I have no idea just what it was that got me thinking about bread baking today, as the temperatures topped 100 degrees, or why I wondered about how I could make a chocolate version, but before I knew it I was in the kitchen, putting this recipe together and the results were just what I was hoping for. And, it turns out, this type of weather is just perfect for bread baking because nothing makes bread rise better than a moist heat. The beauty of this recipe is that it is largely done in the bread machine, so very little work goes into the early stages. I can see that it is going to make an excellent base for the Chocolate French Toast I’ve been considering as well as inspiration for what I hope will be a sinfully delicious Chocolate Bread Pudding.
A word of warning to those of you who are licking your lips and thinking dessert, this is not a sweet loaf. I hadn’t intended it to be. I was looking for a chocolate challah that was not so sweet as to make any dessert (or breakfast dish) that I had planned to be cloying. It is, however, the perfect challah texture, the perfect amount of chocolate, and excellent toasted and slathered with butter, peanut butter, marshmallow fluff, or Nutella. Make a loaf and see for yourself, and then tell me what you plan to do with yours (if any of it is left!).
Chocolate Challah Bread (Bread Machine)
Adapted from 100 Bread Machine Recipes by Vicki Smallwood
1 pinch saffron threads
1 pinch saffron threads
1 tablespoon water, boiling
2 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons honey
2/3 cup hot water (100F-105F)
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon espresso powder
Pinch of cinnamon
¼ cup Dutch cocoa powder
3 ¼ cups white bread flour
1 ½ teaspoons yeast
¼ cup Ghirardelli Semisweet Mini Chocolate Chips
1 egg, beaten for brushing over
· In a small bowl, soak the saffron threads in the 1 tablespoon of boiling water for 10 minutes.
· In the meantime, place the beaten eggs, honey, hot water and melted butter in a bowl. Mix well.
· Add the saffron threads with the soaking water, stir and pour the mixture into the baking pan of your bread machine.
· Mix the salt into the flour and add to the baking pan and spoon the yeast on top.
· Set the program to 'DOUGH.' When the dough is ready (mine takes 90 minutes), transfer it to a lightly floured surface and knead it for 2-3 minutes, incorporasting the chocolate chips. (The dough will feel quite soft and silky.)
· Shape the dough into 3 equal-sized pieces, then roll each piece into a sausage shape measuring approximately 12 inches in length.
· Pinch the top end of each length of dough together, then weave the pieces into a braid/plait.
· Pinch the bottom ends together, then tuck both ends under the dough to form a neatly braided loaf.
· Place the dough on a greased baking sheet, brush with oil, cover with plastic wrap/cling film and leave it to rise/prove in a warm place.
· Preheat the oven 220C/425°F.
· When the dough has nearly doubled in size, remove the plastic wrap and lightly brush the top of the loaf with the beaten egg.
· Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
· Transfer the loaf to a wire rack and leave it to cool before serving.
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