There was a time when animal prints on clothing and upholstery and other home furnishings were the rage, probably sometime in the 60s and the 70s. It feels like people couldn’t get enough of it then because I have memories of seeing animal stripes, spots and patches just about everywhere as a child.
After almost half a decade, it would seem as if animal prints are back again in fashion and not just on clothing or fashion accessories. This time, it’s gone a step forward and is becoming the craze in food; in bread to be more precise!
Sometime late last year, I came across a Leopard Patch Bread on Pinterest and was so taken up with the idea that I marked I to make later. I am particularly fond of breads that make a visual statement. It was this month that I finally found the time and opportunity to make it and picked it for the We Knead To Bake group’s bread for the month.
My inspiration for this bread comes from this “Pao de Leite Leopardo” by Patricia Nascimento who first came up with the idea for it. Pao de Leite Leopardo loosely translates as Leopard Patterned Milk Bread. This bread is less about the actual process of making bread and more about the technique involved in creating a visually beautiful bread. It is an easy bread to make, and involves just a little bit of effort to shape it. I used a standard sandwich bread recipe and adapted it to include the dough for the leopard patches.
This is basically a sweet bread flavoured with cocoa and if you want to add more flavour, you can add vanilla to the dough. You could reduce the sugar a bit for a less sweet bread but this bread is best a little on the sweeter side because the cocoa in it can make it a slightly bitter experience without the sugar to sweeten it up.
As a variation on this if you just colour one half of the bread with enough cocoa to make it dark and then follow the recipe with just two different colours of dough, one white and one dark, you can make A Giraffe Patch Bread!
The light and dark colouring in the “patches” in my bread are not as strongly defined because I used a darker coloured cocoa which was what I had on hand. If you can find it, I would suggest using a lighter coloured cocoa for the lighter coloured dough and a darker cocoa for the darker dough to produce a more differentiated and well define patch pattern.