I’ve been slightly enamored with braided bread this Holiday season – it’s been popping up all over our Pinterest boards, in loaf, wreath, cake, and roll form. I was especially interested in a krantz cake Tara from Seven Spoons made recently; her loaf was braided and twisted so beautifully, and I was sure there was a way to turn it into a Bread in 5 version. Some brioche dough and chocolate-cacao nib filling later, and I had a winner. This bread is a looker, the chocolate leaving swirls throughout and the sugar glaze giving the finished bread a sparkly sheen. It’s sweet but not overly so, and the cacao nibs give just the right amount of crunch. It’s a great edition to your Holiday baking line up.
And, as promised, we have a giveaway winner….congratulations Janna, we’re sending you the Emile Henry Bread Cloche, Gold Medal Flour, Platinum Yeast from Red Star and a Signed Copy of The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Enjoy!
To make the Braided Chocolate and Cacao Nib Bread:
1 1/2 pounds brioche dough from The New ABin5 – (you can also do this with the Challah dough)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cardamom (optional)
1/2 cup cacao nibs
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Grease a 8.5 x 4.5 Inch Loaf Pan.
Roll out the dough into a 1/4-inch-thick rectangle.
In a small sauce pan, combine the bittersweet chocolate and butter. Heat until they are melted, and then remove from the heat. Add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and cardamom (if using). Stir to form a smooth paste (if your chocolate paste is too firm to spread, add another tablespoon of butter and gently heat to loosen). Spread the chocolate paste over the dough, leaving a 3/4 inch border. Sprinkle the cacao nibs evenly over the chocolate.
Starting with the long end of the dough, roll the dough into a log. Trim about 3⁄4 inch off both ends of the roll.
Gently cut the roll into half lengthwise, so the layers of dough and filling are visable.
With the cut sides facing up, gently press together one end of each half, and then lift the right half over the left half, and continue until you have braided the entire roll. Press the ends together.
Carefully lift the bread into the prepared loaf pan. Cover the pan plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours. The bread will rise about as high as the loaf pan. Preheat the oven to 350.
Bake the bread 35-45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. While the bread is baking, make the syrup: combine the sugar and water together in a small saucepan over medium, and bring to a boil. When the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat and set aside to cool. As soon as the bread comes out of the oven, brush the sugar-water all over the top of the bread, using all of it. Let the bread cool a bit, and when it is just warm to the touch, remove from the pan and let finish cooling on a wire rack.
Here’s our list of favorite Bread Baking Tools for any of the bread bakers, or soon-to-be bread bakers, on your holiday list!
Happy Holidays and Enjoy all the Bread! Zoë, Jeff and Sarah