CHOCOLATE BRIOCHE

These buns are seriously so good! I've made them a few times now, with the chocolate, and a few times with a mixture of cinnamon, sugar and butter instead. I've also made them both with wholemeal and plain flour, and although the wholemeal buns were a little heavier, every time, they've been a total crowdpleaser. 

They not only taste amazing, but look really beautiful too. The layers of chocolate are really striking, and quite easily achieved through several turns and folds, a little bit like the turns and folds you do when making puff pastry. These buns are inspired by a recipe I came across from a stunning blog called Los Tragabaldas. With a little help from my Italian and scrappy Spanish, I could just make out Raquel Carmona's recipe, but I've taken some liberties and, so here it is...my version of Chocolate Brioche!

MAKES 2 loaves or approximately 12 large individual buns.

FOR THE DOUGH

250ml milk, warmed 

7g dry active yeast

2 eggs

90g caster sugar

600g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

pinch of salt

100g softened unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing

FOR THE CHOCOLATE FILLING

110g 70% chocolate, finely chopped

110g caster sugar

60g plain flour

40g dutch press cocoa powder

50g butter, softened

175ml milk

1. For the dough, stir the yeast into the warmed milk and allow to sit for a few minutes, or until a little bubbly. 

2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and caster sugar lightly and add in the milk and yeast. Mix to combine. Add the flour and salt and mix until the mixture is smooth. Slowly add the butter, a little at a time, stirring after each addition. Continue to work the dough until it is very smooth and easily coming away from the bowl. I do all the mixing in my stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. 

Cover the bowl with cling film and allow to prove for two hours or until doubled in size, in a warm, draught free space. 

3. Meanwhile, for the chocolate filling, combine all the ingredients, except for the milk, in a bowl. Place the milk in a small saucepan over a low flame and bring to a simmer. Take immediately off the heat and pour over the other ingredients. Stir quickly to melt and incorporate everything together. Set aside and allow to cool completely. 

4. Knock back the dough and divide into two. Using a rolling pin, roll out one of the pieces of dough on a lightly floured bench to a rectangle around 30x20cm big. Spread the dough with half of the chocolate mixture. 

5. To roll the buns, you have two options. For an easy way, you can simply roll the dough tightly, from the widest edge, to create the layers, making sure you seal the dough at the end. Then, either twist the large roll a little and place in a buttered loaf pan, or for individual buns, cut roll into pieces and place in a buttered baking dish or muffin tins, cut side up.

To create slightly more layers, you can work the dough like pastry. From the shortest sides, fold into the middle, like a book. Fold the dough onto itself again and roll out again to a rectangle, similar to the size you began with. Repeat the process two more times, before rolling the dough, from the longest edge, to form a cylindrical roll. Now, either twist the roll slightly and place in a buttered loaf pan, or for individual buns, cut roll into pieces and place in a buttered baking dish or muffin tins, cut side up. This method is a bit messier, as the chocolate begins to ooze out of the crevices as you turn and fold, but this is all in the name of flaky layered buns, so totally fine, and totally worth it!

Repeat with other half of the dough and mixture. 

Preheat oven to 180C and leave buns to prove for 45 minutes. 

6. Cook for 20-25 minutes for a large loaf bun, or 15-20 minutes for individual buns. They should be risen and golden. Leave to cool slightly and serve. They are best eaten the day they are made, or make for a fabulous bread and butter pudding in the following days.