Chocolate Sesame Whole Wheat Wreath Bread

I simply love giving the Daring baker challenges a purely chocolate make over.

The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book.........and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.

The concluding challenge of the year couldn't have been more delicious.Stollen is a rich Holiday bread,or should I say cake,with all its deliciously packed sweet, nutty, fruity and zesty flavors.I choose to call mine bread since I lessened the sweetness and the texture is dense with use of whole wheat flour.More than the richly dark chocolate what stands out the most of the flavors,is the orange zest,so please do not skip this important ingredient for the added zing to this sensational bread.

Recipe :Chocolate Sesame Whole Wheat Wreath Bread
Makes one medium wreath Serves 5-6 people

For Bread Dough
1/4 cup lukewarm water (110º F / 43º C)
1 packages (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 cup Skimmed Organic milk
4 tablespoons unsalted Organic butter or virgin pressed coconut oil or Pure Ghee
2 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup Pure cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large Organic eggs, lightly beaten
Grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon (5 ml) lemon extract or orange extract
2/3 cup raisins or dried cranberries or dried mixed fruit
3 tablespoons Orange juice
6 red glacé cherries or fresh cranberries(roughly chopped) for the color and the taste. (optional)
1/2 cup flaked almonds
For topping
2 tablespoon Pure Organic honey
2 tablespoon brown sesame seeds
1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips(good quality - 60% cocoa)

Soak the raisins
In a small bowl, soak the raisins in cold water (or in the orange juice from the zested orange) and set aside.

To make the dough

Pour warm water into a small bowl, sprinkle with yeast and let stand 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve yeast completely.

In a small saucepan, combine milk and butter over medium - low heat until butter is melted. Let stand until lukewarm, about 5 minutes.

Lightly beat eggs in a small bowl and add lemon and vanilla extracts.

In a large mixing bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment), stir together the flour, cocoa powder,sugar, salt, cinnamon, orange and lemon zests.

Then stir in (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment) the yeast/water mixture, eggs and the lukewarm milk/butter mixture. This should take about 2 minutes. It should be a soft, but not sticky ball. When the dough comes together, cover the bowl with either plastic or a tea cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.

Add in the mixed peel, soaked fruit and almonds and mix with your hands or on low speed to incorporate. Here is where you can add the cherries if you would like. Be delicate with the cherries or all your dough will turn red!

Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading (or mixing with the dough hook) to distribute the fruit evenly, adding additional flour if needed. The dough should be soft and satiny, tacky but not sticky. Knead for approximately 8 minutes (6 minutes by machine). The full six minutes of kneading is needed to distribute the dried fruit and other ingredients and to make the dough have a reasonable bread-dough consistency. You can tell when the dough is kneaded enough – a few raisins will start to fall off the dough onto the counter because at the beginning of the kneading process the dough is very sticky and the raisins will be held into the dough but when the dough is done it is tacky which isn't enough to bind the outside raisins onto the dough ball.

Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling around to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
Put it in the fridge overnight. The dough becomes very firm in the fridge (since the butter goes firm) but it does rise slowly… the raw dough can be kept in the refrigerator up to a week and then baked on the day you want.

Shaping the Dough and Baking the Wreath

1. Let the dough rest for 2 hours after taking out of the fridge in order to warm slightly.
2. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
3. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 with the oven rack on the middle shelf.
4. Punch dough down, roll into a rectangle about 8 x 12 inches and ¼ inch (6 mm) thick.

Starting with a long side, roll up tightly, forming a long, thin cylinder.
Transfer the cylinder roll to the sheet pan. Join the ends together, trying to overlap the layers to make the seam stronger and pinch with your fingers to make it stick, forming a large circle.
Using Sharp knife, make cuts along outside of circle, in 2-inch (5 cm) intervals, cutting 2/3 of the way through the dough.
Twist each segment outward, forming a wreath shape.Proof for approximately 2 hours at room temperature, or until about 1½ times its original size.
Drizzle with honey all over and sprinkle the sesame seeds,evenly covering the top of the wreath.

Bake the wreath for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking and continue to bake for 20 to 30 minutes. The bread will bake to a dark mahogany color, should register 190°F/88°C in the center of the loaf, and should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.

Chocolate Finishing
Melt the Chocolate chips over double broiler or in the microwave until completely melted and glossy.Drizzle all over the baked wreath.Cut and serve warm. When completely cool, store in a air tight container.The flavor intensifies the next day,makes a delicious treat with morning cuppa.

Peek in other Daring Bakers' take on the exquisite challenge.

Enjoy the rest of the Holidays.Will be back next year with an exciting giveaway.


Ruth H. said…
This looks amazing. Do you have any left, because I will be right over to taste it! I love the way you adapted the recipe to work for you, and how you mixed your flavors so nicely. Great job on the challenge!
A great take on the original recipe! That wreath must be delightful.

Happy holidays!


Anonymous said…
Very healthy!!.What is whole wheat pastry flour?
Yasmeen said…
Whole wheat pastry flour is very fine ground whole wheat flour ideal for baking,has more fiber and nutrients than the all-purpose flour.
Unknown said…
I love what you've done, and frankly, the topping on your stollen is a lot more inviting than gloomy powdered sugar.
Simona said…
Wow, very nice Stollen! I like the dark color and of course, the chocolate on top.
Priya Suresh said…
Wat a beautiful looking wreath bread,awesome!
Deepak udae said…
Wow!Its looking so that my mouth is watering just looking the dish.Nice recipe yaar.I wish if i could test it.Good job!
john@psa tests
Taylor said…
Looks sensational!
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