It’s not that often that you will catch me saying that it would be nice to have a subtle chocolate flavour in anything baked. Madness I know! With Easter coming up I wanted a chocolate hit but nothing too overpowering and rich. That would come later. Oh boy, will that come later. On my daily blog trawl I came across the brilliant The Sugar Hit blog by Sarah if you haven’t come across it before, check it out as every recipe she posts, I love. Seriously love.
This is an adaptation of her Blueberry Vanilla Bread recipe, I get hit and miss results working with yeast, sometimes my bread turns out more flatbread than fluffy clouds but this recipe when I saw it, knew it would work a charm! Sarah said so herself ‘this is the easiest, most reliable, most versatile bread dough ever’. Well, I’m sold.
I substituted the blueberries for some cocoa nibs, I didn’t fold them through the dough but on top of the loaf as wanted the nibs to be toasted lightly in the oven, releasing their chocolatey aroma and nutty flavour. This recipe is a keeper, I plan on trying out all sorts of flavour profiles with it now. It’s slightly enriched with egg yolks and sugar but not as rich as a brioche dough. Would be delicious as French toast. Go on knock up a batch or three and share the joy.
- 250ml milk, I used semi-skimmed but feel free to use a whole milk if you want a richer bread.
- 50g unsalted butter
- 1 vanilla pod (or 2 tsp vanilla extract or paste)
- 500g plain flour
- 1 tsp dried yeast
- 50g caster sugar
- 2 egg yolks (reserve the whites to glaze the loaf)
- 1/4 cup cocoa nibs
- sprinkle of sugar nibs or crushed sugar cubes if using
- Place the milk and butter into a medium saucepan and bring up to just under a boil.
- Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds, and add them to the pan along with the pod. Set aside to infuse for 10 minutes.(if using extract, added it to the milk mixture when cooled slightly)
- Meanwhile, place the flour, yeast and sugar into the bowl of a kitchenaid mixer fitted with the dough hook.
- Fish out the vanilla bean from the milk, and add it to the mixer (it should be only just warm by now – if it’s still too hot, leave it for longer), along with the egg yolks and begin mixing on a low speed until the dough comes together and looks smooth.
- Cover the dough with cling flim, and set aside for an hour or until doubled in size. This dough proved happily just on the counter, didn’t have to put it anywhere particularly warm.
- Split the dough into three, and roll them into three ropes about as long as you want the loaf to be. Plait into a braid.
- Place it on a lined baking sheet. Set aside for 45 minutes to prove. Again mine doubled just on the counter top.
- Preheat the oven to 220C. Brush the loaf with the reserved egg whites, scatter over the cocoa nibs and sugar nibs (if using) and place into the hot oven for 10 minutes, before turning the temperature to 200C and baking for another 35 minutes, or until golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped on the base.
- Just get your face into it and scoff down on the nutty fragrant bread.