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Monday, November 15, 2010

Chocolate Twisted Bread, twisted from Hamelman's Berne Brot recipe

I planned to make chocolate sweet bread to the picnic with my girlfriends and their kids. Again, the picnic was cancelled because of the rain (this was the second time we tried arranging our picnic getogether and had to cancel them because of the rain). It's been raining for the whole weekend, literally non-stop. We're not complaining. We love to see the water storage level going up and up. It's great to see that the long drought is now broken. But it would be nice to have lovely weather on weekends. Spring is almost over but it feels like we're towards the end of winter!

Well, stop whinging, bloody Melbournian and come back to today's bread story. Yes, again the picnic was cancelled because of the rain, and again I had the ingredients and recipes ready for the bake. Soldiering on, I say. Let's get on baking the chocolate bread. I don't generally bake chocolate bread for my own consumption. This is more for the kids. Turn out, the chocolate bread is rather nice and I am now a convert! A chocolate bread lover!

I used Jeffrey Hamelman's berne brot recipe from Bread: A baker's book of techniques and recipes, and half his recipe.  Berne brot is braided Swiss bread from the city of Berne, hence berne brot.

This bread is tender, moist and rich. It has 15% butter, about 16% of yolk and whole eggs, which add to the creaminess and tenderness of the bread. The dough is quite strong which is perfect for the braiding, or twisting in this case.

The dough was retarded overnight in the fridge as it would make the braiding/twisting easier when the dough is cold. 

I kneaded the dough by hand using Richard Bertinet hand-kneading method (more like a dough slapping than kneading, really). You can find his video here. This technique is highly effective. I was surprised at how quickly the dough strength has developed. It was also fun and a therapy doing the dough  slapping at the end of a working week. I reckon this technique has helped reducing the kneading time by half, from a good 30+ minutes to 15!

I also made two sweet roll with chocolate filling. They are my breakfast rolls.

Here goes the recipe. I am sure you will love it. Not only it's visually appealing, it also tastes fantastic, with chocolate infused through the loaf. The bread is quite rich while not being too sweet. 

Great for breakfast while I was checking on The Fresh Loaf web site

This post is submitted to YeastSpotting.

Chocolate twisted bread recipe
(adapted from Berne Brot recipe from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread: a baker's book of techniques and recipes)

Make 2 medium size twisted breads
Sweet dough recipe

Chocolate filling: recipe and intruction is below

Egg wash
1 whole egg
1 tablespoon milk

1. Mixing: Place all the ingredients in teh mixing bowl. Use a bowl/pastry scrapper or big metal spoon to stir ingredients until they come together and form a ball.

2. Kneading by hands until the the gluten is well developed. This will take between 15-30 minutes depend on your speed. I used Richard Bertinet's dough slapping method and it took 15 minutes. If mixing by machine, mix on the second speed for 5 -10 minutes.

3. Put the dough in an oiled bowl and bulk ferment for 2 hours.

4. Fold the dough once after an hour of fermentation.

5. Retard the dough in the fridge overnight. You can also proceed to the dough shaping straight away.

6. Dividing and shaping - if retarding the dough, take the dough out of the fridge next day. Slightly flour the kitchen bench or pastry board. Roll the dough into 40 x 20 cm and 1/4-inch thick. Spread chocolate ganache (recipe to follow) in the middle leaving an inch around the borders. Roll the dough from the long side to form a log. Cut the log into two equal pieces (cut on the short side).  Then split each log in the middle lenghtwise. Place each dough pieces with the chocolate filling face up.  Twist two pieces of the dough together by starting in the middle. The purpose is to attach the two pieces of dough together. Repeat with the remaining dough pieces.

7. Proof the dough on a tray cover with plastic bag or tea towel at room temperature for 1.5 - 2 hours or until the doughs are double in size.

8. Brush dough surfaces with egg wash (mix the egg and milk together) right before baking.

9. Bake at 375F (190c) for about 20-25 minutes. 

Chocolate filling

80 g dark chocolate, chopped
30 g butter, chopped

Note: I chose to do it a quick and easy way, if you like your chocolate ganache to be shiny and glossy, you can also melt the chocolate in a double boiler.

I used Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips for this recipe

About 30 minutes before loaf shaping.

Mix chocolate pieces and butter in a medium bowl. Place the bowl in microwave for 20 seconds. Stir the chocolate until the majority is melted. Return the bowl to microwave for another 15 seconds, keep stirring until the chocolate and butter is completely melted.

Stand the bowl at room temperature until ready to use.

Nice crumb

Yummy! I wished that these bread would get a chance
to go to the picnic someday.
I'm sure the kids would enjoy them as much as I did.
 Bread flour
453 g
204 ml
1 yolk
 Whole eggs
1 egg
 Butter, soft
68 g
25 g
8 g
3 g (1tsp)


  1. This looks great. I have been wanting to try something like this. Can you be more specific on the chocolate you used?

    thanks -- wayne

  2. This is a lot like chocolate babka (Reinhart has a recipe, so does Maggie Glezer). Looks great!

  3. Hi Wayne,

    I used baking bittersweet chocolate (60% cocoa content). It's the baking chocolate chips from Ghirardelli (I bought 1.5kg bag from CostCo and there're more chocolate baking to do before I can finish it).

    I've updated the blog with the picture of the chocolate as well.

    The chocolate filling might look too thick when you first mix it. However, I believe it need to be quite thick so that it won't melt when the bread is baked.

    Enjoy the baking:)

  4. Hi,

    I just googled the Babka and can see some resemblence. It looks nice too...I might have to try that too sometimes, chocolate bread with some strudel topping. Sounds yummy!