Yeast Breads

Dark Chocolate + Chestnut Milk Bread


Prep Time : 45 Minutes | Cook Time : 35 Minutes | Total Time : 3 hours | Difficulty : Bread

Hello my lovelies! When we were in Tokyo we stayed in a hotel that had a bakery on the ground floor (shout out to The Knot Shinjuku). It was an amazing bakery. The first day we were there they had the best cannelés I’ve ever had. They also had a rotating cast of brioche buns with different sweet fillings. One of my favourites was chocolate and chestnut. I also had a few other chestnut treats – including a fabulous mont blanc on our last evening there – and I’ve been wanting to experiment with it since I’ve been back. This loaf isn’t brioche but it is fluffily sweet and delicious. My way of saying thanks for all the carbs Japan.

This is a simple lightly enriched dough made with milk and butter. It’s not a tangzhong method sorry purists. We are filling our loaf with chestnut and grated chocolate before bundling it up and baking until golden. You can buy chestnut puree both sweetened and unsweetened. I prefer the unsweetened so you can control the sweetness to suit your tastes. If you’re making your own puree make sure it’s not too thin as it can make the buns soggy. You’re looking for a thick paste consistency rather than something that flows.

Measure the flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl, reserving about half a teaspoon of the sugar.

Mix the little bit of sugar into the milk and sprinkle the yeast over it. Leave it until it gets foamy – about 10 minutes.

Add the milk to the dry ingredients and mix to a dough.

Cover and leave the dough in the bowl to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. This will give the flour a bit of time to absorb some liquid and shorten the kneading time.

Tip the dough out and knead until smooth – about 6-8 minutes. It’s quite a stiff dough before the butter goes in so take a break every couple of minutes if you need to.

Add half the butter to the dough.

Knead until the butter is incorporated. It will look terrible for a while. It will split. Then it will be sticky.

Then it will be fine. Repeat with the second half of the butter. This half will absorb faster than the first. When the dough is smooth and soft pop it back in the bowl and cover. Leave to double in size – about an hour.

To make the filling mix the chestnut puree with the sugar and salt and adjust the sugar to taste. I found I only needed a tablespoon and a half of sugar to make it sweet enough. Grate the chocolate onto a plate.

Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured bench. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle.

Spread the chestnut mixture over the dough, leaving a border of about 2 inches along a long side.

Sprinkle the grated chocolate over the top and pat it down so it sticks.

Roll the dough up into a sausage and pinch the join closed.

Dust the log of dough with a little flour and roll it with your hands a bit to lengthen it. It needs to be about 2 feet long. Using a sharp knife split the log in two lengthways, leaving a little join at one end.

Twist the two ‘legs’ together to form a rough braid.

Now lift the braid and lay it into the prepared pan starting at one end. It should fold back on itself a couple of times – that’s what we made it so long. Tuck the ends under.

Cover the loaf pan and leave the loaf to double in size.

Heat the oven to 200C (395F). Brush with egg wash and sprinkle the loaf with sesame seeds if you like. It just adds a little nutty crunch.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the loaf is well browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. It may be a little fragile at first because of the filling so be careful turning it out.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool before slicing so it doesn’t squish the loaf.

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Dark Chocolate + Chestnut Milk Buns


Prep Time : 45 mins | Cook Time : 35 mins | Total Time : 3 hours | Difficulty : Bread

Makes : one large loaf (or 12 buns)

Sweet fluffy milk bread swirled with dark chocolate and chestnut filling – a sweet ode to Japan.

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 500 grams strong bread flour
  • 1 + 1/2 teaspoons (10 grams) fine salt
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
  • 1 + 1/2 cups (360 mls) warm full fat milk
  • 1 + 1/2 teaspoons active dried yeast
  • 4 tablespoons (55 grams) soft unsalted butter, diced

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup (130 grams) unsweetened chestnut puree
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • pinch salt
  • 2 ounces (55 grams) dark chocolate (60% cacao), grated

– If using metric cups, reduce volume measures by 1 tablespoon for every cup of dry or liquid ingredients – 

Equipment:

  • Bowls and spoons
  • Box grater or microplane
  • 12 well regular muffin pan, non-stick or greased with coconut oil

Directions:

Measure the flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl, reserving about half a teaspoon of the sugar.

Mix the little bit of sugar into the milk and sprinkle the yeast over it. Leave it until it gets foamy – about 10 minutes.

Add the milk to the dry ingredients and mix to a dough.

Cover and leave the dough in the bowl to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. This will give the flour a bit of time to absorb some liquid and shorten the kneading time.

Tip the dough out and knead until smooth – about 6-8 minutes. It’s quite a stiff dough before the butter goes in so take a break every couple of minutes if you need to.

Add half the butter to the dough.

Knead until the butter is incorporated. It will look terrible for a while. It will split. Then it will be sticky.

Then it will be fine. Repeat with the second half of the butter. This half will absorb faster than the first. When the dough is smooth and soft pop it back in the bowl and cover. Leave to double in size – about an hour.

To make the filling mix the chestnut puree with the sugar and salt and adjust the sugar to taste. I found I only needed a tablespoon and a half of sugar to make it sweet enough. Grate the chocolate onto a plate.

Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured bench. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle.

Spread the chestnut mixture over the dough, leaving a border of about 2 inches along a long side.

Sprinkle the grated chocolate over the top and pat it down so it sticks.

Roll the dough up into a sausage and pinch the join closed.

Dust the log of dough with a little flour and roll it with your hands a bit to lengthen it. It needs to be about 2 feet long. Using a sharp knife split the log in two lengthways, leaving a little join at one end.

Twist the two ‘legs’ together to form a rough braid. Now lift the braid and lay it into the prepared pan starting at one end. It should fold back on itself a couple of times – that’s what we made it so long. Tuck the ends under.

Cover the loaf pan and leave the loaf to double in size.

Heat the oven to 200C (395F). Brush with egg wash and sprinkle the loaf with sesame seeds if you like. It just adds a little nutty crunch.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the loaf is well browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. It may be a little fragile at first because of the filling so be careful turning it out.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool before slicing so it doesn’t squish the loaf.

Cook’s Notes:

  • You can buy chestnut puree or make your own. If you are making your own make sure it doesn’t have too much liquid in it or it will run out of the loaf or make it soggy. You can also buy puree that is already sweetened so if you have this you can use it (and omit the sugar in the filling) but I prefer to control the sweetness myself.
  • To make this recipe as buns, divide the proved dough into 12 even pieces. Roll out each piece and spread with filling and sprinkle with chocolate. Roll the dough up, split the little sausages and tie in a knot. Place the knots into a regular muffin pan and leave to double in size before baking at 200C for 15 to 18 minutes.

 – These buns are best within 2 days of baking so eat up! Keep them in an airtight container at room temperature or freeze for longer keeping- 

© 2018 Wellington Bakehouse. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

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