In true Coffee Muffins style I yet again forgot about the posting date for the Fresh from the Oven challenge. However at least this time I remembered to make it before deadline day! This months challenge was hosted by Chele.

Chocolate Bun

I have to admit I was a bit hesitant to make these as I go through phases where chocolate really bores me. However thankfully I went through the opposite phase this month – loving chocolate!

Chocolate Buns

~ makes 24 (I quartered the recipe below and only made 6)

  • 250g full fat milk (250ml – weighing is more accurate, I also used semi-skimmed)
  • 15g yeast (fresh if possible)
  • 500g strong bread flour
  • 60g unsalted butter at room temp
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 10g salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 25g good quality cocoa powder
  • 200g chocolate chips, milk, plain, white or a mixture
  • 50g of pecans or other chopped nuts, optional
  • 2 eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt for an egg wash
  • Nutella or leftover chocolate ganache

Pour the milk into a pan and warm gently until it is about body temp – it should feel neither warm nor cold when you dip your finger into it. If not using fresh yeast then add the yeast to the milk now, and leave for 10 minutes till the yeast begins to froth.

To mix by hand, rub the yeast (if using fresh yeast) into the flour using your fingertips as if making a crumble. Rub in the butter, then add the sugar and salt, then the eggs, milk and cocoa powder. With the help of a plastic scraper, lift the dough onto your work surface. Even though the dough will feel quite soft and moist (and look like thick, sticky porridge) do not add any flour to the work surface.

Begin to work the dough, slide your fingers underneath it like a pair of forks, with your thumbs on top, swing it upwards and then slap it back down, away from you, onto your work surface (it will almost be too sticky to lift at this point). Stretch the front of the dough towards you, then lift it back over itself in an arc (to trap the air), still stretching it forwards and sideways and tucking it in around the edges. Keep repeating this sequence.

As you work the dough it will start to come together and feel alive and elastic in your hands. Keep on working until it comes cleanly away from the work surface, begins to look silky and feels smooth, firm but wobbly and responsive.

Now you can flour your work surface lightly, place the dough on top and form it into a ball by folding each edge in turn into the centre of the dough and pressing down well with your thumb, rotating the ball as you go. Turn the whole ball over and stretch and tuck the edges under. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rest for 45 mins in a draught free place.

Once the 45 mins are up, use the rounded end of a scraper, transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and, with a rolling pin, gently flatten it into a rough rectangle. Spread the chocolate ganache evenly over the dough and sprinkle on the chocolate chips and pecans. Starting with one of the longer edges, roll the dough up until it resembles a Swiss roll. Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into 2cm slices and place them on their sides on a baking tray. Glaze with a little egg wash and leave to prove for 1 1/4 – 1 3/4 hours until the buns have roughly doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 250C.

Glaze again and put into the preheated oven, turning the heat down to 180C. Bake for 10-15 mins. As the chocolate dough is quite dark it can be difficult to tell when the buns are properly baked, and you need to take care not to under bake them – the best way to tell when they are ready is to lift one gently with a spatula and check that it is firm underneath.

If you don’t want to bake the buns all in one go, you can freeze some. When they are cut, just before proving, put them on a small tray in the freezer and when they are hard put them into a freezer bag. To use them, take them out, leave to prove overnight and bake in the same way.

I always love making bread but it is so much effort that it’s hard to motivate, but this was worth it in the end!

Chocolate Buns