Thursday, April 12, 2012

Intrigued by this loaf from ''køkken69'' I decided to include tang zhong in my recipe for tsoureki and knead it by hand. Although I regret not using a stand mixer and stirring a sticky dough for more than an hour, I can see improvement with the tang zhong method not only in softness but also in shape (at least the loaf below didn't end up flat and short as usually). To enhance the flavor I made a chocolate filling and in case it's not strong enough I covered it in ganache.

                              Chocolate paste
                              30g                                                           cake flour
                              75g                                                           sugar
                              90ml                                                         milk
                              30ml                                                         cognac
                              30g                                                           cocoa powder
                              15g                                                           butter
                              40gr                                                          bread flour
                              200gr                                                        water
                              380gr                                                        bread flour
                              90gr                                                          sugar
                              4gr                                                            salt
                              25gr                                                          fresh yeast
                              1                                                               egg
                              100gr                                                        milk, warm but not hot
                              40gr                                                          butter, room temperature
                              2tsp                                                          mahlep

Prepare the tang zhong one day erlier by warming the 40gr of flour with water to 65C. Until then keep stirring the mixture which should get a glue-like consistency. Refrigerate overnight and set apart the 120gr you will use. After dissolving yeast in the warm milk, combine all the ingredients except of the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and knead with a dough hook for a few minutes. Then keep kneading while adding the soft butter in small portions and continue beating for 15 more minutes until the dough has reached window pane stage. In case you knead it by hand using a plastic spatula, this stage is reached as soon as the spatula comes clean after pressed on the dough. Let it rest in a warm environment or a low warmed oven placed on the oiled bottom of your bowl and in the next 40 or more minutes of the fermentation prepare the chocolate paste.


For the filling boil milk with cognac, sugar and flour, remove from heat and shift in the cocoa. Stir well to brake any lumps and while it is still hot add the butter. If the paste is not thick enough refrigerate until use.  After the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and divide it in half. Cut each half in three portions, slightly strech them into strips and flatten them with a rolling pin. Spread some of the paste lengthways in the middle and seal the fillling inside by bringing the edges together. Then braid the strips and let the two loaves rest for at least 30min in a warm temperature. Finally apply egg wash and sprinkle chopped almonds as an alternative to the ganache cover and bake at preheated oven to 170C for 20min.