- 3 tbsp warm water
- 3 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tbsp fast-action dried yeast
- 150 ml milk, warmed
- 3 large eggs
- 50 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 440 g plain flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp double cream
- For the filling:
- 100 g Lindt Excellence 70% Cocoa Dark Chocolate, chopped
- 40g walnut halves (optional)
- 65 g caster sugar
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 65 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
Grease and line two 23x13 cm / 9x5-inch (2L) loaf tins with greaseproof paper - ensuring there is enough overhang over the sides.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, 1 tsp of sugar and the yeast. Leave to stand for 8 to 10 minutes or until foamy.
Add the milk, 2 eggs and melted butter.
In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, remaining sugar and salt.
Add to the egg mix and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed for 3 to 4 minutes.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix on medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic (the dough should be tacky but not sticky).
Transfer to a greased bowl; cover with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in volume.
Meanwhile making the filling: Put the chopped chocolate into a food processor with the walnuts (if using), sugar and cinnamon. Pulse until coarsely ground.
Tip into a bowl and stir in the softened butter until well combined.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the rested dough to a 38x28 cm / 15x11-inch rectangle.
Using a spatula or the back of a spoon, spread the cinnamon chocolate filling over the dough in an even layer, taking care to leave a 1 cm / ½ inch border around the edges.
Starting at one long end, roll up tightly into a log. Cut in half lengthwise to make two logs. Working with one log at a time, cut in half lengthwise and arrange the halves, cut side up, next to each other. Pinch the top ends together, then twist the halves tightly around each other to create a decorative braid (try to keep the cut side facing out to expose layers of the dough and filling to create a decorative swirl effect). Repeat with the second log.
Transfer each braid to the prepared loaf tins. Cover and leave to rise for 35 to 40 minutes or until level with the top of the tin. Preheat the oven to 190°C/170 Fan.
Whisk the remaining egg with the cream and brush generously over loaves (this will make them shiny).
Bake in the centre of the oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown (ideally check with a cooking thermometer that the internal temperature is 90°C when inserted into the centre).
Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
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