If you know me, you know I love carbs—and bread is one of the best out there. I’m currently obsessed with brioche bread. It’s my new fave! It's soft, sweet, and rich. It is so good all by itself, but there aren't many things in life that don't improve with the addition of chocolate. Today I’m going to teach you how to twist beautiful, buttery brioche dough with an ever-so-slightly spiced chocolate filling.
What is brioche and where does it come from?
Although both challah and brioche are made of enriched dough, they have their differences. The main difference is that challah is dairy free, made to Kosher standards, and popular in Jewish cuisine. It's enriched with eggs, oil, and sometimes sugar. Brioche originated in France, and like most things French, it includes butter! You’ll also find milk and a touch of sugar in brioche dough, along with the butter and eggs. This combo results in the light and fluffy texture brioche is known for.
Tips on Making the Perfect Brioche
To make the perfect brioche, you'll need to start by making an egg-rich brioche dough from scratch. Then it's on to a smooth, creamy filling of finely-chopped, bittersweet chocolate, cocoa powder, brown sugar, and a hint of cinnamon. Mixing up the ingredients is only half of the goodness: Next you'll form this beautiful dough into ropes and twist them into an edible work of art. Let me show you how.
The perfect brioche starts with the perfect dough!
Try not to overwork the dough. Simply make the dough, let it rest in a bowl on the counter then place it in the fridge overnight for a good sleep. Yes, you make the dough a day ahead. For future reference, keep in mind that this dough can also be stuffed.
How to Braid Brioche Dough like a Pro
Step 1: Make Sure the Ropes are Equal in Size
The secret to a perfectly braided brioche loaf is to make sure the dough ropes are equal in size. My favorite trick is to weigh out the pieces on my kitchen scale so I know they’re all the same. You’ll start with two pieces, then spread the filling evenly between them. Next, you'll roll the dough to create a long "rope." The chocolate filling will be encased inside the dough. You will end up with two chocolate-filled dough ropes. Make sure the seam is on the bottom of the roll, facing the countertop, then pinch the dough ends so that delicious filling doesn't escape!
Step 2: Use a Sharp Chef’s Knife to Cut Brioche Dough
A sharp chef’s knife is the best tool for the next step: Cut each dough rope down the middle. At this point, you’ll have four long dough pieces with the chocolate layers exposed. Take two pieces and start twisting, then place them in your prepared pan! Easy, right? The dough may need to be maneuvered a bit to fit in the pan, but that just adds to the twisty beauty after it’s baked! Read on for the rest of the details.
This delicious pastry is as delicious as it is stunning, and it can be served for breakfast or dessert. The presentation is so beautiful that it makes a great dish for special occasions. It might look like it would be difficult to make, but I promise it’s not. Each step is simple and easy to execute. The end result is well worth it!
Yield: Makes 2 loaves
Author: Mary DiSomma
Twisted Chocolate Brioche Recipe
This incredible chocolate brioche loaf may look fancy, but it's actually very easy to make. Bring one of these the next time someone in your life has a special occasion. Everyone will love it!
5 ounces (½ cup plus 2 tablespoons) room temperature, unsalted butter
6 ounces (¾ cup) unsalted butter, cubed
7 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 ½ cups finely ground chocolate wafer cookies
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoons cream
Combine the warm milk, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let sit for 10 minutes to activate the yeast. The mixture should get foamy on top.
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, remaining ⅓ cup sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Using a handheld whisk, whisk to combine.
Place the dough hook or flat beater attachment on your stand mixer. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract to the yeast mixture. Mix briefly until just combined. Then, add the dry ingredients to the milk mixture. They will go in all at once and sit right on top of the wet ingredients.
Now begin mixing the dough on medium/low speed. Scrape down the side of the bowl periodically until all the dry ingredients are incorporated, about 5 minutes. The dough should become smooth. It is important to mix the dough this long so it becomes smooth.
Add half of the softened butter and mix on low speed until fully incorporated. Add the remaining softened butter and mix to incorporate. It will take about 3 to 4 minutes for the butter to be fully incorporated. The dough will be slightly tacky. Place plastic wrap over the bowl and allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 2 hours. The dough will rise slightly (it won’t double in size like some other bread recipes do).
Divide the dough in half, forming each half into a rectangle. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight. It is important to let the dough rest overnight so the flavors have time to intensify.
Wait until the next day to continue with the remaining steps.
To prepare the chocolate filling, start by setting a large, heatproof bowl on top of a pot of simmering water over medium heat. The water in the pot should not touch the bottom of the bowl.
In the bowl, combine the butter, milk chocolate, and bittersweet chocolate, stirring now and then, until completely melted.
Remove the bowl from on top of the pot and let cool to room temperature. Add the chocolate wafer crumbs and cinnamon. Mix gently to combine.
Spray two 8x4 inch loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray. Cut two pieces of parchment paper into 8x12 inch rectangles. Drape a sheet of parchment into each prepared pan so the paper hangs over the sides. This will make removing the finished bread easier.
Take the dough out of the refrigerator and place one piece on a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough into a 9x17 inch rectangle. Spread half of the filling evenly over the dough, leaving a ½-inch edge.
Starting at the long edge of the dough, roll it up tightly, jelly roll style. Set aside and repeat the same process with the remaining piece of dough and the rest of the filling.
Place both dough logs, seam side down, in the freezer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove them from the freezer and place them back on your work surface. Cut one log in half lengthwise. You will now have two long ropes of dough. Twist the two pieces of dough together. Place the dough into one of the prepared pans. It’s okay if you need to twist the dough to fit the pan—the more twists there are, the more decorative your loaf will be. Repeat with the other dough rope and remaining filling.
Cover the loaves with a tea towel and let them rise at room temperature for 2 hours. At about 1½ hours, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the egg and cream to make an egg wash. Lightly brush the top of each loaf with egg wash, then place the pans on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until the bread is puffed and browned. I like to check the bread by using an instant read thermometer. The thermometer should be inserted into the center of the bread, without touching the bottom of the pan. When the internal temperature of the loaf is between 195 and 200 degrees, it’s done. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Use the parchment paper to lift the baked loaves out of the pan. Let them cool for another 2 hours before slicing.
Mary DiSomma, Foodie, Author, Philanthropist, Mother, Wife and so much more...
Mary DiSomma, an enthusiastic and imaginative baker of cookies, is the author and publisher of A Gift of Cookies: Recipes to Share with Family & Friends. She is also a philanthropist, podiatrist, entrepreneur, and mother of four grown children.
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