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pane zebra

Such a luxurious breakfast!
 I love croissants as much as anyone, but they take so long to make! This is a little recipe that I made up called "Pane Zebra," or Zebra Brioche. It is super simple and easy to make, and looks so elegant and fancy! All of those thin, delicate little strips of chocolate really add something special to these sweet, fluffy breakfast rolls, which is why I named them Pane Zebra. These rolls have a base of Cuban Pane Suave, a delicious sweet roll from the island of Cuba, which can be made super easily in the bread machine. I filled it with a cocoa block and rolled it out multiple times to get the striped chocolate effect. Your morning will certainly be brightened by these little stripes of chocolate.
With love, Erica

An assortment of rolls and croissants
Look at those zebra stripes!

Bread Machine Pan Suave
Adapted from Cuban Pan Suave
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (100-110 degrees F)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons salt, plus a little more for egg glaze
  • 4 to 5 cups bread or all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (I used poppy seeds)
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter

Cocoa Block :
Adapted from Last but not Furno
1 egg  white (keep the yolk for an egg wash later)
1/4 cup all purpose flour  
1/4 cup sugar  
1/2 cup (4 fl oz) milk  
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
1 tablespoon butter 
  • Add the ingredients for the pan suave in the order directed by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle. 
  • Prepare the Cocoa Block: In a bowl put the egg white with the sugar and flour and stir to obtain a smooth and creamy consistency . Pour the milk in a saucepan and bring to boil, add the cocoa and stir quickly. Add the egg white mixture and stir and cook until thick. 
  • Quickly add the butter and stir. Let cool at room temperature.  
  • Put the cocoa mixture between two sheets of plastic film and press to form a square (you can use a rolling pin) and then put it into the fridge. 
  • Once the dough cycle is done,  deflate the dough and roll it out in a rectangle on a floured surface. Place the cocoa block into the center and fold into Thirds, starting with the top third then fold the bottom third of the rectangle up over the dough. Rotate it 90 degree (That I know the narrow end faces you, keeping the seam on your right) and roll out again (1-2-3-4). Fold the dough I know That the two short edges meet in the center and then fold the dough in half, like a book. Rotate it 90 degrees (you have four layers and the the seam is on your right). Roll out the dough again (5-6-7-8). (See Diagram) 
  •  Cut the dough into 1/2in strips and roll to form the rolls or cut into triangles and shape into croissants (9-10). 
  • Put Them on a baking sheet and the rise for about 1 hour.
  • Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until golden brown


  1. Wow! I was personally unsuccessful at making croissants (which I love!) but your recipe looks like a great way to leeway into it again. I'm going to try this fancy and tasty looking zebra bread and make a vlog (video blog) on it! Maybe you can check it out in the future

    1. I'm loving the vlogs! Such a unique approach to food blogging!

  2. So cool! Definitely want to try this. I've made croissants before and found them fussy, so I'm up for anything simpler.

  3. I tried making croissants once. They were delicious but I found it too time consuming. I will try this. thank you for sharing

  4. Hi! I'm from Italy. Your blog looks great!
    This recipe makes me think of one that I proposed some time ago on my blog.
    congratulations again for your blog :o)

    1. Thank you so much! That is so cool! I love Italian baked goods! I took a look at your brioche and they look BEAUTIFUL! I love the swirl/twist variety.

  5. This looks INCREDIBLE! Such a tasty, fancy breakfast! :)

    1. Thank you so much! I just checked out your blog, and your ratatouille lasagna looks amazing!

  6. This is a really neat recipe. My boyfriend is Cuban, and I've been trying to stock pile Cuban recipes/ learn a bit more about the food and this is being added to the list as I speak. They look really beautiful. Good job!

    1. Thank you so much! The dough that I used is a traditional cuban recipe, if you end up making it, tell me what he thinks! I hope it is authentic!

  7. I love pain au chocolate. Yummy!

    1. Thank you so much! The difference with this one is the chocolate is weaved throughout the bread as opposed to being in the middle

  8. Hi
    I'm looking forward to trying these zebras! ;) and your croissants. Do they freeze well and if they do are they best frozen before they are cooked or after they are cooked? Ta heaps :)

    1. I have never tried freezing them, but I would assume that they are better when frozen right after the second proofing, letting them return to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe. Nothing beats fresh baked bread!

  9. How large of a rectangle did you roll before cutting into individual buns? And approximately how many did you get? My dough is proofing and the choc block is cooling on the window sill.

  10. How large was the rectangle you rolled before cutting into individual buns and approximately how many buns did you get? My dough is proofing and the choc block is cooling on the window sill.

  11. These look beautiful. I stretched to include them in my Cuban food addition. I featured it on my Friday Five - Cuban addition over at Feed Your Soul Too -

    1. Thanks for the kind comment and the feature! I checked out your post and it is lovely -- I really want to try a Cuban dinner soon! On the to-do list now! Thanks for the inspiration :)


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