I wanted to experiment further with my new bread baking exploits. So, without a doubt, I made it chocolate, Mexican chocolate to be precise. My brother Jose is Jewish so I decided to make something in his honor since I couldn’t make it to his 70th birthday celebration.
Using my life-saving (and hand-saving) Kitchen Aid mixer and dough hook, I made this beautiful Challah bread that didn’t last long. The bread isn’t necessarily sweet although it does incorporate some brown sugar and bits of Mexican chocolate, but it was just sweet enough to have with a cup of coffee in the morning. It helped to do a coffee flavored glaze on top for good measure.
I also used a digital scale to measure out the dough to make the three ropes. Last time I tried making a braided bread loaf the various ropes measured differently and gave it a lumpy look.
Next time I intend to try that wonderful Apple Honey Challah that Martha Stewart had in her magazine a few months back. BUT, I think I’ll try it with some dried mango chips and a honey lime mixture instead. Who knows? It might come out pretty tasty.
Chocolate Challah Bread
3 ½ cups bread flour
1 packet (2 ½ teaspoons) of active dry yeast
¼ cup warm (110 degrees) water
1 teaspoon sugar
½ cup warm water
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
4 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg at room temperature
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped Mexican chocolate, chopped into small bits
1 ½ cups sifted powdered sugar
4 teaspoons of softened butter
Enough warm water (about 1 or 2 tablespoons) to make the glaze of drizzling consistency
¼ teaspoons instant coffee granules
Dissolve coffee in warm water. Combine all ingredients to smooth consistency.
Combine the yeast, ¼ cup warm water and 1 teaspoon sugar in mixer bowl. Allow to proof for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together flour, cocoa and salt in a separate bowl. In a small saucepan, warm ½ cup water, butter, and brown sugar. Heat until butter is almost melted and temperature reaches 110 degrees. Remove from heat and whisk in 1 egg.
Add water mixture to yeast mixture in mixer bowl. Mix (using dough hook) on low just until combined. Add 3 cups of flour. Starting on low speed, incorporate the flour into the wet ingredients. Increase speed to medium and mix for 5 minutes. Add a little more flour (from the remaining ½ cup) if dough seems too sticky and is not forming into a ball. Add pecans and chocolate bits.
After the mixing (kneading) time, turn dough out onto a floured surface for final kneading. Knead dough by hand a few times until dough feels smooth and elastic.
Oil or butter a large mixing bowl. Place dough into bowl and turn over once to butter the top. Cover and let rise for 1 ½ hours or until double in size.
Punch dough down and turn out onto floured surface. Divide dough into three equal pieces. This is where my new digital scale comes in. The total dough weighed 33 ounces. I divided into three 11-ounce pieces.
Roll out each piece into a long rope. Make sure each piece is of equal length.
Lay out ropes on a lightly greased baking sheet. Braid the ropes and tuck in the end pieces. Cover and allow braid to rise a second time for about an hour.
Make an egg wash (1 egg + 1 tablespoon of water) and brush over the braid.
Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 30 minutes. Allow to cool and then drizzle over the top with Coffee glaze.