Ive been experimenting with chocolate challah bread and am looking for something really intensely chocolatey without being too sweet. Made a loaf this morning using a little Frans 70% cocoa chocolate bar I had lying around along with some cocoa powder and it turned out pretty well so here it is. I suspect that itll make some fantastic french toast in the morning. I just made up this recipe and would love to hear thoughts on how to refine it.
Dissolve 2 t sugar in 1/2 cup lukewarm water. Sprinkle over top one package active dry yeast, stir to distribute. Let stand 10 minutes until foamy. Melt 1 oz. dark chocolate, add 1/4 cup canola oil and whisk together. Add chocolate oil to 2 lightly beaten eggs, 2 egg yolks and 1/4 cup honey. Sift together 3-1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, 1/3 cup dutch process cocoa and 1 t salt. Add proofed yeast mixture to wet ingredients and incorporate with a wooden spoon. Gradually add dry ingredients, stirring to incorporate. Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Add flour as you go if necessary, the amount needed will vary greatly depending on humidity.
Put dough into lightly greased large bowl, cover w/ a damp towel and let rise until doubled in size, about an hour or so, again depending on conditions. Divide dough into equal pieces depending on how fancy a braid you want to make. The easiest is a 3-strand braid, but I like the fat short loaves resulting from more strands. This months Saveur (Sept/Oct 02) has a nifty diagram illustrating a complicated 6-strand braid which is infuriatingly difficult to follow if you dont use their method of numbering the strands w/ little stuck on tags. I botched it a couple of times before googling this fantastic no-fail trick (link below), which probably results in a different braid but is way cool anyway. I also found this very interesting discussion of challah (along with great braid diagrams): http://www.geocities.com/devorah5760/.... Whichever braid you use, finish by pinching together all strands at the end and tuck under. Allow to rise for another 15 minutes then brush with a beaten egg mixed with a little water. Bake at 350ºF for 35 minutes or so until you get a hollow sounding thump when you knock on the bottom. Enjoy!