The sweet loaf

Choco­late and or­ange mon­key bread

The Guardian - Feast - - News -

Prep 10 min

Cook 3 hr (inc prov­ing)

Serves 12

200ml whole milk 90ml wa­ter

40g caster sugar 60g un­salted but­ter, plus 10g ex­tra, melted, for greas­ing

1 tsp vanilla essence 7g sa­chet fas­tac­tion dried yeast 280g strong white bread flour 280g plain flour, plus a lit­tle ex­tra for dust­ing

¾ tsp salt 100g dark choco­late chips

For the sauce 135g un­salted but­ter

120g soft dark brown sugar Finely grated zest of 1 large or­ange 80g golden syrup 2 tbsp Dutch pro­cessed co­coa pow­der

Mon­key bread is an en­riched sweet bread made with lots of pieces of soft, sugar- or syrup-coated dough all stuck to­gether, and you eat it by tear­ing apart the warm, gooey, soft bread, much as a mon­key might. If you don’t have a large bundt tin, im­pro­vise with a 28cm cake tin with an up­turned bowl in the mid­dle, to cre­ate a hole in the cen­tre. The loaf will keep for two days, but it needs re­heat­ing be­fore serv­ing.

Gently warm the first five in­gre­di­ents in a small saucepan on a medium heat for a minute or two, un­til the but­ter is al­most melted and the milk is tepid – take care not to over­heat the mix­ture, oth­er­wise you’ll kill the yeast. Turn off the heat, then whisk in the yeast and set aside for 15 min­utes, un­til slightly frothy.

Put both flours and the salt in the bowl of a free-stand­ing mixer with the dough hook in place, add the yeast mix­ture and knead for three min­utes; start on the low­est speed and in­crease to medium, paus­ing every now and then to scrape down the sides so you in­cor­po­rate all the flour. Trans­fer the dough to a lightly floured work sur­face and spread it out slightly. Scat­ter the choco­late chips in the mid­dle, fold over the dough to en­close them, then knead for five min­utes by hand, un­til it is springy and soft, and the choco­late is evenly dis­trib­uted. Put the dough in a large floured bowl, cover with cling-film and leave in a warm spot for 45 min­utes, un­til it has al­most dou­bled in size. Mean­while, brush the in­side of a large bundt tin (24cm in di­am­e­ter at the top, 20cm at the bot­tom, 8cm high) with the melted but­ter.

For the sauce, put all the in­gre­di­ents in a small saucepan on a medium heat and cook, stir­ring fre­quently, for three to four min­utes, un­til the but­ter, sugar and syrup have melted to­gether into a thick, rich sauce.

Roll the dough into a long sausage, then cut into 24 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, then drop them one by one into the sauce, un­til roughly coated all over. Put the coated balls of dough in the bundt tin, build­ing up the lay­ers in the tin as you go. When all the dough is coated, pour any re­main­ing sauce over the con­tents of the tin, then cover and leave in a warm spot for 45 min­utes, un­til nearly dou­bled in size again.

Heat the oven to 160C/320F/gas 2½. Bake the mon­key bread for 35 min­utes, un­til well risen and golden brown, then leave to cool for five min­utes. Put a large plate on top of the tin and in­vert the bread on to the plate. Lift off the tin, leave the bread to rest and cool for 10 min­utes more, then serve warm.

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