My chocolate halva tahini wreath bread has rich, tender, and slightly sweet crumbs layered with dark chocolate and nutty notes of tahini. This post was sponsored by Calphalon. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Beyond Sweet and Savory possible.
Bread making brings me a lot of joy. I grew up near a baguette bakery so the smell of freshly baked bread always makes me nostalgic for my childhood. Even though my love of bread runs deep, I didn’t get into bread seriously until I took a bread class and built up the confidence to try new recipes. Over the past years I’ve worked on a number of bread recipes and couldn’t be more excited to partner with Calphalon and share a step by step guide of a well loved yeasted bread recipe, my chocolate halva tahini chocolate wreath bread.
While I have seasonal favorites that I make throughout the year, this wreath bread with Middle Eastern flavors is a staple that we make all year long. With layers of chocolate, halva, and tahini running all the way through it, this buttery wreath bread is the ultimate tear and share centerpiece.
How to Make the Bread Dough
For this bread, I start with a yeasted dough that’s enriched with whole milk, eggs, and butter. Similar bread that utilize rich dough are donuts, cinnamon rolls, babka, and star bread. When working with yeast, it’s important to keep the temperature of the milk below 110℉ or the yeast will die.
Instant dry yeast or active dry yeast works for this recipe but the rise time will take a little longer if you use the latter. Always check the expiration date on your yeast package otherwise the yeast might be old and the dough won’t rise properly. I love instant dry yeast because it has a relatively long shelf life, and that shelf life can be extended by keeping it refrigerated, which is ideal for the home baker.
The dough requires two proving steps. After the dough is made, leave it in a warm spot in your kitchen to rise for 2 hours. Once it doubles in size, punch down the dough to release any air bubbles and let it prove overnight, about 8 hours, in the fridge to develop flavor. Letting the dough prove overnight in the fridge will save you a lot of time the next day.
How to Make the Filling
The filling for the wreath bread has only 4 ingredients--butter, chocolate, halva, and tahini. Halva, helva or halvah, is a Middle Eastern dessert made of sesame seed paste. It has a dense and crumbly texture and sometimes flavored with cocoa, vanilla, and rose water. Some also contain nuts like hazelnuts, pistachios, or walnuts. I used plain halva for this recipe but feel free to experiment. Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds commonly used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. One of the most common uses of tahini that you’re probably familiar with is hummus. You can purchase halva and tahini at your Middle Eastern grocery stores and online.
Both halva and tahini lend a nuttiness to the wreath bread. To make the filling, combine all the ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixture and beat until well blended. I like to make the filling the same day as the dough and let it sit in the fridge. Remove it from the fridge 30 minutes before you’re ready to use it so the filling is soft and spreadable.
How to Assemble the Wreath Bread
At first glance shaping the wreath bread might seem intimidating but it’s a lot simpler than it looks. I have included a series of step by step pictures to show you how to shape the wreath bread. Rolling out the dough, slicing, twisting and shaping the wreath bread can be a lot of fun. Don’t worry if you don’t get the perfect shape on your first try. It comes with practice. Keeping the dough chill makes the job a bit easier. Whenever I feel the dough is too soft to handle, I put it in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up.
Roll the dough out to a 22 by 10 inch rectangle. It doesn’t need to be perfect.
Spread the filling over the dough, leaving a ¾ inch border on each side.
Roll up the dough from the longer side so that you end up with a 22-inch log. Use a sharp knife to halve the log along its length to expose the layers. Place the halves with the cut side up.
Use your hands to twist the strands together and form a braid. Try to braid it as tightly as possible. Chilled dough makes it easier to braid.
You should have one long braid when you’re done.
To shape the braided dough into a wreath, curve the ends around to meet and squeeze them together to join firmly but as neatly as possible.
How Long to Bake the Bread
I love using my Calphalon Premier™ Countertop Safe Bakeware cookie sheet for baking the wreath bread. Its heavy-gauge steel core heats evenly with interlocking nonstick layers for superior release. I didn’t even need parchment paper for baking. The wreath bread goes into the oven for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.
When the bread is done baking, leave it to cool on the cookie sheet for 15 minutes before serving. I love the heat-resistant, no-slip silicone feet of the Calphalon Premier™ Countertop Safe Bakeware which allow the sheet to go directly on the countertop from the oven.
This innovative design protects counters from surface and accidental burns while eliminating the need for trivets or pot holders. I love the incredible quality of Calphalon’s bakeware. I have pieces that are still going strong even after a decade of use. The Calphalon Premier™ Countertop Safe Bakeware Set is available on Amazon.com. Use the code 'BEYONDSWEET25' for 25% off on Calphalon site wide (exclusion applies).
This bread is one of those recipes that made me do a victory dance when I got it out of the oven. I could tell from the fragrance permeating the air while it was baking that it was going to be a special one. Literally everyone who walked into the kitchen asked if the bread was done baking.
When you cut into the wreath bread, you get moist, tender crumbs, layered with a chocolate filling and nutty notes of tahini. Eating a slice while it’s still warm is an experience to be savored. This chocolate halva tahini wreath bread is so delicious, you won’t be able to stop at just one slice!
Chocolate halva tahini wreath bread
- 1 package instant yeast
- ¼ cup caster sugar
- ½ cup (125ml) milk, warmed
- 2 large egg yolks
- 4 tbsps unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ cup warm water
- 3 cups (450g) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon teaspoon salt
- 4 tbsps unsalted butter, softened
- 6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
- 2 ounces halva and extra for serving
- ½ cup tahini
- Pour milk in a small bowl and warm it in the microwave until lukewarm. Make sure the max temperature is 105-110 degrees. Add 1 tablespoon sugar and give it a quick stir before adding the yeast. Let mixture sit for 8 to 10 minutes, until foamy.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine flour, remaining sugar, salt, butter, water, and egg yolks and stir until combined.
- Add in the yeast mixture until the dough comes together in a soft mass, about 5 minutes. If the dough sticks to the side of the bowl, add a tablespoon of flour at a time until it comes together, beating very well in between additions. Continue beating until the dough is smooth and stretchy, another 5 minutes.
- Butter a clean bowl, form the dough into a ball and roll it around in the bowl so all sides are buttered. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place until it puffs and rises, about 2 hours. Gently press the dough down with your hands, re-cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.
- While the dough is proving, prepare the filling. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine butter, chocolate, halva, and tahini and beat until well combined, about 3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator. On a floured surface, roll one piece into a 10×22-inch rectangle. Spread filling on dough, leaving a ¾ inch border.
- Roll up tightly from one of the longer sides, so that you end up with a 22-inch log. If the dough has softened too much for you to handle it, place on a tray and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into half lengthways. Turn the halves so the cut sides face out.
- Place the halves with the cut sides facing upwards. Lift one halved log over the other so that they form a cross at their midpoints, with the filling layers still pointing upwards. Continue to twist the strands over each other until the dough looks like a braid.
- To form a wreath, twist the two lengths together. Form the twist length into a ring, pressing the two ends together to join.
- Transfer the wreath carefully onto a baking tray. Place the tray in the middle rack in the oven.
- Bake the wreath bread at 350°F for 32-35 minutes or until golden and hollow sounding when tapped.
- Let the wreath bread cool for 15 minutes before serve. Sprinkle pieces of halva over the bread if desired (optional).