Chocolate and Orange Bread

I’m a fan of bread. I tend to make one loaf a week, usually using my no-knead recipe or my sourdough no-knead recipe (as I also have sourdough in my fridge). But sometimes I want to break out and try something brand new, and sometimes that experiment doesn’t work out that well. The flavors of this loaf are amazing, but I definitely messed up the braiding. I plan to come back to this recipe in the future.

For now though, I was inspired, as I often am, by the Great British Bake Off, and I decided to adapt Paul Hollywood’s Chocolate Cherry Loaf into a Chocolate and Orange braided bread.

Start to finish, this recipe takes about 3 1/2 to 4 hours to complete, but the majority of that time is for proving and baking.

A note on rising: when in doubt, rely more on how much the dough has grown rather than the recommended proving time in bread recipes. Ambient temperature affects proving time, and colder kitchens like mine usually require the maximum amount of time and then some to “double in size.” 

Chocolate and Orange Bread

  • 3 3/4 cups bread flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp rapid rise yeast
  • 1 3/4 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
  • the zest and juice of two oranges
  • 1 1/3 cups water*
  • 2.5 tbsp olive oil

*After removing the zest of a medium sized orange, juice it and add water to measure 1 1/3 cups total. Alternatively, just use 1 1/3 cups water.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, salt, brown sugar, yeast, and chocolate chips.

In another bowl, combine the zest, juice, water, and olive oil together.

With the mixer on medium-low speed, gradually add the liquid. Because you’re using a dough hook, it won’t fully incorporate, so use a spatula or your hands to periodically help the dough become a cohesive mass. Knead in the mixer on medium-low speed for 4-5 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for a couple turns just until it comes together as a smooth, elastic, and slightly sticky ball. Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover in plastic, and let it rest for 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.

         

Split the dough into 3 pieces of equal weight and shape into a 3-strand plait. I used this tutorial by The Bread Kitchen to help me through this process. The resulting loaf is fairly short, and you may lose a few shards of chocolate along the way. Cover the braid and let it rise an additional hour.

I completely messed up the two-strand plait here, so don’t trust me with braiding instructions, ha!

In the meantime, preheat your oven to 400 degrees and prepare an egg wash by beating an egg with about half a tablespoon of water. Brush the egg wash over the bread, making sure to coat the braids and down the sides.

Bake the bread for 25 minutes at 400F, reduce the heat to 375F and bake for an addition 20 minutes. The loaf should be golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

 

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