If you like sweet bread, especially sweet chocolate bread, this Sweet Russian Chocolate Braid is for you! It is soft and tender and filled with pastry cream.
I was given some beautiful books over Christmas on baking bread, and I just couldn’t wait to dive into them. Months later they were still waiting patiently on my coffee table. That is until I laid eyes of the Sweet Russian Chocolate Braid.
This month’s Bread Bakers is hosted by Shireen at Ruchik Randhap (Delicious Cooking). The theme is Cacao, cocoa or carob in any form. Well, I love chocolate as much as I do bread so this was one month I didn’t want to miss.
I always choose something that I haven’t made before. When I read the recipe and technique of the Sweet Russian Chocolate Braid in “The Best of Fine Cooking, Breads addition”, I wanted to give it a try. It looked gorgeous and made my chocolate loving heart beat a little faster. The dough was difficult to work with. It was very wet and sticky. The recipe said this was normal. So while delicious, mine doesn’t exactly resemble the braid in the book. I’m o.k. with that though because I think it still turned out gorgeous!
- 7.6 oz unbleached all-purpose flour 1 1/2 cups plus 3 Tbs. plus more for rolling
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 3 tbsp water
- 1 small potato peeled, cooked and put through a ricer or sieve (yield 1/4 cup)
- 2 egg yolks large
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp cold unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 inch piece vanilla bean
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour unbleached is o.k.
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 egg yolks large
- 1 egg beaten to brush dough prior to baking
In a medium saucepan, warm the milk over medium heat. Using a sharp knife, slice the vanilla bean vertically. Scrape out the seeds and add the pod and seeds to the milk. Cook until a skin forms. Remove the pan from the heat.
In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, flour, and salt, then whisk in the egg yolks.
Remove the pod from the milk mixture. In a thin stream, slowly whisk in the warm milk. Return this mixture back to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is extremely thick and gluey, about 5 minutes.
Press a piece of plastic wrap down over the surface of the cream to keep a skin from forming. Let cool and then refrigerate until ready to use.
In a small bowl, mix 3 tablespoons of flour with the yeast and then whisk in the water. Set it aside for 10 to 15 minutes or until it begins to get puffy.
Fit a large capacity food processor with the metal blade. Put in the remaining flour, yeast mixture, potato, egg yolks, vanilla and sour cream.
Process the ingredients for about 1 minute. Remove the dough from the working bowl and knead it by hand on a clean countertop for 1 minute. Return it to the food processor, running it for another minute and then kneading it on the counter for 30 seconds. Repeat this step until the dough is very smooth about 2 to 3 times.
Return the dough to the processor. Add the sugar and salt, kneading again in the processor and then on the counter until the sugar is dissolved. The dough will soften considerably and become very sticky.
Return the dough to the processor and add the butter process until well incorporated and then kneading it for another minute on the counter. The dough will cling to the sides of the processor and feel warm to touch at this point. Kneading on the counter should cool it and help firm it up.
Transfer the dough to a large bowl that has been lightly oiled. Cover and allow the dough to rise until approximately 3 to 4 times its volume, approximately 3 hours.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or butter it. Roll the dough on a floured surface into a rectangle measuring 13x16 inches and about 1/8 inch thick. Stir the chilled pastry cream and then spread it over the dough in a thin layer. Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the dough. Roll long edge into a cylinder and pinch to seal.
Put the cylinder on the baking sheet. Using a sharp knife cut the cylinder down the middle lengthwise. Arrange the strips so the filling is facing up and they are lined up side by side. Working from the center, wrap them around each other to form a twist. Cover the dough and let rise until it's large and puffy, and remains indented when lightly pressed with your fingertip, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Brush the dough with a beaten egg. Bake in the center of the oven until golden brown, approximately 35 minutes, turning the pan halfway through baking.
Cool on a rack for 1 hour before slicing.
Recipe originated in Fine Cooking Breads Winter 2015 edition.
For more delicious bread, check out the recipes for other Bread Baker participants.
Breads with Cocoa, Cacao or Carob in any form
- Chocolate & Cherry Swirl Breads from The Bread She Bakes
- Chocolate Orange Swirl Buns from Mayuri’s Jikoni
- Chocolate and Vanilla Brioche from Kidsandchic
- Chocolate Banana Quick Bread from Basic N Delicious
- Chocolate Buttermilk Quick Bread from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Chocolate Filled Bundt Bread from Food Lust People Love
- Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Chocolate Monkey Bread from Sara’s Tasty Buds
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Quick Bread from Magnolia Days
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Cinnamon Rolls from From Gate to Plate
- Chocolate Yeast Bread from Cook’s Hideout
- Croatian Povitica – Chocolate Walnut Swirl Bread from Herbivore Cucina
- Dark Chocolate Cherry Pocket Bread from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Double Chocolate Espresso Scones from Wholistic Woman
- Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread from Sizzling Tastebuds
- Egg Free 45 Minutes Chocolate Buns from Gayathri’s Cook Spot
- Eggless Chocolate Babka from I Camp in my Kitchen
- Eggless Triple Chocolate Scones from Spill the Spices
- Four-Chocolate Sour Cream Quickbread from What Smells So Good?
- Leopard Print Bread from Spiceroots
- Pain Au Chocolat (Chocolate filled Croissants) from G’Gina’s Kitchenette
- Petits Pain au Chocolat – Mini Chocolate Croissant from Sneha’s Recipe
- Sourdough Cacao Sweet Bread from The Schizo Chef
- Sweet Russian Chocolate Braid from Hostess At Heart
- Two Chocolates Greek Yogurt Banana Bread from La cocina de Aisha
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.
We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.
If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are a couple more of my favorite Bread Bakers posts!