Leopard Milk Bread
I was blown away when I first saw the pictures of Leopard Bread on Pinterest. There was something about it that made me wanted to try it out. The first time I tried, my stand mixer stopped working while making the dough. I had been using it for over 11 years and probably it was time to replace it. So I bought my new Kitchen aid Stand Mixer online and had to wait for a little longer to get it delivered.
But I always knew that the first thing that I wanted to bake using my mixer was the "Leopard Bread". To me baking bread is a stress buster, where I am mentally and physically occupied and clearly eagerly look forward to the end result:)
Overall it was fun to bake, I involved my kids who helped me make the rolls. They were also pretty excited to cut the first slice to see the different spots:)
This breads texture is satisfying and it felt great to enjoy fresh home baked bread:). It definitely takes time to build in each layer(ie., roll). I somehow felt getting the cocoa powder paste mixed into the dough was the most tedious process. Hope you enjoy baking this gorgeous looking bread:)
Recipe adapted from Twocupsflour
2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup warm milk plus more for brushing on the dough
2 teaspoon active dry yeast
2/3 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon orange zest
3 cups bread flour
Dark Chocolate Paste
2 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon milk ( I actually used two teaspoons more)
Light Chocolate Paste
2 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon milk ( I used one more teaspoon)
Make the Dough:
Stir cornstarch in cup of warm milk until dissolved.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine milk mixture, yeast, and tablespoon of the sugar. Gently stir together and let sit for 8-10 minutes until frothy.
Add melted butter (cooled to room temp.), the rest of the sugar, salt, vanilla and orange zest to yeast mixture.
Using the dough hook attachment mix on medium low speed.
Slowly spoon in flour on medium speed, and then turn up to medium high until dough has formed.
The dough should be very slightly tacky, with a soft and smooth texture.
Once formed, let the dough rest for about 10 minutes.
Turn mixer back on to medium high and beat for 6-8 minutes.
(Tear off a small piece of dough and stretch out with your fingers. A simple “window pane” test will let you know if the dough is ready. If not, beat for another 2-3 minutes and test again.)
Remove dough from bowl and place on a lightly floured surface.
Weigh your dough and divide into two halves.
Lightly dust one half with flour, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge.
Take the second half and evenly divide it into two halves.
Make Chocolate Pastes
Use a separate bowl for each paste.
Stir cocoa powder and milk together with a spoon. (*I am not sure if it has anything to do with the cocoa powder, I definitely needed more milk to make both the light and dark paste)
You should have one thick chocolate paste and one light chocolate paste.
Place one of the remaining halves of dough in each bowl of paste.
Work the chocolate into the dough with your hands. Kneading to incorporate all the chocolate into each dough.
You should now have one dark chocolate ball of dough and one light chocolate ball of dough.
Lightly flour each ball, cover in plastic wrap and set in the fridge.
Let all three dough balls chill for about 60-90 minutes.
Make the Loaf:
Remove all three dough balls from the fridge.
Weigh the white ball of dough and divide into 7 equal pieces.
Repeat with the light and dark chocolate dough balls.
You should now have 21 pieces of dough.
Start by rolling each of the light brown pieces into a small hot dog shape.
Then using a rolling pin roll each of the dark chocolate hunks into flat oval.
Place the light chocolate sausage onto the flat dark chocolate oval.
Using a pastry brush lightly coat the edges of the dark chocolate with milk.
Then fold the dark chocolate over the light chocolate as if you were wrapping a hot dog bun around a hot dog.
The result should look like a chocolate cigar.
Now take the white dough and toll into an oval with the rolling pin.
Repeat the process by placing the dark chocolate wrapped ‘sausage’ onto the white dough oval.
Paint the edges of the white dough with milk and then fold it over the dark chocolate, closing the seems.
The result should now look like a log with a light chocolate center, a wrapping of dark chocolate, and then a final wrapping of white dough.
Repeat this process with the remaining dough until you have 7 logs.
Now, roll each log lengthwise with your hands, until it becomes doubled in length. Like a long snake.
Slice in half.
You should now have 14 skinny logs.
Bake the Loaf
Prepare loaf pan with parchment paper
Stack dough logs into the pan.
Cover with a light tea towel and place in a draft free warm location to puff and double in size. At least an hour.
Preheat oven to 375 .
Then turn down to 350 F and place loaf into the oven.
Bake for 35-45 minutes or until inner temperature reaches 190 F.
Place pan on a cooling rack for 5-8 minutes.
Remove loaf from pan.
Let bread cool another 10 minutes.