Chocolate Streusel Bread

What differentiates a babka from a brioche?

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So the original recipe I got this from titled this as a “chocolate babka”. But it used butter for its enrichment, a decidedly non kosher ingredient which removes this bread from its supposed Jewish roots.

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Is it a chocolate brioche then? But this bread is slightly firmer and drier than what I would associate with brioche, and y’know, I didn’t want to advertise this as a rich, buttery brioche for my friends to feedback that this bread was DRY.

Which is why I’m just going to call this chocolate bread. But call it what you want because I don’t think anyone actually cares.

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The star of this bread is definitely its rich, crunchy streusel topping. Reminiscent of the brownie edges, the streusel adds some texture and flavour variation to what would otherwise be a pretty one-dimensional bread. And makes the top look so appetising.

If eaten warm, the oozing meltiness of the chocolate chips is a big plus point as well too.

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I followed the chocolate fudge filling recipe in the original recipe but could not, for the life of me, get the fudge to firm up – even after a night in the refrigerator. And the recipe said the fudge was supposed to be at room temperature! So when I tried to roll the bread dough up with the chocolate filling all the fudge oozed out, leading to the slightly anaemic chocolate swirl you see in the bread.

So I’m not going to include the fudge recipe below. I’d probably straight up roll some chocolate chips into the bread next time, or use a different fudge recipe.

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And as I mentioned before, the texture of this bread is more like a babka than a brioche. So it’s going to be more of an everyday (less rich) kind of bread rather than a naughtily decadent brioche. Saying that however, I am a self-indulgent kind of person and would definitely try to top a brioche with the chocolate streusel in a future bake.

I adapted the recipe from here.

Ingredients

Bread

  • 4g instant yeast
  • 33g sugar (1/6 cup)
  • 265g all purpose flour (2 cups)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 60ml whole milk (1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature + 1 egg for egg wash
  • 70g unsalted butter, room temperature (5 tbsp)

Streusel

  • 30g all purpose flour (1/4 cup)
  • 22g sugar (1 1/2 tbsp)
  • 6g cocoa powder (3/4 tbsp)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 32g unsalted butter, melted (2 1/4 tbsp)
  • 30g mini semisweet chocolate chips (1/6 cup)

Method

Bread

  1. In a large bowl, mix the yeast, sugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon together.
  2. Add the milk, vanilla and eggs into the dough. Knead until smooth.
  3. Add half of the butter and knead into the dough. Then add the rest of the butter into the dough and knead until windowpane stage.
  4. Cover the dough and let rise until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the streusel.

Streusel

  1. In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt.
  2. Add the melted butter until evenly distributed.
  3. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Put into the fridge to firm up.

Assembly

  1. When the dough has doubled in size, knock down the dough and roll out into a rectangle roughly twice the length of your container or slightly shorter. Spread the surface of the rectangle with your filling of choice (I’d recommend chocolate chips or some kind of chocolate spread).
  2. Roll the dough from the long edge.
  3. Cut the dough lengthwise, and position the cut edges upwards. Twist the two halves together, and fold the dough in half (see notes).
  4. Place the bread in the container. Cover, and let rise until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.
  5. Egg wash the top of the bread. Sprinkle the struesel on the bread.
  6. Bake in a preheated 180°C/350°F oven for 40-50 minutes. If the bread starts browning too fast, cover the bread with aluminum foil at around the 30 mins mark.

Notes

  • All timings listed are a general guide. It’s better to follow the description (eg doubled in size) rather than the timings, as the timing depends on many factors like the activity of your yeast, or the surrounding temperature.
  • If you’re using active dry yeast instead of instant yeast, you might have to activate the yeast first. Warm up the milk that was supposed to go into the bread till it’s about body temperature, and then add the yeast into the milk. When the mixture is foamy (about 5-10 mins later), add the yeast-milk back into the bread at the step where the milk is supposed to be added.
  • Kneading the butter into the dough after it’s already been formed helps with the structure of the bread, since butter inhibits gluten formation (apparently).
  • For shaping you could see the video of the original recipe, but it’s behind a paywall.
  • Egg wash just means to brush the top of the bread lightly with beaten eggs. Usually it’s to add colour but in this case I think it’d help to stick the struesel to the bread.
  • If you want to be scientific about seeing when the bread is done, you can stick a thermometer into the bread which should read 185-210°C when the bread is done.

 

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Caramelised White Chocolate Ice Cream with Ground Cardamom

You know how in science class you learn that matter has 3 states, and then you go into higher education and you learn that there are more states like plasma and Bose-Einstein condensates? Yeah this is the fourth state of chocolate.

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Don’t mind that crummy looking bowl. Apparently also known as the “toffee of milk”, caramelised white chocolate has an additional dimension of depth compared to regular white chocolate. It’s sweeter, creamier, and as the name suggests, it has caramel notes to it as well.

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I first heard about caramelised white chocolate when I went to Copenhagen, and the Summerbird chocolate store was giving out free samples (the way to my heart). And their most popular product was amber chocolate, which was basically caramelised white chocolate, but they managed to temper it to perfection. Perfectly snappy at room temperature, but melts in your mouth to coat your tongue with a layer of creamy caramel chocolate.

Caramelised White Chocolate Ice Cream with Cardamom

And then adding in the ground cardamom gives a little more aroma to the ice cream. Also I suck at scooping ice cream so here’s a lovely picture of some half-melted ice cream drowning in sauce:

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The salt is not optional. Helps cut through the sweetness and makes the whole thing a little more interesting.

I used David Lebovitz’s recipes for caramelised white chocolate ice cream and caramelised white chocolate, and just added cardamom.

Ingredients

Caramelised white chocolate

  • 120g white chocolate (see notes)
  • Pinch of sea salt

Ice cream

  • 3 medium egg yolks
  • 50g sugar
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 125ml heavy cream
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom

Method

Caramelised white chocolate

  1. Chop the white chocolate into coarse pieces, and place on a lined baking sheet and bake at 130°C for 10 mins.
  2. Take the baking sheet out and spread the white chocolate with a spatula until the chocolate is smoothed out.
  3. Put the white chocolate back in the oven and bake for another 10 mins, stirring the chocolate at 10 min intervals. Repeat until the white chocolate is a deep golden-brown colour.
  4. Stir in a pinch of sea salt and set the chocolate aside.

Ice cream

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the yolks, sugar, and salt until well combined.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the cream, milk, and cardamom until warm.
  3. Add half of the cream and milk into the egg yolks and whisk. Then add the warmed yolks back into the saucepan.
  4. Heat over low-medium heat, stirring continuously. Heat until mixture is thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Do not allow the mixture to boil.
  5. Meanwhile, ensure the caramelised white chocolate is warm (like just microwave it for 5-10s bursts, stirring well between bursts) and place a strainer over a bowl containing the white chocolate.
  6. When the ice cream custard is ready, pour the custard through the strainer into the white chocolate and stir until smooth.
  7. Refrigerate the ice cream overnight.
  8. The next day, churn the ice cream mixture in an ice cream machine until desired consistency.
  9. Freeze the ice cream until it’s a scoopable consistency. Serve with some flaky sea salt.
  10. Optional: I served my ice cream with some extra caramelised white chocolate mixed with cream to make a ganache.

Notes

  • When caramelising the white chocolate, the chocolate may sometimes appear lumpy. But don’t worry just keep mixing the chocolate and it will eventually smooth out.
  • If you’re rich and don’t want to make caramelised white chocolate, Valrhona sells some blonde chocolate which is the same thing.
  • For best results, use white chocolate with at least 30% cocoa butter. And use real white chocolate (with actual cocoa butter), check the ingredients list.

Chocolate Sourdough with Walnuts and Raisins

My first sweet sourdough!

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I think that this is a bread that will satisfy both those who have a sweet tooth and those who don’t really like sweet things.

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The dough itself is on the bitter side because of the cocoa powder, but this also gives it a rich chocolate flavour. And of course you get the little pools of melted chocolate within which are to die for.

Chocolate Sourdough with Walnuts and Raisins (2)

And then you get the classic chocolate complement of aromatic, crunchy walnuts and plump, sweet raisins just to add a bit of textural variety to the bread.

I also don’t know why my crust looks purple.

Chocolate Sourdough with Walnuts and Raisins (1)

The crumb itself was really soft and moist. The crust is a little on the chewy side though, which was described in the original recipe as well. If you like your crust a little bit more crispy, a good toasting is the solution to all of your life’s problems.

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And when you toast it and add cream cheese? NEXT LEVEL.

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I got the recipe from here, but used my own timings.

Ingredients

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 50g malted milk powder, optional (ie ovaltine, I just thought it’d taste good)
  • 50g sugar
  • 150g sourdough starter (mine was at 100% hydration, see notes)
  • 400g water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8g salt
  • 65g chopped walnuts
  • 65g raisins, soaked in water for at least an hour
  • 150g semi-sweet chocolate chips (see notes)

Method

  1. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, and sugar together. Then stir in the sourdough starter, water, and vanilla extract until well combined.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and autolyse for 1h (just let it sit).
  3. When the dough is done autolysing add the salt, chopped walnuts, raisins, and chocolate using the pinch and fold method.
  4. Stretch and fold your dough four times over the next 2 hours (so every 30 mins).
  5. Cover the dough and let rise in the fridge overnight.
  6. In the morning, turn your dough out into a well-floured banneton. Shape your dough by basically pulling the dough from the sides of the ball towards the center.
  7. Cover and let rise for about 2 hours.
  8. 15 mins before baking, preheat your oven to 260°C with a baking tray half-filled with water at the bottom of the oven to create a steam oven.
  9. Tip out your dough onto a lined baking tray. Score your bread if you want with either a bread lame or the sharpest knife in your kitchen.
  10. Place the bread in the steam oven. Mist the oven generously with a spray bottle to generate more steam. Bake at 260°C for 30 mins. Then reduce the temperature to 200°C and bake for 20 mins or until done. Bread is done when it is well browned and when you tap it it sounds hollow.
  11. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Notes

  • My starter was at 100% hydration. This bread was about 70% hydration. If you have no idea what I’m talking about check out my previous recipe on classic white sourdough.
  • I soak raisins beforehand so that they’d remain plump after baking.
  • Use chocolate chips not chopped chocolate. The original recipe source tried using chopped chocolate and it just melted into the dough, so you don’t get the pools of chocolate which is honestly the whole reason why you’re eating this bread in the first place.
  • Autolysing just means letting your flour sit with the water before you add any salt or yeast. This is supposed to make the bread easier to handle and have better structure and taste since the flour absorbs the water or something. More here.
  • Turning and folding means you don’t knead the dough. It’s just an alternative method to build structure in the dough usually used for higher hydration sourdoughs, but it can be used for any bread really. Up to your personal preference.
  • Scoring helps direct the shape your bread will rise when baked. And it looks pretty.

Chocolate Orange Challah

I’ve bookmarked this recipe for more than a year and now I’ve finally made it!!

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There’s a rich chocolate spread weaving its way through the bread.

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And it’s paired with orange juice AND zest in the dough. Classic combination.

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The shape’s so pretty as well. So visually impressive. Perfect for tricking your friends into thinking you’re a better baker than you actually are.

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The visual contrast gets less obvious after baking but it’s a fair trade-off for the crisp crust.

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I underbaked mine slightly however. And when I tried baking the slices more in the oven the dough around the filling remained a little raw. Not sure if this was the nature of the filling, or if this problem would have resolved if I just baked it right in the first place. Just something to keep in mind.

I got the recipe from here. Check out my previous challah here!

Ingredients

Dough

  • 10g active dry yeast (about 3.5 tsp)
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp orange juice
  • Zest of 1 large orange
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil plus more for the bowl
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 eggs + 1 yolk
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 530g all purpose flour (about 4 1/4 cups)
  • 1 egg for egg wash

Filling

  • 4.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (about 130g, 70% chocolate)
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, softened (about 113g)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar (I used slightly less, about 60g)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder

Method

  1. Microwave the orange juice to body temperature. Mix the orange juice with the yeast and stir to dissolve. Mix with the oil, honey, eggs, yolk and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the salt and flour together. Mix the dry ingredients with the liquid and knead until smooth and elastic.
  3. Oil the dough and cover with oiled cling film. Let it sit for an hour before transferring to the fridge to rise overnight.
  4. The next day, punch down the dough and let it come back to room temperature. Cover and let it rise again until doubled in size.
  5. Meanwhile make the filling. Melt together the butter and chocolate either in a microwave in 20s intervals stirring well in between or over a double boiler. Mix in the granulated sugar and cocoa powder until combined. Let it sit at room temperature.
  6. Split the dough into two. Over a lightly floured surface, roll each half into a 45cm x 20 cm rectangle, about 0.5cm thick.
  7. Spread the chocolate over the rectangle, leaving the top inch bare.
  8. From the bottom edge (the long side with the chocolate), roll it up like a swiss roll, making sure the edge ends at the bottom.
  9. Cover the two logs with floured cling film and let it rise for another hour.
  10. Cut each log lengthwise. With each strip cutside up, shape the challah like this. Cover with the floured cling film and let rise again for two hours until it looks slightly puffy.
  11. Brush with egg wash, and wait for 15 mins. Meanwhile preheat your oven to 190°C.
  12. Brush the bread with the egg wash again and bake for 35-45 mins. If your challah browns too much cover with aluminium foil. The bread is done when it sounds hollow when you tap it.
  13. Let cool on a wire rack.

Notes

  • Try not to add too much flour when kneading the bread. It might seem sticky at first but just keep kneading and it’ll come together.
  • The original writer of the recipe says that dissolving the yeast first results in a consistently smooth and sticky dough. I can’t confirm the validity of this statement but hey it’s not that much of a hassle to do it.
  • I ended up with slightly more filling than the bread needed, so you could probably get away with it if you made less. I’d say about 100g would be enough but I didn’t change the recipe because I might have been too stingy with my filling or something.
  • Be patient with the rising times. I was a little impatient and I think my bread wasn’t as fluffy as it could have been because of that.

Devil’s Food Cake with Crunchy Hazelnut Filling

The star of this cake is the crunchy, nutty filling – reminiscent of crushed Ferrero Rochers sandwiched between dark cake layers that aren’t too sweet.

The whole thing is then covered with a luscious water ganache that’s intensely chocolatey. This ganache is made using water instead of cream, and nooo your ganache will not seize up. Instead you’ll get a frosting that isn’t too rich, where the chocolate takes center stage (so get a good chocolate).

Had to give myself a little pat on the shoulder for thinking of sugar cones as a stand-in for feuilletine. Feuilletine is often used in cakes to add some crunch…and basically tastes exactly like sugar cones. Yeah it wasn’t that much of an innovation thinking of a substitute.

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I went a little bit too enthusiastic with the decoration, dashing my lofty plans of an elegant cake and instead getting this wild creation.

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I got this recipe from David Lebovitz (he of all things chocolate) and just added the hazelnut crunch in the middle.

Ingredients (makes a 2-layered 8″ cake)

Cake

  • 9 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (66g)
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (188g)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 4 oz unsalted butter, room temperature (113g)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (300g)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup strong coffee
  • 1/2 cup milk

Ganache frosting

  • 10 oz bittersweet chocolate, I used 70% (283g)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 unsalted butter (170g)

Hazelnut crunch layer

  • 175g hazelnut paste/butter
  • 175g feuilletine (I used some crushed sugar cones as a substitute, see notes)
  • 75g white chocolate
  • Pinch of salt

Method

Cake

  1. Sift the cocoa powder, cake flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time until incorporated.
  3. Stir the coffee and milk together. Stir half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Mix the milky coffee in. Then stir in the remaining dry ingredients.
  4. Bake at 180°C for 25 mins (see notes).

Ganache frosting

  1. Melt the chocolate with the water over a double boiler. Cut the butter into small pieces and whisk into the chocolate until smooth.
  2. Cool for 1h at room temperature until spreadable.

Hazelnut crunch layer

  1. Melt the white chocolate either over a double boiler or very carefully in the microwave on the lowest setting.
  2. Mix in the hazelnut butter and salt.
  3. Stir in the feuilletine.

Assembly

  1. Put a little bit of frosting on your plate so your cake is secured to the plate.
  2. Spread a layer of frosting onto your first layer of cake. Spread a layer of the hazelnut crunch layer on top. Then place your second layer on top of that.
  3. Cover the whole thing in frosting and decorate. I used cocoa nibs, toasted hazelnuts, Maldon salt, and some leftover feuilletine.

Notes

  • If you don’t have feuilletine, you can substitute with some ice cream sugar cones like I did, or with crispy rolled crepes (the biscuits that kind of look like this or this).
  • The hazelnut butter I used was the one from whole foods, where it’s made from pure ground nuts.
  • My cake took closer to 35 mins to bake, though that might be my oven’s problem.
  • My ganache did not set at room temperature and I had to refrigerate it to get it to the right consistency. Since I refrigerated it the ganache was no longer shiny and pretty D: Some other people seems to have the problem as well, although many do not have this issue. For me I think it’s because my kitchen’s pretty warm right now. To solve this issue you can either refrigerate it like I did or add icing sugar to desired stiffness.
  • This cake tastes best at room temperature, eaten on the day it was made.