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Chocolate Orange Pull-Apart Bread

24 comments /
One of my favorite types of bread is rye-pumpernickel swirl.  My husband, on the other hand, could do without it.  I think his major beef with it is that it looks like chocolate...yet it isn't chocolate.  Perhaps if he didn't grab a loaf from the shelf expecting it to be suitable for satisfying a sweet tooth he'd think differently.  Oh well.  I'm happy to be the sole being in the house who likes it.  But in an attempt to make him smile, I decided to make a loaf of bread that not only looks like it would be chocolate...but actually tastes like chocolate, too.  And I took it even further into the spirit of the season by adding some orange to the mix.  Am I the only one who only eats chocolate oranges this time of year?  I don't know, I just associate them with cold weather.  Probably because growing up, I always (and only) got them in my stocking on Christmas morning.  So really, I don't even think of them until I can see my breath outside.  But, I digress.  

This loaf is deeply rich and chocolaty and permeated by the scent of oranges.  A little goes a long way.  Pull off a slice or two to satisfy that craving for dessert after a meal and wash it down with a cold glass of milk.  Or maybe rev up your morning with a fantastic dose of caffeine and chocolate.  Either way, this loaf seems festive to me; a reminder of the season.
Chocolate Orange Pull-Apart Bread
adapted from Chocolate Loaf in Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros
yield: 1 loaf 

bread:
1 (½ oz.) cake fresh yeast
2 Tbs. superfine sugar
1¼ c. milk
3⅓ c. bread flour
⅓ c. unsweetened cocoa powder
3 Tbs. (1½ oz.) butter, melted
pinch of salt

filling:
2 oz. butter, melted
1 c. vanilla sugar
finely grated zest of 2 oranges
Crumble the yeast into a large bowl and add the sugar.  Gently heat the milk on the stove top or in the microwave until lukewarm (~110° F).  Add to the yeast.  Stir through and leave for 10 minutes or so, until the surface starts to turn spongy.  Add the flour, cocoa powder, butter and salt; mix well.  Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for ~6 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic with no lumps.   Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap.  Set in a warm place and let rise until about doubled in size and puffy, ~1½-2 hours.

Punch dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.  *Roll out into a rectangle, ~12" x 18".  Brush with melted butter.  Combine vanilla sugar and orange zest, then sprinkle evenly over the buttered surface.  Cut into six by six sections.  Stack each row of cut dough and then layer into a  loaf pan that has been greased.  Cover with a clean towel or plastic and set aside to let rise in a warm place until it puffs and rises above the top of the pan, ~30-60 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350° F during last 15 minutes of rise time.  Remove plastic/towel and slide into oven.  Bake for ~25-35 minutes, or until done.  Let cool for a few minutes on a wire rack, them carefully turn out onto a plate/board, immediately flipping back over onto a serving plate.  Tastes best warm or at room temperature.
*At this point, you could make a regular chocolate loaf by punching down and forming the bread to fit into a loaf pan.  Butter and flour a loaf pan and drop in the dough.  Cover and let rise until it puffs over the edge, ~30-60 minutes.  Bake in a preheated 350° F oven for ~25-30 minutes, or until top is firm and bread sounds hollow when tapped on bottom.  Tip out onto a rack to cool.
Many people will ask if this can sit in the fridge overnight and be baked the next day.  To that I'm going to recommend refrigerating before adding the filling, stacking, and putting in the pan.  In other words, if you want to refrigerate it, do so immediately after punching down the first rise.  Let it come back to room temperature and them continue on with the rolling, filling, stacking, etc.  Since a lot of people asked me that after I made the Cinnamon-Sugar Pull-Apart Ricotta Bread, I thought I'd try it this time.  A problem arises if you refrigerate it after brushing on the butter and adding the sugar.  When you pull it out of the fridge in the morning, it is sitting in a pool of syrup.  I tried transferring the dough to a different pan, but by the time it was brought back up to room temperature and risen, it was sitting in another pool of syrup.  I went ahead and baked it this way, but you'll notice in the pictures that all of the "good goo" is at the bottom half of the loaf, leaving the top a bit dry.  If  you bake the loaf without refrigerating (again, that's what I recommend), that wonderful filling will stay evenly distributed.
I am sharing this post with:
IHCC theme: Attitude of Gratitude
Yeastspotting: guest host Hefe und Mehr
IHCC Tessa Kiros Button BYOB-badge wanderfood-badge crazy sweet tuesday

24 comments

  1. That bread is gorgeous! I love pull-apart bread and the fact that it's chocolate? Awesomesauce! Thanks for sharing on Crazy Sweet Tuesday! :)

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  2. I saw this recipe too but your pictures made me stop and think maybe I should look again.. your pictures make me want to eat an entire loaf of this bread!

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  3. Oh yes!  I love those chocolate oranges, although it's been years since I've enjoyed one.  I think this bread looks fantastic and I know I would love the chocolate/orange combo. 

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  4. What a gorgeous bread! It looks ever so tempting.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  5. LivinginthekitchenwithpuppiesDecember 22, 2011 at 9:35 AM

    I love it! Great idea to make pull-apart bread out of the recipe. I was given oranges in my stocking as well - and no chocolate. Damned hippies. ;-)

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  6. This bread is perfect for the holidays and looks amazingly decadent. A bread to be grateful for. ;-)

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  7. Chocolate and Orange - that's killing me! I want to try this immediately, it looks so gorgeous.  

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  8. OMG - Heather this loaf looks devineeeeeeeeeee
    You out did yourself this time!! :):)

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  9. Oh my.... I love the rusticness (is that a word?) of this bread, it looks like once you start pullin' from it theres not going to be much left :) I too like the dark breads, theres a famous bakery here in Los Angeles, La Brea Bakery and they make an awesome dark choc/cherry bread for the holidays, it's awesome..
    Take care...

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  10. what a fun holiday bread...and as always...it is gorgeous. every day i wish i were your next door neighbor...today is no different

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  11. This is perfect for the holiday season. What a gorgeous looking bread!

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  12. The Café Sucré FarineDecember 22, 2011 at 9:35 AM

    Such a lovely, fancy bread! I could just see myself pulling off one slice after another after another............... :)

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  13. So...how should I put this. I've actually never had a chocolate orange! Seriously! Sacrilege.  This looks amazing!  I want to wake up to this tomorrow morning.

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  14. wow! qué original y chocolatoso, como me gusta, muero de hambre ahorita, así que .... mmm...!!!
    chocolate con naranja me gusta también a mí mucho la combinación, con mandarina , es delicioso!!
    Saludos

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  15. Beautifully done,irresistible bread..

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  16. Chocolate and orange pair perfectly together, yummy!!

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving !!

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  17. All those flaky layers are so tempting looking.  We all got those oranges in our stockings, too!

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  18. josé manuel martín fernándezDecember 22, 2011 at 9:35 AM

    Genial, se ve fantastico

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  19. Oh no...I'm doomed to make this. ;)

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  20. Oh yum!  Chocolate and orange- one of my favorite combinations.

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  21. like chocolate...yet it isn't
    I understand this, having been skunked myself once or twice (or more--I expect everything to be chocolate, and why not?).
    "Good goo" is also something I understand and love but never had a name for.  I'm stealing your terminology!

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  22. That's one scrumptious looking bread there. Awesome combo.

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  23. I've got visions of this bread dancing in my head!

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