Sunday, October 3, 2010

Pane al Cioccolato

Chocolate Bread! What bliss is this?

As I drove these loaves, fresh from the oven, to the farmer's market last Saturday, my entire car filled with the most delicious melted chocolate smell. I lovingly assigned these loaves to the front of our booth; a prominent position next to the cinnamon rolls. It was very hard to stop myself from caressing the dark brown crust dusted with streaks of flour in front of the customers.

I cut a loaf open under the pretense of offering a taste to customers (but really, I couldn't help myself any longer.) And chocolate bread is exactly what this is. I know, I know, I'm being obvious here- but it wasn't so chocolately that it seemed like dessert, and it was definitely bread texture- but all chocolate taste.

Let's talk about the possibilities for chocolate bread, people:
1. Toasted for breakfast with coffee or chai. (oh, go ahead, spread on some butter.)
2. Peanut butter sandwich! (banana optional)
3. Spread with Nutella and sprinkle with berries.
4. If (unlikely) some of this bread should be left after a few days, make chocolate bread pudding!

The recipe is from an amazing blog I found called Apple Pie, Patis and Pate. The author of the blog creates amazing international dishes, and (most impressive to me) bread with beautiful irregular holes and lovely slashes.

kneaded final dough

Chocolate Bread, from Apple Pie, Patis and Pate.

Make the wild yeast starter first:
1 oz sourdough starter (50% hydration)*
1/4 cup (1.125 oz) bread flour
.625 oz water

Stir thoroughly and let ferment at room temperature for 8 hrs.

*If you need to make a sourdough started, here is a link to Peter Reinhart's instructions.)

Make the Final Dough:
All of the wild yeast starter, cut into pieces
3 cups (13.875 oz) bread flour
1 1/8 cup (8.75 oz) water
4 Tbs (2.5 oz) honey
1 Tbs vanilla
4 Tbs (.875 oz) cocoa powder
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 Tbs (.375 oz) kosher salt
2.75 oz chocolate chips (don't add these until the end of the kneading, after the gluten is developed. Add too early, and the gluten will be inhibited and the chocolate chips will melt into the dough)

Mix everything (but the chocolate chips) together, and knead for 8-10 minutes. Rest for 5 minutes. Add the chocolate chips and knead until evenly distributed. If using a mixer, knead by hand for a minute at the end.

shaped chocolate loaves; i quadrupled this recipe

Place the finished dough in a large oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for two hours at room temperature.

At the end of this time, divide the dough into two pieces, about a pound each. Shape each into a loose ball and let rest for 20-30 minutes.

Next, shape into the final loaf- either a boule or batard. (here is a nice video on batard shaping) Finally, proof at room temperature for 3 hours on the pan you plan to bake on.

partial truckload of bread for the market

About 30 minutes before the end of proofing, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. When ready to bake, take a sharp knife or a razor blade or lame, and make two or three slashes down the length of the bread. Load the bread into the oven and create steam by pouring a cup of hot water into a separate pan, or by spraying the walls of the oven with water. Bake for 35-40 minutes, rotating the loaves once. Let cool for an hour before slicing.

Chocolate Bread Madness!

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