Beautiful Chocolate Marble Bread

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Beautifully golden-brown – the most divine chocolate marble loaf!

A chocolate slab is used in the dough and plaited to create this gorgeous marbled effect – even I’m surprised by how neat this turned out!

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This bread was made using the tangzhong method, which creates wonderfully soft bread. It involves cooking a paste using flour and water, before adding it to the main dough – a simple addition that makes such a difference to the texture of the bread, and helps it to stay soft for a few days. It has been my go-to method for making soft bread for a few years now. Give it a go and let me know how it goes 🙂

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Chocolate Swirl Bread (makes 2 small loaves)

Recipe adapted from Christine’s Recipes

Main dough ingredients:
  • 25g bread flour
  • 125ml water
  • 350g bread flour
  • 6g instant dry yeast
  • 60g sugar
  • 4g salt
  • 24g milk powder
  • 150g milk
  • 30g unsalted butter
Chocolate dough ingredients:
  • 50g plain chocolate
  • 20g margarine/ butter
  • 20g bread flour
  • 10g cocoa powder
  • 5g corn flour
  • 60g milk
  • 30g sugar
  • 1 egg white

Main dough – Method

  1. To make the tangzhong, whisk 25g bread flour and 125ml water together in a small saucepan over a low-medium heat. The mixture will thicken quickly and when lines appear in the mixture, remove from the heat.
  2. Add tangzhong and all ingredients except the liquid and butter in a bowl, gradually add 1/2 of the water and knead well (gradually add milk if required). Add 30g butter and knead until the window pane stage is reached (simple guide here).
  3. Spray water on doughs and place in separate containers. Cover and let it proof for 60 mins.
  4. Punch down the doughs, roll into respective balls, cover and let it rest for 10 mins.
Chocolate dough – Method
  1. Melt the chocolate and margarine via double boiler method, and set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, and cornflour. Then add in milk and sugar. Mix well and then add the melted chocolate, margarine mixture. Lastly add in egg white. Whisk till all well combine.
  3. Cook the mixture on a low heat and whisk constantly. The chocolate filling is ready once the mixture turns thick (obvious lines appear on the mixture surface as you stir).
  4. Transfer the chocolate dough onto clingfilm. Cover and leave aside to cool (about 3-5minutes).
  5. Separate into 2 portions and roll each out to about 18cm x 12cm. Wrap and keep in the fridge to set.

Assembly

  1. Roll out one of the main doughs into a rectangle shape 20x15cm. Place one chocolate dough on top of the white dough. Roll out to 30x20cm.
  2. Cut into 2 equal portions. Place one piece on top of the other. Roll out the dough to 30x20cm, repeat another two times.
  3. Cut it into three strips and plait them together. Place the dough into a greased tin. Spray water and cover.
  4. Repeat with the other main dough and chocolate dough.
  5. Let it proof for 40-60 mins or until doubled in height.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 30-35 mins.
  7. Remove from the tin and let it cool on a wire rack for 2 hrs before cutting.

It’s been too long! Saffron Buns

Since going to New York and starting my new job, I have had NO time to be creative in the kitchen and write about it. But I miss it! And now that I’m getting back into my bread making, I feel like I need to document my trial and errors.

Firstly, saffron buns. I had never known what saffron smelt or tasted like before this as I’d only (supposedly) had it in paella in a restaurant, so it wasn’t distinguishable. As the most expensive commodity by weight, I was curious to experiment with it. It’s difficult to describe saffron – it is very fragrant (almost like a musky perfume), with a slight floral, honey scent and flavour. It tastes bitter when too much is used, which is probably why I did not enjoy my first experience in these buns! I got a little too excited as I wanted to be able to taste the saffron…boy, did I taste it! It wasn’t inedible, but the fragrance overpowers in the mouth!

I used my sourdough, which I refreshed twice the day before, just to ensure that it was active. Even though it takes patience to work with sourdough, I love the naturalness of it – it’s just flour and water…and it’s alive!

20141217_125750 copyLook at that shreddable softness! ^ Sourdough can be soft too!

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Saffron buns (adapted from txfarmer’s recipe)

Levain
Ingredients
  • starter, 15g
  • milk, 25g
  • bread flour, 41g

Method

  1. Mix and let fermentation at room temp (22c) for 12 hours.
Final dough
Ingredients
  • bread flour, 203g
  • honey, 55g
  • butter, 25g, softened
  • egg whites, 60g
  • salt, 3g
  • milk, 102g
  • saffron, half a teaspoon crushed (I used about a teaspoon which was too much!)
  • raisins, 60g

Method

  1. Heat the milk and add the saffron, let it sit for 10 minutes. Mix all ingredients until the windowpane stage.
  2. Bulk rise at room temp (22c) for 3 hours, the dough would have expanded noticeably, but not too much. Txfarmer’s recipe states to bulk rise in the fridge overnight, but I was too impatient.
  3. Punch out the dough, add raisins and shape into “S” shaped buns.
  4. Let them rise at about 7-10c overnight (some people say to leave bread in the fridge to rise, but mine never does – I find that 4c and below is too cold for any yeast to be active!). The buns did not rise much.
  5. Spray buns with water, and bake in preheated oven at 220c for 18min. Spray the oven with water every minute for the first 4 minutes to create steam for ovenspring!
Comments:
The buns rose very well in the oven (doubled in size!), but my oven is a fan oven so I had to cover them with foil to prevent the tops from browning after the first 8 minutes. The bottoms of the buns were a little burnt, and I still haven’t figured out why…is it the pan, the non-stick paper? Does anyone have a clue? As mentioned before, I used too much saffron, but when reduced, it pairs nicely with the sweet raisins. These buns are not sweet, so if you want sweet buns, double the amount of honey or use sugar.