Candice Brown’s ginger and chocolate plait is a beautiful bake that is perfect for sharing. The ginger, chocolate and cinnamon are rich and warm flavours that go so well with a cup of coffee. This lovely treat will take you around 2 hours to make, so make sure you plan ahead so you have enough time if you’re serving it for a special occasion like a family brunch or a afternoon tea party with friends. This ginger and chocolate plait will serve 10 people, but you can double up the recipe and make two plaits or a longer one if you need to feed more people. The kids will especially love this recipe as they’ll basically be eating chocolate bread – two great foods combined in one big treat! Candice Brown says: ‘It’s safe to say I have had a love/hate relationship with chocolate bread but this, rich in chocolate and cinnamon, with the fieriness of ginger, has restored my faith in chocolate loveliness in all its plaited splendour. My Granddad 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.’
- 500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1tsp salt
- 2tsp golden caster sugar
- 275ml whole milk
- 50g unsalted butter
- 1tsp ground ginger
- 7g instant yeast
- 1 egg
- For the filling:
- 100g unsalted butter, softened
- 100g light soft brown sugar
- 1tsp ground ginger
- ½tsp ground cinnamon
- 75g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
- 75g chopped crystallised stem ginger
- 25g unsalted butter, melted
- 20g demerara sugar
Sift the flour into the large bowl of a free-standing electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix through the salt and sugar.
In a small saucepan, gently warm the milk with the butter and ginger until the butter has melted and the mix is lukewarm.
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.)
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.
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 25cm x 45cm rectangle.
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.
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 10cm 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.
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.
Preheat the oven to 180C, 160C fan, gas 4. Bake the plait for 45-60 mins until it is golden brown and risen; if you tip it over and tap the base it should sound hollow.