“One of the things I love most is getting home from the supermarket and opening up and smelling a package of fresh yeast. It’s a bit odd, I know, but I love it. What is even better is the smell of the house after baking with yeast and this bread does the job beautifully. You can swap the halva spread, halva and chocolate filling with melted butter, cinnamon and sugar; nutella and ground almonds; or poppy seeds.” Deanna
- 600 g (4 cups) bread or plain flour
- 250 ml (1 cup) water, at room temperature
- 50 g fresh yeast (see Note) or 3 tbsp dry yeast
- 110 g (½ cup) caster sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 egg, plus 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 100 g unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup halva spread (see Note), warmed
- 1 cup crumbled halva (see Note)
- 100 g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- 110 g (½ cup) caster sugar
- 125 ml (½ cup) water
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time 2 hours
Using an electric mixer fitted with a hook attachment, knead the flour, water, yeast, sugar, salt, egg, egg yolks and vanilla extract on medium speed for 7 minutes. Add the butter and knead for a further 5 minutes or until combined and the dough is very soft and sticky. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise in a warm, draught-free place for 1-2 hours or until double the original size.
Divide the dough in half. Working on a well-floured surface, roll one piece out to a 20 cm x 30 cm rectangle.
Spread half of the warmed halva spread over the dough rectangle. Evenly sprinkle over half the crumbled halva and half of the chocolate, then roll into a log lengthwise.
Slice the log lengthwise and braid the two pieces together. Place in a loaf pan lined with baking paper. Repeat with the second piece of dough and the remaining halva spread, halva and chocolate. Allow to rise in a warm, draught-free place for 45 minutes – 1 hour or until double the original size.
Preheat the oven to 230˚C. Bake the bread for 35–40 minutes or until golden.
Meanwhile, to make the syrup, place the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10–12 minutes or until slightly reduced.
Remove the bread from the oven and immediately brush with the syrup. Allow to cool for 20 minutes, then serve.
• Fresh yeast is available from selected health food stores.
• Halva spread is available from selected Middle Eastern food stores.
• Halva is available from Middle Eastern food stores.
Recipes, photography and styling from Matkonation by Danya Weiner and Deanna Linder