Chocolate Star Bread
Here's a recipe that'll impress your friends, colleagues, family, neighbors... pretty much anyone who likes chocolate. It's inspired by Smitten Kitchen's Better Chocolate Babka, but instead of making two twisty loaves, I twist it into one beautiful star shape. It looks super complicated, but fear not: it's much easier to make than just about anything they make on the Great British Baking Show.
- 4 1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- Grated zest of half an orange (or a small lemon)
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup water and up to 2 tablespoons extra, if needed
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- Neutral oil for greasing (I use grapeseed oil)
- 4 1/4 ounces (130 grams) dark chocolate
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- Scant 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/3 cup water
- 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Combine the flour, sugar, yeast and zest in the bowl of stand mixer. Add eggs and 1/2 cup water and mix with the dough hook until it comes together (this may take a 2-3 minutes). It's ok if it's a bit dry, but if it doesn't come together at all add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough forms a mass.
- With the mixer on low, add the salt. Then add the butter, a spoonful at a time, mixing until it's incorporated into the dough. Then, mix on medium speed for 10 minutes, scarping down the sides of the bowl as needed. While it's mixing, coat a large bowl with oil. After 10 minutes the dough should be completely smooth and pull away from the sides of the bowl. If it doesn't you can add 1 tablespoon extra flour to help it along.
- Put the dough in the oiled bowl, cover with plastic and refrigerate for at least half a day but preferably over night.
- Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter until smoother.
- Stir in the powdered sugar and cocoa until the mixture becomes a spreadable paste.
- Finally, mix in the cinnamon and set bowl aside to cool a bit while you assemble the bread.
Assemble the bread
- Take the dough out of the fridge and five into four equal pieces. Shape each peace into a ball.
- On a well floured work space, roll each piece of dough into a 10" circle. I use the bottom of a 10-inch tart pan as a guide and cut around the edges to make perfect circles.
- Place the circle on a piece of parchment and spread a layer of the chocolate mixture evenly on the dough, leaving 1/4 inch around the perimeter.
- Roll out the second circle the same size as he first, place it on top of the filling-covered circle, and spread a layer of chocolate mixture on top. Repeat the layering process, leaving the top circle bare.
- Place a 2 1/2" to 3" round cutter in the center of dough circle as a guide. With a dough scraper or sharp knife, cut the circle into 16 equal strips, from the cutter to the edge, through all the layers.
- Using two hands, pick up two adjacent strips and twist them away from each other twice so that the top side facing up again. Pinch the pairs together at the end.
- Repeat with the remaining strips of dough so that you create a star-like shape with eight points. Remove the cutter.
- Transfer the start on the parchment paper to a baking sheet. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Bake and Finish
- Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the towels and place the start in the middle of the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, checking for doneness at 25 minutes.
- While the star is baking, make the syrup: bring sugar and water to a simmer until sugar dissolves and set aside to cool.
- As soon as the start leaves the oven, brush the syrup all over it.
- Let the star cool halfway on the pan then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely... or, more likely, eat it while its still warm.