So. Remember my Bake The Bake-Off Challenge? It’s still going, just very slowly.
I actually made this before Christmas, when I was getting seriously obsessed with the Candy Cane chocolate orange bread from Morrisons. At one point Garry and I were going through one a night, and considering they’re as long as my arm that’s not a good thing. When it came to giving this plait a go, I thought trying to replicate that would be a good idea.
This is an adapted version of this recipe. I am aware that making an eight-strand plait looks and seems terrifying. I was dreading the actual plaiting bit. It’s not scary at all. It’s certainly not difficult. I’ve tried to make it as simple as possible when I’m explaining how to plait it, but leave a comment here/on Facebook or tweet/email me if you get stuck.
- 500g strong white flour (And extra for dusting)
- A 7g sachet of fast action dried yeast
- 45g cocoa powder
- 10g of salt
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Fry Light
- A bag of chocolate chips
- The finely grated zest of 2 large oranges
- 1 egg
- Place the flour in a large bowl. Put the yeast on one side of the bowl and the salt on the other, not letting them touch at first. Stir everything together evenly and then split into two bowls
- In one bowl, add the cocoa powder and mix to combine evenly.. Add a splash of oil and 120ml of warm water to the flour and mix by hand. Then add another 50ml of warm water. Turn out onto a work surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth. Spray the bowl with Fry Light, put the dough back in and cover with clingfilm. Leave to rise in a warm place for an hour
- Repeat a similar process with the other bowl of flour, using the orange zest instead of cocoa powder. Mix it in well, add 120ml of water and a splash of oil, combine to make a dough then add another 50ml of water. Turn the dough out, knead for 10 minutes, put back in a bowl sprayed with Fry Light and cover with clingfilm. Leave to rise for an hour
- When the doughs have risen, turn them out one at a time onto a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly to knock it back. Add a tablespoon of chocolate chips to the chocolate dough with each knead until they’re all used up
- Shape each dough into a ball. Take the chocolate ball and half it. Then split each half in half, so you have four small balls of chocolate dough
- Repeat with the orange dough until you have eight small balls of dough, four chocolate and four orange.
- Roll out each piece until it’s about 40cm long. Make a fan with the strands, alternating between chocolate and orange. but all touching one point in the top-centre of your work surface. Push hard on this point so the dough sticks to the work surface
- Mentally number the strands of dough 1-8 from left to right. When plaiting, after each step the strands will re-number
- Step 1: Place 8 over 5
- Step 2: Place 2 under 3 and over 8
- Step 3: Place 1 over 4
- Step 4: Place 7 under 6 and over 1
- Tuck both ends of the loaf underneath and, if necessary, use your hands to slice away any messy edges
- Leave on a baking tray to prove for another hour
- Heat the oven to 200C and brush the loaf with an egg way
- Preheat the oven to 200C/375F/Gas 5.
- Brush the loaf with the beaten egg wash and bake in the oven for 20-25mins.
- hoped. I was loathed to put orange juice in the bread mix as I thought it would kill the yeast, but I think an orange juice might be what’s needed. If you make this, finish it off by juicing a very large orange and simmering that juice with a tablespoon or two of sugar in a pan over a medium heat until it’s thick and sticky before brushing that on over the bread when it comes out of the oven. I think that’ll really help with the orange flavour.