I've been thinking about making chocolate bread all year, ever since my triumph in the sandwich making contest (for which a lot of the credit must go to this delicious stuff). The November edition of We Should Cocoa - in which the theme is bread - has finally made me do it. If you fancy the idea of a dense, chewy, chocolate-studded bagel for brunch tomorrow, here's how to make it happen.
Triple Chocolate Bagels
Credit where it's due: these chewy, chocolatey bagels owe something to Dan Lepard's recipe and something to my own ingenuity. (And something to Nazima at Franglais Kitchen, this month's We Should Cocoa host. Thanks too to Chele and Choclette for their continued WSC inspiration.)
They taste like they've got buckets of chocolate in them but it's really quite a modest amount. Use the very best cocoa you can - once you've tried the good stuff, the supermarket variety seems very bland. If you are using the latter, I'd bump the quantity up to six tablespoons and maybe increase the water content accordingly. See how you go. These take about two and a half hours to make, from getting the flour out to sitting down with one in your hand.
500g strong white flour
4 Tbsp good quality cocoa - I used this one (you can buy it in 5kg sacks, imagine!)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp dried yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
350ml warm water
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
100g chocolate - a mixture of dark, milk and white - chopped
Put all the dry ingredients - except the chocolate - in a large bowl and mix well, then tip in the water and vinegar. Mix it to a dough, then cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave it to sit for 10 minutes.
Tip the dough onto a lightly oiled bench and scatter the chocolate over the top, then fold the dough in on itself, one corner at a time. Cover with the upturned bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. Repeat this twice more, then wash and dry the bowl before greasing it with a little oil. Return the dough to it, cover with plastic and let rise for an hour. Don't clean the work surface, you'll need it later.
Tip the dough out onto the bench and cut into 10 pieces, each weighing about 80g. Roll each one into a ball and place on the greased bench. Cover with a teatowel and let rest again for 15 minutes after you shaped the last one.
At this point, heat the oven to 220C and line a baking tray with nonstick paper. Get a large pot of water, sweetened with a few generous tablespoons of golden syrup, boiling on the stove.
When the proto-bagels have had their 15 minute rest, take the first one you rolled into a ball and poke your finger through it. Stretch it out with your fingers - the hole should be about 2cm - then drop it into the boiling water. Poach it for 30 seconds on each side, then remove with a slotted spoon and place on the waiting tray. Repeat this process with the remaining bagels. You can poach up to three at a time, depending on the size of the pot, but any more than that gets unwieldy. The chocolate might get a bit sticky, but don't worry about it.
When all the bagels are poached, bake them for 25 minutes. Let cool on a rack, then split and eat with lashings of cold cream cheese and good jam. These bagels also freeze and toast well, though I suggest slicing them in half before freezing to make thawing easier.
Have a great weekend, everyone. I'm going to spend mine coaxing my tomato plants to grow and thinking about Christmas...