Braided Bread – [Chocolate Hazelnut Bread]

A couple weekends ago I saw a jar of Chocolate Hazelnut Spread on sale at the grocery store, and thought it would be a great item to have in my pantry to bake with.  I ended up baking a braided wreath bread filled with this delicious spread!  The dough I used was from a recent Finnish Bread recipe I tried on Food52.com that I absolutely loved and is now my go-to sweet bread recipe.  This bread looks much more difficult to make than it actually is!

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RECIPE (One Bread Wreath)

DOUGH:
2.5 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 + 1/8 cup milk, warm (can use nut milk too)
3 – 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp

CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT FILLING:
~8 tablespoons
MAPLE SYRUP GLAZE:
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 tablespoon water


SPRINKLE:
active yeast into your mixer bowl and pour in warm milk – stir and let it sit for 5 – 10 minutes to activate.

MAKE THE DOUGH: I adapted a dough recipe from Food52.com.  Cream the sugar and butter first in a separate medium sized bowl.  Beat 2 eggs separately and then add to the creamed butter and sugar, and mix well.  Add the egg/sugar/butter mixture to the milk and yeast mixture bowl and mix until combined. Add the flour one cup at a time – 3 cups total.  Continue to add flour until the dough feels smooth. It should be soft and satiny to the touch, with no stickiness. Place the dough into a large, buttered bowl. Let it rise until it’s doubled in bulk, about two hours.

ROLL & FILL THE DOUGH: Punch the rise dough down and roll it out to a large 12 x 18 inch rectangle.  Spread the chocolate hazelnut spread evenly over the rectangle, leaving about 1/2″ from the edges bare of the mixture.  Roll the dough into a log – keeping it tight as you roll.

CUT & TWIST THE DOUGH: I leveraged pictures & instructions from Half Baked Harvest on how to cut & twist the dough. Using a sharp knife, cut the log of dough in half lengthwise, leaving a small portion at one end intact. Turn the halves to expose the filling. Cross the dough ropes over each other, repeating the twisting until you have a long, twisted dough.  Then to make the wreath, wrap the twisted dough into a circle and tuck one end under the wreath so that it holds together.  If you’re a visual person here’s a link to another recipe showing how to do this.

PROOF THE WREATH: By covering the formed wreath and letting it rise until it becomes noticeably puffy, about 30 – 45 minutes.

MAPLE SYRUP GLAZE: Mix together maple syrup and water with a brush.

PREHEAT OVEN: 350 degrees.

BRUSH: the wreath with a thin coat of the maple syrup glaze.

BAKE: for 30 – 35 minutes or until golden brown.

WALNUT MIXTURE: pulse walnuts, maple syrup and a pinch of salt in a food processor or blender and sprinkle over Chocolate Hazelnut Bread!

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