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Vienna Bread with Chocolate Chips

Vienna bread, a golden loaf with chocolate chips

Vienna bread originates from Austria where it became popular in the 19th century. Legend has it that an Austrian baker took the recipe with him to Paris in the mid 1800s. It’s very popular in France, a staple in boulangeries. It’s a baguette shaped, sweet bread with a soft crust. This recipe for Baguettes viennoises aux pépites de chocolat – Vienna bread with chocolate chips – is seriously scrumptious!

Makes 2 small baguettes

Active time: 20 minutes
Bulk fermentation: 1 hour
Resting: 15 minutes
Proofing: 1–1½ hours
Cooking: 20–30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

⅔ cup (5.25 oz./150 g) whole milk
0.25 oz. (7 g) fresh yeast
1.75 oz. (50 g) refreshed levain* (how to make and refresh leavain/leaven)
1 generous tbsp (15 g) sugar
2 cups (9 oz./250 g) bread flour (T65)
1 tsp (0.2 oz./5 g) salt
3 tbsp (1.5 oz./40 g) butter, diced, at room temperature
Generous ½ cup (3.5 oz./100 g) chocolate chips, or 1 (3.5-oz./100-g) chocolate bar, roughly chopped
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

METHOD

Pour the milk into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Crumble in the fresh yeast and stir or swish to dissolve, then stir in the levain. Add the sugar, flour, and salt. Knead for 10 minutes on speed 1, followed by 5–10 minutes on speed 2, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. About halfway through the 5–10 minutes, add the butter with the mixer running. Add the chocolate chips and knead briefly until evenly distributed.

Shape the dough into a ball, place it in a lightly oiled or flour-dusted bowl, and cover. Let rise for 1 hour in a place that is warm, but not warm enough to melt the chocolate.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and divide it into two equal pieces. Cover with a towel and let rest for 15 minutes.

Shape each piece of dough into a short baguette and place seam-side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Brush the dough with a thin layer of egg yolk, then chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to firm it up a bit. Brush with another layer of egg yolk and score with kitchen shears, making several parallel diagonal cuts across the top of the dough.

Let rise in a warm place for 1–1½ hours.

Toward the end of the rising time, place a rack in the center of the oven and place another rack directly below it. Place an empty heavy-duty baking sheet, oven-safe skillet, or drip pan on the lower rack and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C/Gas Mark 6). Bring 1 cup (250 ml) of water to a simmer.

When the dough passes the poke test* (SEE BELOW), place the baking sheet in the oven, then carefully pour the simmering water into the baking sheet, skillet, or drip pan to create steam and quickly close the oven door.

Bake for 20–30 minutes, until deeply golden. Slide the bread onto a rack with the parchment paper underneath and let cool.

*Levain, or leaven, is a fermented blend of flour and water that is regularly fed (with more flour and water) to obtain a levain-chef (master levain).

LA BONNE IDÉE

You can swap out the chocolate chips for dried fruit of your choice, such as raisins or a blend of tropical fruits.

POKE TEST

If the proofing time is too short, the dough won’t build up enough CO2 to rise correctly during baking. Conversely, if the proofing time is too long, the gluten network weakens and the bread may fall during baking. Even professional bakers use the poke test to evaluate the dough’s resistance and determine when it is ready for the oven. Gently press your finger about ½ in. (1 cm) into the dough. If the dough is ready to bake, it will spring back slowly but retain a small indentation where you poked it. If no indentation forms, the dough is not ready; leave it to proof a little longer. If the indentation doesn’t spring back at all, it’s too late—the dough is over-proofed.

Extract from Upper Crust: Homemade Bread the French Way, by renowned food writer Marie-Laure Fréchet. Published by Flammarion and available at Amazon, online and highstreet bookstores (where it can be ordered if it’s not in stock ISBN 9782081517073). Step by step techniques to turn you into a successful bread maker, 100 recipes include delicious desserts and savoury specialities which feature bread. Plus French bread history and fascinating facts… 

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