Friday, April 16, 2021


There is something so satisfying in working with dough. Watching the yeast bubble up and come alive, blend with the flour, create thousands of tiny bubbles, and then transform into a beautiful loaf; pure magic.
And what better way to start the day than with a lovely homemade bread, full of chocolate, hazelnuts, and vanilla. Chewy crust paired with a soft crumb; a match made in breakfast heaven.
Plenty of dark chocolate and hazelnut butter, fragrant vanilla, and a handful of toasted hazelnuts, for good measure, all enveloped in pillowy dough. Melted chocolate does not even have to be perfectly blended with the hazelnut butter; having those little swirls and ripples show through as the bread is sliced is a beautiful thing.
Such a lovely little vegan loaf, perfect for everyday breakfast, and even for the Great Lent. It is truly best served still hot, with a glass of milk. It does not have to be sliced; there is much pleasure in taking tiny pieces from the top and sides as the bread cools.

For the dough
250 grams plain flour, sifted
2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
20 grams brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
150 millilitres soy milk, warm
20 millilitres vegetable oil
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
50 grams soft unsalted vegan block butter, divided
For the chocolate hazelnut filling
150 grams dark cooking chocolate (at least 50% cocoa solids), chopped
80 grams hazelnut butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
50 grams toasted hazelnuts, optional

Place the flour into a large bowl, add in the sugar and the yeast, and whisk nicely. Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm milk, oil, vanilla, and the salt, and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until the dough starts to form and pull away from the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with a lid, and let it rest for 10-15 minutes, just to relax.
After that, transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, add 30 grams of the softened butter, and knead until the dough absorbs it fully. It may take up to 10 minutes for the butter to be absorbed, and the dough may even seem slippery at times, but keep kneading and it will be absorbed. Place the dough back into the bowl and let it rise for about an hour in a warm spot, or until doubled in size.
Near the end of rising time for the dough, melt the dark chocolate, either in a double boiler or in the microwave, and let it cool down slightly. Add in the vanilla, mix well, and then add the hazelnut butter, and mix it through. It does not have to be perfectly blended. If desired, add some finely chopped toasted hazelnuts, and stir them through.
Once risen, press the dough onto the work surface to release all of the air, and then roll it out to a rectangle that is about 5 millimetres thick. Divide the rectangle into three equal strips, and generously spread the filling all over each one, making sure there is a free border on the longer side of each. Gently dampen the free edge with some cold water, and roll the parts of the dough into three long rolls, sealing them well.
Make a simple plait out of them; tuck the ends underneath it, and place it into a small loaf tin (9x18 cm) lined with baking parchment. Cover the top with cling film, and let the dough rise for another 30 minutes. Once risen, melt the reserved butter and brush the dough generously, and then bake it in a preheated oven, at 200°C, for about 25-30 minutes, until baked through and nicely browned. Let it cool down to room temperature, and serve. Yields one small loaf.