Feeling inspired by the Great British Bake-Off? Satisfy your cravings for something sweet with Candice Brown’s delicious and wonderfully cost chocolate and ginger plait recipe, taken from her debut cookbook Comfort.
“It’s safe to say I have had a love-hate relationship with chocolate bread but this bake, rich in cinnamon and chocolate with the fieriness of ginger has restored by faith in it. My grandad loved crystallised ginger and we used to laugh as he’d roll a piece around his mouth, pulling faces as the heat set in. He would’ve loved this bread.” – Candice Brown.
500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp salt
2 tsp golden caster sugar
275ml whole milk
50g unsalted butter
1 tsp ground ginger
7g instant yeast
100g unsalted butter, softened
100g light soft brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
75g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
75g chopped crystallised stem ginger
25g unsalted butter, melted
20g demerara sugar
1. Sift the flour into the large bowl of a free-standing electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix through the salt and sugar.
2. In a small saucepan gently warm the milk with the butter and ginger until the butter has melted and the mix is lukewarm.
3. Make a well in the flour. Add the yeast to the well, then pour in the warm milk followed by the egg. Mix on a low speed for 4–5 minutes until you have a smooth, stretchy dough. (Alternatively, make the dough by hand and knead it for 9–10 minutes.)
4. Shape the dough into a ball, then put it into a lightly greased large bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to rise in a warm place for about 1½ hours until at least doubled in size.
5. Turn out the dough on to a lightly floured work surface and fold it over on itself to knock out the air. Roll out the dough to a 25 x 45cm rectangle.
6. Mash the softened butter, brown sugar, ginger and cinnamon in a bowl. Spread this evenly over the dough. Scatter the chopped chocolate and ginger evenly over the top.
7. Taking one of the long edges, start to roll up the dough tightly. Make sure the first roll is tucked under. Now use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to a rectangle about 10 x 45cm. Be gentle to prevent breaking the dough. Cut the dough lengthways into three equal strips, leaving a 2cm section at one end intact so the strips are joined there. Starting at the joined end, plait the three strips together, keeping the plait tight and trying not to let the open sides turn out. Squeeze the ends together and tuck them under the plait. Brush the plait with the melted butter and sprinkle on the demerara sugar.
8. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and lightly dust with flour. Gently lift the plait on to the sheet. Cover lightly with a tea towel and leave to rise for about 30 minutes.
9. Preheat the oven to 160°C fan (180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4).
10. Bake the plait for 45–60 minutes until it is golden brown and risen; if you tip it over and tap the base it should sound hollow.
Extracted from Comfort by Candice Brown
(Ebury Press, £20)
Photography by Ellis Parrinder