A year or so ago I made a really yummy pumpkin challah bread and I have wanted to make another loaf since. Even though I knew pumpkin would be well accepted, I wanted something a bit different. I came up with this Chocolate Porter Challah Bread with Whipped Vanilla Goat Cheese Schmear completely out of my head. Sometimes I have no clue where I get this stuff from. Beer in challah bread? Whipping goat cheese? Who knows where, or even when my brain contemplates the inspiration for these things.
After I decided on adding chocolate porter to the bread, I needed to find a good one. One of my personal favorite breweries in southern California is Hangar 24 Craft Brewery out of Redlands. They have a year round Chocolate Porter that is perfect for my recipe. The main favor is of course chocolate, but it has a vanilla undertone which matches perfectly with the vanilla goat cheese. I love it because it’s not bitter like most dark beers, but it’s really smooth and actually works really well as a drinking beer.
So one afternoon I made this bread – it takes awhile solely for the rise times. I know it looks complicated but this post on Yin & Yolk walks through exactly how to make that super cool weave look on the bread. It was way easier than I ever thought it would be. I can definitely say this is the coolest looking bread I’ve ever made.
I have to tell you about this goat cheese schmear. It is unbelievable. In a mixer, I just added all the ingredients and whipped it until combined and light. It has the consistency of a whipped butter but tastes like slightly sweet goat cheese – which is exactly what it is. It matches absolutely brilliantly with the dark chocolate filling in the challah bread. It was so easy and so delicious I am going to find everything else I can to spread this goat cheese on so I can keep making it.
So once this bread was baked, it was a really good sized loaf. Bigger than I knew me, Bradley and my brother David could eat in one sitting. We tried though, believe you me. It was so yummy warm with that goat cheese on it. My mouth is watering just thinking about it right now. How often can I make this bread before it’s just not health conscious anymore? Once a week? I can live with that.
We had more than half a loaf left when Jesse and Chandra let me know that they were planning to have a party that week since Jesse found the almond in my Mardi Gras King Cake. Party? I’m in. And hey, I have bread to bring. Well, I was told that the bread was a requirement for me attending the party. –I have realized all these blog posts allow me to take all kinds of stuff to other people’s house to taste test. I’m not sure they mind.
With 8 people at Jesse’s party we definitely made a significant dent in the remainder of the loaf, but still didn’t eat every crumb. (As I have determined, you can just make half a recipe if needed. It would still make a good sized loaf.) I hate to waste food, I am always trying to recreate it somehow into something different. So, what to do with slightly old bread? Yep! Bread pudding. It was Chandra’s idea so I let her run with it and she made it for dessert a couple days later. Doesn’t it look delicious? She added a brown sugar pecan crust – just because she could. There is always something transforming you can do with leftovers.
- 2 envelopes yeast
- 1 cup chocolate porter, room temperature
- ⅓ cups sugar
- ½ cups canola oil
- 4 whole eggs
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 whole egg, beaten
- 4 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used 85%)
- 4 ounces unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 10.5 ounces soft goat cheese, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- In a large bowl, mix the yeast into the room temperature beer. Add the sugar and give it a few minutes to bubble. Add in the oil and eggs, mix together and add in the flour. Mix with the paddle until combined. Let rest for 5 minutes and then add in the salt. Mix until combined and switch to the dough hook. Mix for about 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place the dough into a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for about an hour or until it’s doubled in size.
- Make the filling. Melt the butter and chocolate together then add the sugar and cocoa powder. Divide the dough into two halves, roll each into a large 10x15 inch rectangle. It doesn't have to be perfect. Spread each dough rectangle with half of the chocolate filling leaving a ½ inch border all around the edge. Tightly roll up each rectangle long ways and let sit for an hour to continue to rise.
- Cut each roll right down the middle log ways so you end up with four logs. Weave and braid the logs together to make a round or long loaf, however you like. Make sure the chocolate filling side is facing up in the weave. Let sit for 20 minutes before baking.
- Brush the loaves with egg wash and bake in a preheated oven at 350 F for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool before slicing.
- To make the whipped cream cheese, put all ingredients in a mixer with the whisk attachment. Mix for five minutes until combined and light.