Day, but tweaked just a bit, with a swirl of cardamom sugar and chocolate chunks. The combination of chocolate, cardamom, and coffee is quite a treat; the flavors compliment each other beautifully. This bread is rich and dreamy, but the dough is still made with whole wheat flour and honey, adding lots of flavor with less fat than our regular brioche, for example. There is, of course, the coffee icing that covers the top, an added little indulgence for the Holidays.


Chocolate Coffee Cardamom Bread

2 cups whole wheat flour

4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup cocoa powder

1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (or two packets)

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1/4 cup vital wheat gluten

1 cup strong brewed coffee, lukewarm

1 1/4 cups lukewarm water

4 large eggs

1/2 cup neutral-flavored oil

3/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1/4 cup sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon ground cardamom

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine

Whisk together the flours, cocoa powder, yeast, salt, and vital wheat gluten in a 5 quart bowl, or other lidded food container. Combine the liquid ingredients and mix with the dry ingredients without kneading.

The dough will be loose, but will firm up when chilled. Don’t try to use it without chilling at least 2 hours.

Cover the dough, and allow to rest at room temperature until it rises and collapses, about 2 hours. Refrigerate and use over the next 5 days.

On baking day, grease a 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch nonstick loaf pan. Cut off a 2-pound piece of dough and shape into a ball. Generously flour your work surface, and roll the dough into a 1/4 inch rectangle, dusting with flour as needed. Brush the surface of the dough with 2 tablespoons melted butter, and sprinkle the cardamom sugar mixture evenly over the butter. Then sprinkle the chopped chocolate over the sugar mixture. Roll the dough into a cylinder, and pinch the seams shut. Place in the prepared loaf pan, and allow to rest for about an hour and 45 minutes, covered loosely with plastic wrap. (For detailed instructions on rolling out, sprinkling, and rolling up, see Zoe’s post here).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake bread for 45-50 minutes, until firm. Remove the bread from the pan and drizzle with the coffee icing (recipe follows). Allow to cool before slicing and eating.

Coffee Icing

1 cup powdered sugar

2-3 tablespoons strong coffee

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

Combine powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt together. Add coffee one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

444 thoughts to “Chocolate Coffee Cardamom Bread! (CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED)”

  1. I saw this bread in your book, and it sounds really delicious. I have been hesitant to make it, since I do not eat eggs or dairy (butter), so I was wondering if there is a way I can substitute something else for these ingredients. Also, is it okay to add a little more wheat flour (possibly 3 cups wheat and 3 cups all purpose. Any suggestions are appreciated!!!

    1. Hi Sara,

      I have never tried it with an egg substitute, but I do know that other readers have had good luck with them in other recipes. You can use any butter substitute you choose in place of the butter. If you want to increase the whole wheat you will also have to increase the water. It will take some experimenting when you are changing the recipe so much, so I would start with a half batch.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Can I make the Chocolate Espresso bread using just bread flour? I know about adjusting the water but would the total amount of flour be the same?

      2. Hi SueJenn,

        You can use the same amount of bread flour and if the dough seems too dry add a bit of water.

        Enjoy, Zoë

  2. I use ground chia seeds or flax seeds as an egg replacer. You need 1 tblsp ground seed in 3 tbsp water. I have not tried this recipe, but i make bread this way and it works. I plan to try this recipe with vegan, transfat free margarine and chia. Looks decadent! Thank you for the recipe.

  3. I mean 1 tbsp white chia/flax seed powdered + 3 tbsp water for each egg. Use warm water and set aside for ten minutes before using in a recipe.

  4. I have a question about the resting phase. The instructions are a little unclear in one spot. After combining the liquid and solid ingredients, the dough should rest at room temperature for 2 hours and then chill for 2 hours, correct? I almost set about to chill mine in the fridge for 2 hours, then rest it 2 hours, then refrigerate again for 2 hours before deciding that I was probably being too literal with the directions. 🙂

  5. Because people so rarely leave comments after they’ve actually made a recipe, let me! I made this today and it was AWESOME. I am a very novice bread-maker and by following the directions (minus my moment of confusion above), this came out great! I like the hint of coffee, but my coffee-averse husband couldn’t even detect it after I picked the glaze off of the piece I gave him. 😉 I will probably bump up the cardamom 25% next time, but that’s my only tweak.

    Thanks for the great recipe! I’ll be buying your cookbook at my next payday.

    1. Hi Viola,

      The breads from our book Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day have vital wheat gluten added so the whole grain breads won’t be too dense after the dough has been stored for several days. If you take out the wheat gluten, the recipe will be too wet and you’ll need to adjust the water. The dough also won’t store well for more than a day or two.

      Thanks, Zoë

  6. Made this bread this morning on a COLD day here in Wisconsin. It was exactly the treat we needed to feel warm and toasty. Thanks jeff and Zoe for such a yummy treat!

  7. Hi Jeff/Zoe,
    Can i make this recipe with just all purpose flour? If so, what are the adjustments I have to make with the recipe?
    Thank You!

    1. Hi Saufay,

      The recipe won’t work with AP flour unless you adjust the liquid. You will have to reduce the amount, but it may take some trial and error to find the right amount. We do have a chocolate bread in our New Artisan Bread book that is an all-purpose flour version.

      Thanks, Zoë

  8. Coffee – chocolate – cardamom – how in the world can I lose?! This just went on my list for the holidays. Does it freeze well? If so, for how long? And frost it after defrosting?

    1. Yes, it’ll freeze, either baked or as unbaked dough. Two weeks is safer, but you could try three. Probably a little better to frost after defrosting, but it’ll be OK even if you do it in advance.

  9. Wow– this bread looks so good… But I have to have a gluten free diet!! Any ideas how to convert this recipe??

    1. Hi Elle,

      You could add a bit of coffee and cardamom to our GF chocolate bread from our new GF book. That would be a fun post, I will have to work on that for a future post.

      Enjoy, Zoë

    1. Hi Farah,

      If any of the ingredients were cool, it may just take a bit longer to rise. Give it a bit more time and see if you get any more rise.

      Thanks, Zoë

  10. I have made lot of recipes from both the books never had a failed dough. But the chocolate one no clue why look so dense and gooey and not raised like all other dough. Does the dough go in the garbage now or do i wait for more time to have it raise and develop.

  11. I’d be curious as to that answer as well. I have not made this yet, but that is because I have not really been sure if it was a bread-y (albeit dense and sweet) bread (as in sandwich / spread bread like date nut bread would be) or more of a bread-y cake, like Babka would be. Thanks in advance for any pointers.


  12. Would it work to fill, roll, and cut this like cinnamon rolls instead of a loaf? Would the baking time/temp need to be adjusted?

    Love your first book! Thanks!

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