Chocolate Bread

Chocolate bread. All the chocolate flavour, without the sometimes cloying richness and heaviness of cake. It came out a bit crumbly, plain it was slightly too dry, but with a dab of butter it was delicious. I think a smear of cream cheese would be nice as well, or some jam (cherry would be especially nice). Or you could use some of it for french toast, or bread pudding. I left out the chocolate chips and nuts, but will make this recipe again with them in.

ChocolateBread2

Chocolate Bread
slightly adapted from David Lebovitz

180 ml milk, tepid
1 packet dry yeast (7 g)
75 g sugar
55 g butter
85 g bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tsp instant coffee or espresso powder (boosts the chocolate flavour)
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp salt
280 g flour (preferably bread flour)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
90 g chocolate chips or coarsely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (optional)
70 g toasted pecans, walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)

In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the milk. Add one tablespoon sugar, then set aside in a warm place for 10 to 15 minutes, until bubbles form on the surface.
Meanwhile, melt the butter and chocolate over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.
Once the yeast mixture is frothy, mix in the remaining sugar, the instant coffee (if using), the egg, vanilla, and sea salt.
Stir in half the flour and cocoa powder, then the melted butter and chocolate, then the remaining flour mixture, stirring until well-incorporated. Mix vigorously with a flexible spatula for 5 minutes, or use a mixer for this. The dough will seem quite moist and sticky.
Cover the bowl and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours. Butter a 23 cm loaf pan.
Stir in the chopped chocolate and nuts, if using. Then use a spatula to fold the dough over on itself in the bowl for about thirty seconds, then transfer it to the buttered pan, pressing a bit to spread it to the corners. Let rise in a warm place for one hour.
Ten minutes before you’re ready to bake the bread, preheat the oven to 175C.
Bake the bread for 35 to 40 minutes, until it feels done and sounds hollow when you tap it. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

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