The past few weeks have been so busy! That just shows that no matter how much planning I do, at the end, things might still turn out completely different. However, when those busy times include blogging or traveling and exploring new places, than I’m all for it! Unfortunately it’s not always the pleasant things in life that get in the way though..
But, as far as the traveling part is concerned, we went to France over Thanksgiving. Just across the border to visit the region of Alsace. If you have never been there before, I highly recommend it! Colmar is one of the little towns in that area. It is so precious! Even more during the Christmas season with the beautiful decorations. And then the food.. Oh my.. Restaurants and bistros serving delicious menus at almost every corner. There should be a rule for travels to France (and Italy..). Something like “If you can’t spend at least one week there, then don’t go.” Why? Well, when you catch yourself having a three-course lunch and then you leave the restaurant completely full, saying “Tonight I’ll definitely skip dinner!” And then, about 4 hours later you find yourself sitting in another bistro checking out the menu, looking for – of course – something small and light.. Just to find the weekly special three-course menu card.. And picking just that, without hesitating. Forgetting instantly the previous big lunch, including how full you really (still) are..
I mean, why do they do that?? Can’t they just simply offer one dish only?! That is why spending only two days in France can be dangerous. Trying to squeeze in way too much food into one day.. I’ve been there before.
As you might have already noticed, I love brioche! And whatever falls into that category. So, after sharing with you my family’s braided Easter bread, followed by the beautiful flower shaped brioche, and the softest brioche ever, now it’s time for a different recipe. This time with chocolate! And that’s not the only difference. This one here is not the typical soft brioche. The texture is completely different. I’d say a little crunchy, with a wonderfully intense flavor. It must be the mix of chocolate with a generous amount of butter, that turns these braided buns into something magical, and so addictive! No kidding.
As I made so many, I decided to freeze them right after baking. The freezer sounded like the safest place to me. Otherwise I’d have eaten them all, just to feel guilty afterwards about the out-of-control amounts of butter that I’d have eaten.
Btw, I have a little advice for you. Just recently I ended up trashing my homemade pizza twice within a few days. That really hurt. I mean, I make pizza dough almost weekly, so I couldn’t understand why the dough looked and felt so different. Basically it didn’t rise, at all. I blamed it on the yeast. A second attempt followed, with a new package of fresh yeast. Same result. OK, so at that point I knew that this couldn’t be the problem . Then I remembered what my aunt told me. She always turns the oven on at the lowest setting, for a very few minutes only, until it gets barely warm. Then she places the bowl with the dough inside to rise. My kitchen must have been particularly cold that week, because as soon as I tried the oven version, the dough rose perfectly, warm and quickly. You may want to try to do the same ;) It really works!
- 300 g / 10½ oz flour
- 160 g / 5½ oz butter, soft / room temperature
- 160 g / 5½ oz chocolate, grated
- 3 eggs
- 5 g dry yeast (a bit less than one package) or 15 g fresh yeast
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp milk (alternatively one or the other)
- 2 tbsp water
- ½ tsp salt
- Mix the yeast with water until it has completely dissolved.
- In a large bowl combine flour, sugar and salt.
- Stir in yeast mix, eggs and butter. Knead to a smooth dough.
- Cover and let it rest for about 1½ hours.
- Then knead for a 1 or 2 minutes. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and split into 6 equal parts.
- Roll out one part with a rolling pin on a worktop into a thin rectangle.
- Spread the grated chocolate on top of it, while leaving a little space on the edge.
- Roll up the rectangle lengthwise.
- Cut the dough into half, lengthwise.
- Turn both with the cut side up. Then start braiding them.
- Form a wreath and overlap both ends.
- Grab the bottom end and wrap it up so you can slide it inside of the middle hole.
- Then take the top end and wrap it underneath the wreath.
- Repeat five more times with the remaining dough.
- Place on a parchment paper covered baking sheet. Let them rest for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C / 356°F.
- Brush the brioches with the egg-milk mix and bake for about 30-40 minutes until golden brown.