In Belgium cometh Easter you will find this braided ‘challah’ everywhere in the bakeries. There invariable will be an egg stuck in the centre for the bread which for me as a child was always totally fascinating… would there be anything inside the egg and would it be chocolate….? I had sort of forgotten this bread until I read about the great british bake-off.
It is very easy to make. Let’s get baking!
30 cm loaf tin
500 grams of flour (either plain white or 1/2 plain and 1/2 spelt or wholegrain)
3 Tbsp sugar
1 packet (8grams) dried yeast
pinch of salt
250 mls of warm water
(adopted from ‘Artisan bread in five’)
4 Tbsp vegan butter
60 grams raw cacao powder plus 2 TBsp extra cacao powder
1/4 cup icing sugar
2 TBsp cocao powder
1 tsp cardamom or cinnamon
1/2 a cup of vegan chocolate sprinkles
For the dough, combine flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a bowl. Slowly add some of the water and mix. If your dough is too crumbly or dry, add a little more water by the TBsp until you have a dough ball forming. Give the dough a good knead for several minutes, best on a floured surface. Roll out the dough in a rectangle of about 1 cm in height.
For the filling, melt the butter and the chocolate on a low heat in a small pot and stir. When melted, remove from the heat and add the powdered sugar, cocao powder and spices. Mix until smooth. Spread the chocolate paste on the dough. Leaving a boarder of about 2,5 cms. Sprinkle the chocolate nibs if you like..
Than, from a long end of your dough rectangle, roll up the dough into a long log. Take a sharp knife and cut the log into half lengthwise. Having both halves vertical to you, press together the ends of the halves on the top. Then lift the right braid over the left one and continue until you are at the bottom. Gently press the ends together here too. Then lift your bread into your (greased) loaf tin, cover with kitchen towel and let sit for at least one hour in a warm spot. The dough should double in size and fill out the loaf tin. Preheat the oven to 180 C and bake for about 35 mins (until a skewer inserted comes out clean). Let the bread cool for about 10 minutes then remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack. Enjoy a big slice with a cup of tea and perhaps good company?
Thank you Great British bake off and ‘Artisan bread in five’ for giving me back happy memories… Et voila: