So I decided to try out enriched breads as a sweet treat for a friend. If you want to skip straight to the recipe it’s below!
- 2tsp of dried yeast
- 125ml of coconut milk
- 2 eggs (one for the dough one for glazing)
- 435g of plain flour, plus more for dusting
- 15g of coco powder
- 120g of caster sugar
- 1/4 tsp fine salt
- 95g of melted coconut butter or cream (75g for the dough and roughly 20g for filling)
- 100g chocolate, I used milk but dark could work well. If you’re doing this for a lacto-free friend find out their preference!
- Butter or oil for greasing bowls and the pan
Additional but not vital
- Coconut essence
- Desiccated coconut
Quick Note on the Ingredients
Most of these can be bought a low price grocery shops, or own brand of others. If you’re unsure about purchasing the coconut milk and cream I got both in one. Lidl sells coconut milk in a tin, it’s mostly the cream but they’re roughly 150-200ml in milk in the cans. It does vary. The rest is the cream. If you’re making it for a lacto-free friend but want to avoid purchasing (and then having to consume the rest of the milk/cream) this can be an ideal way round it.
Also I’ve not tested it with additional items- I just imagine that it would work well. These would just ‘amp up’ the coconut flavour in the bread- but it works well without it according to my testers!
- Measure the bowl/jug you’re using to mix the wet ingredients and note down it’s weight
- Heat up the milk so it’s warm to the touch and dissolve in the yeast and sugar in your weighed vessel. It’s best to use a fork to make sure it’s all incorporated. Then wait for the yeast to activate- twoish minutes.
- Melt and add 75g of the coconut butter.
- Once the milk mixture is cool to the touch add the egg and salt then beat it well into the mix.
- Weigh the vessel, subtract it’s empty weight to get the net. From this you need to divide it by two and separate it between two bowls. See below for reasoning.
- In the first bowl add 225g of the flour, then using an implement of your choice (I’m partial to a silicon spatula) mix in the flour.
- Once the dough has become raggeredy in the bowl turn out on a floured surface. I tend to take this moment (before my hands become a flourly mess) to oil or butter the same bowl. Work the dough for about 10 minutes, or until it happily spring back when you press it.
- Pop the dough back into the bowl, once you’ve dumped it in give it a swirl then flip it over. This way the top has now got a layer of your oil/butter and is less likely to skin whilst proving. Pop in a draft free warm place to prove for about 2-3 hours (I used my grill).
- In the second bowl add the remaining flour and the coco powder. Then apply steps 7 and 8, with the addition of coco powder it will be a bit stiffer to work with, and you may need to add more flour as you see fit.
- As this is enriched dough with both butter and milk the proving will be a bit sluggish, so it may take nearer three hours for it to double in size, check on it regularly.
- Once it’s ready grease up the tin or try you’d like to to bake it on whilst the dough comes up to room temperature (especially if you did a fridge/over night prove). I’d recommend also grating the chocolate, or preparing it the way you think best, along with any other aspect you’d need when preparing the loaf (both explained more below). You will need to, at the least, crack and beat the left over egg.
- Pulling out the plain (non coco-powder) knock it back on a clean and clear surface. Roll it out so it’s roughly 30cm long and about 10 cm wide. Using a pastry brush egg wash one of the longer sides- then liberally apply your coconut filling keeping it evenly distributed and reasonably thin.
- Once you’re happy, carefully roll from the non-egg washed side to the egg washed side. If possible keep it nice and tight. Then pop aside as you may need to wipe the down the surface before continuing.
- Turn out the chocolate dough to repeat steps 12 and 13 again. When you’re done pop your egg into the fridge to glaze before baking.
- On your surface plait the dough rolls loosely. Unlike with a typical braided loaf, like the one here, the less over laps the better. The dough is a little denser and tighter braids are less likely to bake evenly. If you look below my best results were with a figure of 8 shape.
- Pop back into that proving location for another two/three hours. There won’t be a huge difference, especially if you’re used to typical bread, but there will be noticeable change.
- Pre-heat your oven to 190C / 175C fan / 375F / Gas 5 during which time make a tin foil hat. Before popping into the oven egg wash the coconut side as normal, but you may need to use a ‘stippling’ action if any grated chocolate has been exposed during the bake. Bake for 20-25 minutes starting with the hat on, and removing at the 10 minute mark. As there is a high sugar content there is a high chance of it catching towards the end of the bake- so keep an eye on it
- Leave to cool for about 15 minutes and serve!
Notes on method and fillings
I tried splitting the dough before kneading it, then adding the coco powder. The dough didn’t rise as well, nor was the coco powder (and it’s colour), that well dispersed. However the way described in the method produced a much more workable dough with a more even colour, taste, and flavour.
In terms of the chocolate it depends on how you want that to come out. So grating it ensures an even amount through out the dough, but also creates a lovely gooey filling. However, chunking it and breaking it down into small pieces created an indulgent texture. I’ve not yet been able to test a mix of it- but I’m sure you’ll get a “best of both” effect there.
When it comes to shaping the dough I used two tin foil balls at the shaping stage. As you can see below:
The balls were the same circumference as the tea cups the sauce was served in. This way the tea cup could sit nicely in the void. By the time the prove had finished both had been encapsulated by the dough. They were definitely useful during the bake, as you can see:
In this example I only egg washed the coconut dough’s long side, as you can see it held the crease better than the coconut. The tin foil maintained the voids perfectly for the tea cups. You could so something similar with an S shape. If you had more space than myself you could join the two different doughs up instead of butting them together like I did.
Let me know how you get on if you try it! Or if you can suggest any tweaks!
To explain Belov’d and I have had some time to relax and reset ourselves. During which we invited a friend to visit. She’s a bit of a bread lover and likes what I’ve mad so far in my baking forays.
Wanting to push the boat out a bit for her visit I thought I’d try brioche. Cracking open a trusted baking book I looked up the recipe for brioche. In short I was a bit daunted. So I looked at the next page and felt a lot more confident. Hefezopf, the German equivalent of brioche.
Having my own tame German to hand to test it on I tried it out. Unfortunately I only had strong brown flour- instead of plain- to hand. Although it baked well, a fine crisp crust, I was informed that it simply wasn’t sweet enough to be Hefezopf. Though we both agreed it was very nice bread.
I thought to myself- what could I do to make it sweeter but more interesting? Other than simply upping the sugar is there anything else I could do? Yep! After some investigation I found two things, Hefezopf recipe are practically all in German (expected) and it’s rarely flavoured with anything that isn’t fruit.
Honestly I’m not sure why I went to coconut. I think I wanted to bring a different kind of sweetness and nuttiness to the bread. Chocolate was an obvious complimentary flavour that I know can work well within bread. I’ve practised and tested the recipe a few times this week (so much sweet bread o-o) and think I’ve got it down.