This Coffee Swirl Loaf is infused with real coffee powder for maximum flavor. Layers of soft, fluffy bread are coated with bittersweet coffee filling to give you a caffeine kick in every bite.
Coffee and Bread – A Breakfast Necessity
For some of us, it’s impossible to skip our cup of kopi in the morning. Forget it, and we’ll get all cranky throughout the day.
In Singapore, besides chai tow kway, porridge, and fried bee hoon, the kaya toast set that’s served with eggs and coffee is a breakfast staple that we can’t get enough of. Slices of warm toast with a cup of solid kopi is what we usually do, but what about incorporating coffee into a soft, fluffy, and slightly chewy bread?
Making bread from scratch is such a fun experience. Feeling the dough forming when you mix, knead, and stretch the flour-water mixture gives you a sensation that you can’t get in making any other kinds of baked goods!
Making Bread Dough
Kneading the bread dough is probably the most important part about making bread. Kneading helps to develop the gluten in bread, which gives it structure and chew. If you don’t have a stand mixer, go ahead and hand knead, though it'll take more time and elbow grease.
Mixing dry ingredients with egg and water
If you do not have bread flour at home, you can swap it out for all purpose flour, but do note that you are unlikely to produce as good a result as bread flour!
Bread flour has a higher protein content as compared to regular flour, allowing it to form more gluten – the stuff that makes your dough elastic and stretchy.
Hence, a dough that’s made with bread flour will take less time to reach the optimal dough stage (stage where the dough has been sufficiently kneaded) more quickly as compared to plain flour. Bread made with bread flour also produces chewier and lighter results.
Bread dough after adding in butter; it is still scraggly and uneven with visible flour bits.
After adding butter, continue to knead the dough until your dough reaches the optimal stage. You will find that the dough becomes more elastic, less scraggly, smoother, and sticks less to the sides of your mixing bowl.
Visibly smoother dough without visible flour bits
To determine if your dough is indeed well kneaded enough, do the windowpane test. The formation of a “windowpane” when you stretch the dough indicates that you’re ready to proceed to the first rise!
Fermentation time is also important in breadmaking. This is the part where you let your well-kneaded bread dough rest while you let the yeast do its work to help your bread rise. Following the recommended fermentation time (usually around 45 to 90 minutes) will ensure that your bread reaches its optimum condition for baking, giving you your desired results.
Making the Coffee Filling
The coffee filling is an essential part in this fluffy coffee swirl loaf. Use coffee with a pronounced and robust taste or your favorite brand to get the best results!
The coffee filling in this bread is made by combining butter with a mixture of coffee powder, sugar and salt to form a paste. Remember to mix your dry ingredients well before adding the softened butter so that the coffee powder will be equally distributed! You don’t want to get bitter clumps of coffee in your bread.
Tips for Shaping the Bread
Shaping this bread is definitely the most fun part of the process! This was the part we enjoyed the most too. Don’t be daunted by the looks of it, simply follow the step-by-step pictorial guide in the directions below!
This shape is adapted from Babka, a traditional Jewish bread. It’s usually filled with a mixture of chocolate, nuts, and spices, but for this recipe, we’re adding a local touch and replacing it with coffee instead!
This shaping technique can also be used for other kinds of bread too, like these Black Sesame Braids. Don’t worry if you don’t get a perfect swirl on your first try – practice makes perfect! This technique yields a loaf that’s layered with bittersweet coffee filling, which can be pulled apart separately for a fun eating experience.
This bread is baked at 200°C, using the conventional oven mode. Make sure that your oven is preheated to the temperature before baking the bread to prevent it from being underbaked. If the surface of the bread is starting to brown and your bread isn’t done baking yet, cover it with a piece of aluminium foil and continue baking.
After the bread has cooled down, you can start to dig in! This homemade bread is made without any preservatives, so it’s best to eat it on the day it’s made. If you have any leftovers, wrap them tightly before refrigerating/freezing them. Reheat in an oven preheated at 150°C until warm throughout, for a delightful breakfast the next day.
Coffee Swirled Bread
yields 1 medium twist/swirl
For the coffee bread
250g bread flour
45g granulated sugar (1)
3.3g salt (1)
8.3g instant yeast
4g instant coffee powder (1)
40g unsalted butter, softened (1)
1 egg beaten, for egg wash (optional)
For the coffee filling
45g unsalted butter, softened (2)
35g granulated sugar (2)
1g salt (2)6g instant coffee powder (2)
- In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together (bread flour, sugar (1), salt (1), yeast and coffee powder (1)). Whisk to combine.
- Transfer to the stand mixer's mixing bowl, then add egg and water and start mixing at low speed with the dough hook attachment, gradually increasing the speed to medium/medium-high as the flour gets incorporated into the dough. If you don't have a stand mixer, you may hand knead the dough.
- Keep mixing/kneading for about 5-6 mins.
- Add in softened butter (1) and continue mixing for another 12-16 mins, until your dough reaches the optimal dough stage. The exact timing depends on the strength of your mixer. To check if your dough is done, use the windowpane test. If the dough is still not elastic enough, keep mixing for an additional 2 minutes and check again. Dough is more or less done when it looks smooth and elastic while mixing/kneading. Do not over-knead.
- Once the dough is ready, round the dough into a smooth ball and place it back into the mixing bowl, covering it with a damp cloth/cling wrap and setting it aside in a warm area to ferment and rise until it is double in size, about 45-60 min.
- Whilst the dough is fermenting, make the filling.
- Mix the sugar (2), salt (2) and coffee powder (2) in a small bowl using a small whisk, then use a spatula to mix in softened butter (2) until well combined.
- Cover and set aside. Do not chill it as it'll harden the butter, making it difficult to spread later on.
- Once bread dough has doubled in size, punch the dough to release air. Remove from the mixing bowl and place onto a clean, lightly dusted work surface.
- Roll the dough into a rectangular shape, about 22x45cm with the short side facing you.
- Spread the filling evenly onto the surface of the dough. Leave some gaps on the edges (around 2 to 3 cm) to prevent any leakage later. Refer to the diagram below for the next few steps.
- Roll the dough up into a log shape tightly, from the short side up, like how you would for cinnamon rolls. Seal the dough by pinching the ends together along the length of the roll.
- Next, use a sharp pair of scissors/knife to cut the log into half, along its length. This will reveal the inner layers of the bread. If you’re doing it right, you should see alternating layers of bread dough and coffee filling.
- Rotate each half so that the cut sides are facing upwards.
- With both halves placed side by side, pinch the top part of the halves hard to join them together, then start twisting them one over the other while keeping the cut side up to give you a tight braid. Finish by pinching the ends together.
- Finally, twist the braid into a spiral and tuck the ends underneath tightly to prevent them from springing out during the baking.
- Place the coffee swirl onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover with a damp cloth or cling wrap lightly, letting it proof for another 45-60 mins, till it has doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C (conventional mode). Meanwhile, beat one egg for the egg wash. Before baking, brush the top of the bread gently and generously with the egg wash using a pastry brush.
- Bake the coffee swirl for about 18-20 mins. If the top gets too brown, tent with a piece of foil and continue baking. Once done, let cool on a wire rack and tuck in!
A Coffee Pick-Me-Up
We absolutely love the combination of soft fluffy tear-apart bread with a strong hit of coffee flavour. It's great for jolting us in the morning when we're still feeling the snooze. Plus, the braiding for this loaf is absolutely gorgeous.
If you want to try baking your own bread at home but don't know where to start, try our Bread Baking Kits that come with all the ingredients you need and a tutorial video to help you.
Trying this recipe out? Make sure you hashtag #bakestarters on Instagram so we can see your wonderful creations!