From Jerusalem: Chocolate Krantz Cakes

 Now this bread... is very exciting.

I stumbled upon it by accident on 101 Cookbooks. Heidi posted a Fattoush recipe that's from Yotam Ottolenghi's new cookbook, "Jerusalem." As a teaser, she posted a few snapshots of the book's content. It sounded interesting enough but I wasn't convinced to explore it much further than that. Until I saw an image of Chocolate Krantz Cakes. Hawt d@mn. 

This is going to sound nerdy, but when I saw the method to making this yeast bread, fireworks went off. I've made plenty of yeast breads: roll,rise, cut, rise, bake. The difference is in the cut! Instead of chopping the dough into cinnamon buns or rolls, this bread is rolled and then sliced straight down the middle. For some reason, this blew my mind.

For this sole loaf of bread... I purchased the book. Flipping through, there are awesome recipes and stunning photographs. It was a well worth investment. I am ecstatic to have it on the book shelf.

What you need to know about this bread is it needs love and deserves love, because the pay off is serious. It needs to rise overnight so come prepared. This isn't a willy nilly on the fly investment. Like most breads, it's ideal when you have nothing better to do than stay at home or in the relative area. 

After a night of rising in the fridge, you'll have to roll it out like a cinnamon roll and slather some mind blowingly luscious chocolate.  You've come this far- don't wimp out on the quality of the chocolate. There's a sprinkling of pecans that makes this a real treat. If you're short on pecans, I recommend substituting with almonds. Slice straight down the middle. Gently pinch the ends together on one side of the dough (like you're going to braid someone's hair) and cross one on top of the other. This part stressed me at first until Mike pointed out it's only a criss cross- not an actual braid. The bread rises again and is ready for the oven! Upon completion, generously coat in a simple syrup.  

Now the interesting thing... is in the introduction of the book, the author explain how Jerusalem is incredibly diverse in food from one block to another in the city. This is due to a myriad of historical influences and the culmination of cultures.   

Eating this bread, this was powerfully apparent. On the one hand, the simple syrup at the bottom of the bread made me think of a desi dessert, gulab jamun, where dough is saturated in syrup. At the same time, it reminded me of a Portuguese dessert called bola de bolacha which consists plain cookies, chocolate, and coated entirely in pecans (at least in my family's version). I was fascinated how two worlds could exist in one bite.

For the full recipe, check out Yotam Ottolenghi's cook book, Jerusalem. You will not be disappointed.