50g(1/4 cup) rapeseed oil, plus a little more for the bowl
85ggranulated sugar or demerara sugar
150gstrong white flour
200gstrong wholemeal, (wholewheat) flour
30ggram, (chickpea) flour (a.k.a. besan)
OR an extra 30g strong wholemeal flour
100gdark chocolate chips
Make the sponge:
Mix the water and yeast in a medium bowl until dissolved. Stir in the flour, cover with a clean towel or piece of clingfilm and set aside for an hour in a warm place.
Make the paste:
Combine the water and flour in a small pot over a medium heat. Stir constantly until you get a very thick paste - around 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.
Make the dough (stand mixer method):
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached, combine the sponge, paste, oil, water and sugar. Mix on a low speed for a few minutes to start breaking up the paste.
Add the flours and salt and mix on a medium speed for 10 minutes until smooth and slightly tacky. Remove the bowl from the mixer, lift the dough up and pour a little extra oil into the bowl. Turn the dough in the bowl to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with a clean towel or piece of clingfilm and leave in a warm place for 1.5 to 2 hours until more than doubled in volume.
Make the dough (by hand):
Place the paste into a large bowl. Gradually stir in the sponge until relatively smooth. Mix in the oil, water and sugar until combined. Add the wholemeal flour, chickpea flour and salt (but not the white flour) and mix to make a wet dough.
Dust a clean work surface with some of the strong white flour, tip the dough out onto it, and dust the dough with some of the strong white flour too. Knead the dough, gradually adding in the remaining strong white flour until it is all incorporated and you have a smooth dough. If it isn't quite smooth and is still quite sticky, rub some rapeseed oil onto your hands and over your work surface. Continue to knead on the oiled surface until smooth.
Pour a little extra oil into the bowl you were using. Turn the dough in the bowl to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with a clean towel or piece of clingfilm and leave in a warm place for 1.5 to 2 hours until more than doubled in volume.
Shape, Rise, Bake:
Pour the chocolate chips over the risen dough in the bowl. Knock down the dough as you knead the chocolate chips in by hand in the bowl. Once mixed, divide the dough into 3 or 6 equal balls and dust with flour. Roll each ball out into a snake about 40cm long. Pinch the ends of each snake together and plait together (I just watched youtube videos of people plaiting 6 stranded challah to see how to do it). At the end of the plait, pinch the ends together and tuck the top and bottom end of the plait under the loaf. Lift the plait up and onto a baking tray which is either brushed with oil or lined with a non-stick baking mat. Cover the loaf with a piece of oiled clingfilm and leave in warm place to rise for 30-40 minutes until almost doubled in volume.
Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F). Once the loaf has risen, remove the clingfilm. Brush the loaf with non-dairy milk (see notes) and bake for 30-40 minutes - it'll be done when it's dark-golden and the whole kitchen smells INCREDIBLE. Leave to cool before slicing and eating. The next day, the loaf is best sliced, toasted and eaten with nut butter/butter/jam OR turned into French toast!
- 'lukewarm' water is water which is barely warm to the touch. You need to make sure that you're not using hot water otherwise you may kill the yeast.- if needed, ensure the chocolate chips you're using are certified vegan as sometimes dark chocolate can still contain dairy. If you can't find vegan chocolate chips, just chop up a bar of vegan-friendly dark chocolate into small chunks.- I egg washed the loaf in the pictures. Of course this is more of an aesthetic thing than a something you 'have' to do.- you can swap in 100g of raisins instead of the chocolate chips for a different flavour