This basic chocolate marble bread recipe is stunning and so easy to make! Each slice displays a different pattern.
Today we’re going back to the basics and making a simple bread loaf with chocolate swirled patterns. The chocolate is mainly used for appearance rather than flavor, so it is not like a chocolate babka. I wanted my bread for both sweet and savory purposes so I used cocoa powder, which only provides a hint of chocolate. This milk loaf requires only a few kitchen staples and can be made vegan (vegan alternative included in recipe), which tastes just as great.
The bread is soft and fragrant, with a lightly browned crust. I ate the bread with cream cheese and jam, made strawberry cream sandwiches, and grilled cheese sandwiches as well. I love the contrast between the brown and white dough, and the best part is that each slice has a different pattern! You may find that one slice has a more complex pattern than the other… it’s unique and great for kids. To help with the bread making, I have included tips below, which help me with my bread making.
- Use lukewarm milk, about 105-115 F. Milk that is too hot will kill the yeast, resulting in dense, flat bread. Room temperature liquid works too, but warming it helps activate the yeast.
- Room temperature for rising is sufficient (around 78-85 F) OR in a slightly heated oven (about 85 degrees). Lately, it has been so hot here, so I was able to proof at room temperature.
- Hand kneading can take up to 30 minutes to develop gluten. Dough should be able to pass the windowpane test. Using a stand mixer helps save time.
- If the dough feels too wet, add a bit of flour. If the dough feels too dry, add a bit of milk.
- Do NOT over-rise the dough. The rise time for each proofing should be 45 min-1 hr. If you let it rise too much, the bread will rise and collapse in the oven.
- Do NOT grease the loaf pan. The dough will cling on to the ungreased loaf pan during baking, helping it rise. The bread should not stick to the pan if you use a good quality loaf pan. I use the Monfish loaf pan which I highly recommend. You may grease the lid, although my lid did not require greasing.
Chocolate Marble Bread
yield: 8.5 x 4.375 in. loaf
total cook time: 3 hrs
- 350 g. or 2 1/2 c. + 2 tbsp. bread flour
- 5 g. or 1 1/4 tsp. active yeast
- 6 g. or 1 tsp. salt
- 8 g. or 2 tsp. sugar
- 235 g. or 1 c. minus 2 tsp. lukewarm milk (2% or whole) (use plant-based milk for vegan)
- 18 g. or 2 1/2 tsp. honey (use alternative thickened sweetener such as agave for vegan)
- 18 g. or 3 1/2 tsp. softened butter (use margarine or plant-based butter for vegan)
- 4 g. or 2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 10 g. or 2 tsp. water
- Into the stand mixer, add the bread flour, yeast, salt, sugar, and milk. Knead for 10 min. with the dough hook on medium speed. (Knead for 15 min. by hand)
- Add the butter and knead for an additional 8-10 min. (Knead for 15 min. by hand)
- Weigh the dough and separate into 2 equal halves. Place one half in a medium bowl, cover, and set aside to proof in a warm area (~82 degree F) for 45 min. to 1 hr. Place the other half back into the stand mixer.
- In a small bowl, mix cocoa powder and water together to make a chocolate paste. Add the chocolate paste into the stand mixer for the other half of dough. Knead for 2 min. on medium speed until the dough is solid brown in color. (Knead for 5 min. by hand). Place dough in a medium bowl, cover, and set aside to proof in a warm area (~82 degree F) for 45 min. to 1 hr.
- After the first proofing, both doughs should double in size. Take the white dough and punch the air out. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out into a 10 x 8 in. rectangle. Set aside. Repeat the rolling process for the chocolate dough.
- Place the chocolate dough on to the white dough and roll the dough up. Seal the dough shut by pinching it. Use a pastry scraper to cut the dough in half the long way while leaving an inch uncut near the top.
- Twist the dough and place into the loaf pan. Cover with a cloth or the pan lid, and proof in a warm area for 45 min. to 1 hr.
- Once dough has doubled in size, place lid on the pan and bake at 350 F for 40-45 min.
- Remove loaf from oven and cool for 5 min. in the pan. Remove bread and slice to enjoy!
Storage notes: Once the bread is cooled, immediately store in an airtight container or bag. Because this is a plain white bread with little fat, it dries out faster than other breads with higher fat content. Refrigerate the bread on the second day and consume within 4-5 days.