If you are feeling like treating yourself to a tasty specialty bread that you can make from scratch, I recommend trying this delicious offering of Viennoise au Chocolat.
Vienna bread is an enriched and slightly sweet bread, shaped like a short baguette. “Enriched” means it is made with milk, eggs, and butter. Here’s an interesting tidbit of info: the difference between French bread and Viennese bread is that the first is delicate and lighter and the latter is coarse and chewy.
Making Viennoise au Chocolat
I had never made this type of bread before, so I challenged myself to make it fully by hand, without a mixer, or without the aid of my bread machine (love that thing).
The first instruction had me intrigued because I have so much respect for yeast and I love making yeast breads. It said to heat the milk and cream in a small saucepan on low to 110 degrees f, and to use caution because if it was too hot, it would kill the yeast when mixed together.
I definitely didn’t want to kill my yeast, so I set the flame on super low to slowly bring the milk mixture up to temp while prepping other ingredients. I utilized my kitchen thermometer to check the temp and it was quickly up to 120 degrees f!
Flicking off the heat, I removed the milk from the burner and allowed it to cool back down to 110f before mixing in the yeast. So, my advice is to watch the milk mixture closely and don’t walk away to do too many other things, or you’ll spend extra time waiting for it to cool to move on to the next step.
One tip on the amount of yeast - I used the Rapid Rise type of yeast that comes in individual packets. This recipe calls for one tablespoon of active dry yeast. One of the packets is just scant of a full tablespoon, and it worked out just fine.
Sometimes, I can be overly cautious about the yeast amount (again - mad respect for the results it yields!) so I crossed my fingers that it would be enough, rather than snipping open another packet to use just a little from it. The bread rose as expected with one packet of yeast.
Once I had all of my dough ingredients mixed together, I kneaded the dough until it was mostly pulled together. It took me a while to get all the flaky bits to stick and I used a couple of extra splashes of milk to get it into a decent-looking dough ball. I covered the bowl with a towel and set it on the stovetop with the microwave oven light on to provide it with just that extra bit of warmth for rising.
The rising went well! I’m always happy to see that happen successfully. I sprinkled in the chocolate chips and had to work a bit to get them all tucked in, not wanting to over-knead the dough.
I formed it into a long, evenly shaped log and sliced it into seven pieces. I was shooting for six and one got really too large, so I separated it into an additional loaf. In retrospect, I would try to evenly divide it into eight pieces. You can decide how large you would like the individual loaves and that will determine how many you can make from the large dough ball.
Side note: you can make this without chocolate chips if you choose. I was thinking it could be really nice with some golden raisins instead. I’ll try that next time.
Once you make your mini loaves, you’ll set them aside for a second rise. During this time you can preheat your oven to 475 degrees f. For the egg wash, I didn’t have a brush to use, so I dipped my clean fingers into the bowl and gently worked the wash around the surface of each loaf.
The wash will help the exterior of the loaves turn brown, so keep that in mind when determining the length of time to bake them. The recipe calls for ten to twelve minutes and I wished I had checked mine at ten minutes. I pulled them out just over eleven minutes and the tops were quite brown by then. Gorgeous, browned Viennoise au Chocolate.
They made the house smell incredible as they baked! When they came out of the oven, I didn’t wait long at all before I had one sliced open and slathered down the middle with ghee.
I took my first bite and realized…there’s no salt in this recipe. The dough was very clean tasting, soft and fresh, and I wanted a bit of salt to support the sweetness of the chocolate chips. So, I pulled out my Himalayan Pink Salt grinder and ground some bits of salt on top of my gooey, warm, sweet chocolate bread. That was a winning taste combo.
The final takeaway is that I really enjoyed making this recipe and I would try it again. I was slightly intimidated, as I usually am when there is a two-part rising process. Next time, I will likely employ my bread machine’s kneading function to get a nice, even dough ball.
When I was recently scrolling through the Plum Deluxe recipe collection, I came across two other similar types of bread that I will definitely try in the near future. The first is the Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Bread, which offers the recipe in hand-made and bread machine options. The bread type in this recipe is brioche, which is another beautiful, enriched bread with a high butter content.
You might also consider the White Chocolate Bread. It's a crusty white bread with chunks of white chocolate dotted through it, making a velvety, sweet treat. It would be a lovely and unique addition to a brunch.
And, what could be a more delightful beverage to pair with this delightfully satisfying bread than hot tea or hot cocoa?
If you are a cocoa lover, this article offers three amazingly rich options for chocolate lovers, ranging from a classic kid-friendly cocoa mix to a more indulgent, night-in cocoa to a this-is-drinkable-dessert cocoa in the traditional Venetian style.
And, of course, we can’t forget the tea! I recommend the Sweet Spot Butterscotch black tea. With hints of chocolate and vanilla, it's a warming dessert tea without being over-the-top; think butterscotch blondie tea with no sugar. Enjoy it with a splash of milk or cream. You might even choose to replace the chocolate chips in this recipe with butterscotch chips!
Viennoise au Chocolat Recipe
- 1/3 cup + 2 Tablespoons milk
- 1/3 cup + 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
- Scant 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- Scant 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup regular or mini chocolate chips (semi-sweet)
- 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
In a small saucepan over medium-low, heat the milk and cream to 110°F. Be careful not to overheat it or it will kill the yeast. If you accidentally overheat, let cool to 110°F. Add the yeast and mix to combine.
In a large bowl whisk together the melted butter and sugar, then beat in the egg and the milk-yeast mixture until smooth. Add the flour in a couple additions, mixing well after each. Knead the dough until it’s smooth and soft and all the flour is absorbed.
Cover the bowl with a towel and let the dough rise in a warm spot, about 1 to 1.5 hours or until nearly doubled in size.
Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the dough and knead the chocolate chips into the dough until they are evenly distributed.
Divide the dough into 4, 6 or 8 equal pieces. You can roll it into a long log and cut it with a sharp knife.
Shape the pieces of dough into small oblong loaves with slightly tapered ends. Don’t make the centers too fat or they won’t bake through evenly.
Arrange the mini loaves on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, cover with a towel and let them rise at room temperature for another 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 475°F, with the rack in the center of the oven.
Uncover the loaves, brush the tops and sides with the egg wash, then use a sharp knife to cut a few diagonal slashes across the top. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes for smaller loaves, or 12 to 14 minutes for larger loaves, or until dark golden brown (the visual cues are more important than exact times, as ovens can vary).
Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Store remaining bread in an airtight container.
(Recipe from https://mission-food.com/viennoise-au-chocolat/)