Easter is a time of celebration and togetherness, and what better way to mark the occasion than with a freshly baked sweet Easter bread? The aroma of this chocolatey treat, with a hint of lemon, wafts through the house, filling it with warmth and joy. So gather your family and get ready to indulge in this delightful and nostalgic treat that is sure to make your Easter morning all the more special.
- 400 grams [2.5 cups] all-purpose flour
- 4-5 heaped tablespoons of caster [US: granulated] sugar
- 0.5 teaspoon of salt
- 2½ teaspoons [7g] or 1 x 7g/¼oz sachet fast-action dried yeast
- 70 millilitres milk
- 150 grams [½ cup] plain yoghurt, full fat preferred
- 1 egg + 1 egg for the egg-wash before baking
- grated zest of half a lemon
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 50 grams [3.5 tablespoons] soft unsalted butter
- 30 grams [1 heaped tablespoon] of sultanas (optional)
For the chocolate part
- 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder mixed into a paste with 1-2 tablespoons of water
You will need a 2lb/900g loaf tin — dimensions vary, approximate measurements of 24 x 12 x 8cm / 9.5 x 5 x 3in.
- To prepare the dough, sift the flour into a large bowl and mix it with the sugar, salt, and dried yeast. It’s important to note that placing the yeast and salt directly together can lessen the effectiveness of the yeast, so it’s best to keep them separate if possible.
- In a jug combine the 70ml milk, 1 beaten egg, ½ cup yoghurt, zest of ½ lemon , 1 tsp of vanilla extract and pour onto the dry mixture prepared earlier.
- Start kneading the dough, when well combined, gradually work in the soft butter. Knead until becomes smooth and springy, work in the sultanas towards the end if using.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with food wrap or a shower cap, and proof at room temperature until it doubles in size, this will take about 1.5 hours.
- Tip the proofed dough onto a flat surface lightly dusted with flour, knead lightly then divide into two equal pieces. Mix the 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder with 1-2 tablespoons of water to create a paste and knead it into one half of the dough until combined. If necessary, add a few drops or spoonful of extra milk to the mixture to retain the dough’s softness.
- Divide both the plain and chocolate dough further into two pieces each, now you have two plain and two chocolate dough balls.
- Cover the dough balls with a tea towel and leave to rest for 10 minutes or so before shaping
- Roll out the first plain dough thinly (~3-4mm/0.15in) into a rectangle shape, then roll out a chocolate dough into the same shape and thickness and place it on top of the plain dough.
- Roll the two sheets together into a scroll starting from the longer side of the rectangle shape, similar to a swiss roll. Repeat the process with the other two dough balls, so you have two rolled dough strands roughly 40cm/16in long.
- Line the bottom of a 2lb/900g loaf tin/pan and lightly grease the sides
- Twist the two dough scrolls together and place them in the prepared pan.
- Cover and proof in the pan for another 40 minutes
- Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F
- Brush the risen dough with an egg beaten with a tablespoon of water or milk and let it rest for a further 15 minutes, then brush with this egg wash the second time.
- Bake in a preheated 180°C/350°F fan-forced oven for about 30-35 minutes. After the first 10-15 minutes, when the top is nicely browned, cover it with foil and continue baking. Baking time is approximate and may vary depending on the oven.
- When done, remove from the oven and cover with a clean kitchen towel for 5 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool before slicing into it.
Enjoy your delicious Easter bread!