We’re setting off on an adventure tomorrow morning, a road trip to Portland! I’ve been looking forward to this trip for a few weeks now since it’s replacing what should have been our New York trip. I’m a little bummed to be missing Easter in New York this year, but I’m hoping the culture and vibrancy of Portland would make up for it.
Last week I started thinking about snacks for the trip – it’s a six-hour drive (or more depending on traffic!). Even though we’ve planned a few detours along the way for breakfast and lunch, everyone knows snacks are essential when road-tripping. I made hummus last night; we might bring that with some rustic tortilla chips.
I want to take a few slices of this cocoa and vanilla twisted loaf, slather them in salty butter and a couple more in peanut or almond butter, wrap them tightly in parchment paper and twine, and bring them along for the ride.
I held on to the idea of this bread for a while; I found a tri-coloured braided loaf on Pinterest, the recipe was in Polish and Google Translate wasn’t much help, but I got the gist and started with two colours – cocoa and vanilla.
Two strands of yeasted dough, one part cocoa, are twisted together and baked into a marbled loaf.
The dough is simple, it’s a little sweet and makes a soft, fluffy and chewy bread. I love it right out of the oven after it’s cooled, thick slices smothered in butter. We seriously polished off a loaf in one afternoon.
One thing about this bread, well, a few things actually, the directions are lengthy. That’s because… bread.
The dough is pretty basic and any simple dough recipe would work here. When I’m short on time, I use my bread machine to make the dough; feel free to put your mixer’s dough hook attachment to use here.
Also, mixing two batches of dough, either by halving or doubling the recipe, and adding cocoa powder to one would work too.
This would be a great addition to your Easter menu; we’ll take ours to go.
- 3 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (or white whole-wheat or gluten-free all-purpose flour), plus more for handling dough
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cup almond milk (or some other type milk)
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 1/4 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for handling dough
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice or apple-cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- In a large bowl, combine flour, 2 tablespoons of sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cardamom and salt
- Heat milk in a small saucepan until it’s almost simmering
- Remove from heat, pour into a small bowl and let it cool for about 5 minutes (milk should be warm)
- Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and yeast, stir and let mixture sit and proof for about 5 – 10 minutes, until it gets foamy and fragrant
- Add vegetable oil, lemon juice and vanilla extract to the yeast mixture and mix well to combine
- Make a hole in the flour mixture and pour the yeast mixture in; using a wooden spoon, stir until dough becomes wet and shaggy
- Knead the dough in the bowl until it comes together roughly
- Lightly flour a work-surface, turn the dough out onto the work-surface and knead until dough comes together completely, and becomes smooth and elastic
- Dough is ready if it bounces back when you stick a finger in it
- Knead dough into a smooth ball, place in a lightly oiled large bowl; cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour
- Punch dough down to deflate and turn it back on to a flour dusted work-surface, roll dough into a ball and use a knife to cut and divide dough into two equal parts.
- Using your hand, part one half of the dough into a large thin rectangle (you could use a rolling pin to roll it out too)
- Use a sifter to sprinkle cocoa powder over dough and knead to incorporate cocoa powder into dough; this might require a little bit of elbow grease
- Roll each dough between your hands to make about 9 inches long strands
- Line the strands of dough side-by-side and pinch the top ends together, twist the strands (putting one on top of the other) until you reach the end
- Seal the end by pinching the dough together and tucking in under the loaf
- Transfer dough into a well-greased 9-inch loaf pan, cover loosely with a clean towel or plastic wrap and allow dough to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour, until it doubles in size.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- When the dough is ready, bake in the oven for 35 – 40 minutes until the crust (of the vanilla part) is golden brown and the bread is baked through
- Remove the bread from pan by gently turning it onto a cooling rack (you may need to gently loosen the edges with a table knife)
- Let bread cool completely before slicing
- Alternatively, you can use your bread machine or stand mixer (using dough hook) to prepare dough – it’s easier and less work this way, especially for incorporating the cocoa powder into the dough.
- For bread machine, follow the machine’s instruction, and add ingredients in the suggested order per the instruction e.g. wet ingredients first then dry ingredients or vice versa.