Skip to main content

Spiced Chocolate-Orange Loaves

Spiced Chocolate Orange Loaves
Both delicious and versatile, our tender dough and bold, flavorful filling get a tasty loaf twist. Baked to golden brown perfection, each slice offers a showstopping swirl. Even better, this recipe makes two so you can share one and keep the other all to yourself.
Yield 2 loaves




  • 3 1/4 to 3 3/4 cups (406 to 469g) all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/4 cup (55g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 (0.25-ounce) package (7g) Platinum Yeast
  • 2 teaspoons (6g) kosher salt
  • 1 cup (240g) whole milk
  • 1/3 cup (76g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) tightly packed orange zest
  • 1 (50g) large egg, room temperature


  • 6 tablespoons (84g) unsalted butter, room temperature (see Note1)
  • 1/3 cup (73g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (10g) Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon (6g) ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon packed orange zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt


  • 1 (50g) large egg, lightly beaten (for egg wash)
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) water (for egg wash)
  • Garnish: confectioners' sugar


  • For dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 1 cup (125g) flour, brown sugar, yeast, and salt at low speed just until combined.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine milk, butter, and orange zest. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted and an instant-read thermometer registers 120°F (49°C) to 130°F (54°C). Add warm milk mixture to flour mixture; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Add egg; beat at medium-highspeed for 2 minutes. With mixer on low speed, gradually add 2 1/4 cups (281g) flour, beating just until combined and stopping to scrape sides of bowl.
  • Switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat at medium-low speed until a soft, elastic dough forms, 6 to 12 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl and dough hook; add up to remaining 1/2 cup (63g) flour, 1 tablespoon (8g) at a time, if dough is too sticky. (Dough may still stick slightly to bottom and sides of bowl. Dough should pass the windowpane test; see Notes2.) Turn out dough onto a clean surface, and shape into a ball.
  • Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Punch down dough; cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
  • For filling: In a medium bowl, stir together butter, brown sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, cloves, orange zest, and salt with a silicone spatula until well combined.
  • Spray 2 (8½x4½-inch) loaf pans with cooking spray. Line pans with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pans. (See Notes3.)
  • Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll half of dough into a 13×10-inch rectangle (about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick) with one long side closest to you. Using a small offset spatula, dot half of filling on top of dough, and spread into an even layer, leaving a ½-inch border on both short sides and one long side. Starting on long side without border, roll up dough, jelly roll style, and pinch seam to seal. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough and remaining filling. Wipe hands and surface clean as needed.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Unwrap and gently stretch 1 dough log to 14 inches long, if necessary. Place seam side down; using a sharp serrated knife, cut in half lengthwise, wiping knife clean between cuts. Turn cut side up, and place halves in an “X.” Twist together top half of “X” twice; pinch ends together, and tuck under. Repeat with bottom half of “X.” Repeat with remaining dough. Place in prepared pans, making sure to keep cut sides up and ends tucked under. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until puffed and dough holds an indentation when poked, 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Make egg wash: In a small bowl, whisk together 1 egg and 1 tablespoon (15g) water. Brush tops of loaves with egg wash. 
  • Bake for 20 minutes; rotate pan, and loosely cover with foil. Bake until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 190°F (88°C), about 8 minutes more. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Using excess parchment as handles, remove from pans, and place on wire racks. Serve warm or at room temperature. Garnish with confectioners’ sugar, if desired, just before serving.


  1. Unlike softened butter, room temperature butter should provide no resistance when pressed with a finger. At this point, the butter is softened enough to easily spread over dough.
  2. To use the windowpane test to check dough for proper gluten development, pinch off (don’t tear) a small piece of dough. Slowly pull the dough out from the center. If the dough is ready, you will be able to stretch it until it’s thin and translucent like a windowpane. If the dough tears, it’s not quite ready. Beat for 1 minute, and test again.
  3. Loaves can also be baked freeform on 2 rimmed baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Shape loaves as directed, being sure to tuck and pinch ends under. Proof as directed. Bake until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 190°F (88°C), 15 to 20 minutes.
Spice up your dough with 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons (2 to 3g) ground cardamom. For the filling, skip the cocoa powder and add 1 tablespoon (6g) ground cinnamon, 1 3/4 teaspoons (3.5g) ground cardamom, 1 teaspoon (2g) ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, and 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper for a Swedish cinnamon bun flavor profile.
Recipe by Brian Hart Hoffman

Did you make this recipe?

We want to see it! Tag @redstaryeast and use hashtag #redstaryeast

Spiced Chocolate Orange Loaves

– BLOG –

Spiced Chocolate Orange Loaves

Get the step-by-step recipe and video tutorial.

Review & Comments

Ruth Walters | Reply

A very pretty loaf. I made it as per the recipe, but should have baked it just a little longer. Made the second loaf with a poppy seed filling and it was also wonderful and looked amazing. I will be making this again and probably giving it as a gift for those people who have everything.

Leave a Reply

Made the recipe? Rate it!