I come from a long line of bread eaters. We’re a hearty group and we can make a meal out of bread. Meat, fish and vegetables are nice, but really we’re quite satisfied with just bread. Maybe it’s my Eastern European ancestry that makes me appreciate what one can do with a little bit of yeast and some flour. You see, we’re simple folk. I love a loaf fresh out of the oven, slathered in butter or with a dollop of marmalade. Pita, naan, ciabatta or tortillas, call it what you will, it’s all good to me. I think it’s funny, all these people nowadays cutting bread out of their diet, well that’s just plain crazy to me.
I know some people are intimidated when they see yeast in a recipe. One of my favorite books, “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” has taken the trauma out of bread making. If you have the slightest interest in making your own bread, and trust me you should, then I highly recommend this book to you.
One of the best recipes in the book is their chocolate brioche. It’s a rich, eggy bread, golden on the outside with bittersweet chocolate ganache swirled on the inside. It was today’s breakfast, lunch and dinner. Nothing wrong with that, right?
From Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
- 8 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup honey
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, melted, plus butter for greasing the pan
- 7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- Egg wash, (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water)
- You can make this dough using a spoon, a large food processor or an electric mixer. I made it in the bowl of my electric mixer.
- Mix the yeast, salt, eggs, honey and melted butter with the water in the bowl.
- Using the dough hook, mix in the flour until it’s all incorporated.
- When all the flour has been incorporated, cover the bowl, (not airtight) and allow it to rest at room temperature for 2 hours. After the initial rise, chill the dough as it will be easier to work with. This amount of dough will make four -1 pound loaves, so keep the dough refrigerated in a lidded container and use over the next five days.
- 1/4 pound good quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 5 tablespoons corn syrup
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- granulated sugar for sprinkling on top
- Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a microwave in 15 second increments until smooth. Remove from the heat and add the butter, stirring until incorporated.
- In another little bowl, stir the cocoa powder and the corn syrup together and mix until smooth. Add to the chocolate mixture.
- Lightly butter a 9 x 4 x 3-inch nonstick loaf pan. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and with a serrated knife, cut off a one-pound piece. I use my digital scale to weigh it. Dust that piece with more flour and shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Using a rolling-pin, roll out the ball into a 1/4 inch thick rectangle, dusting with flour as needed.
- Spread 1/2 cup of the ganache over the rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Starting at the short end, roll up the dough and seal the bare edges.
- Tuck the loose ends underneath, elongate the dough into an oval and place it into your loaf pan.
- Let the dough rest for 1 1/2 hours in a draft-free spot.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Using a pastry brush, paint the top crust with the egg white and sprinkle with the granulated sugar.
- Bake the brioche for 45 minutes until the top is golden brown and the sugar is caramelized.
- Remove from the pan and cool slightly. Reheat the remaining ganache, then drizzle it over the top of the loaf.