Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Chocolate Bread



Chocolate Bread, originally uploaded by Points North.
Well, over a month ago, I saw this tweet from David Lebovitz, an American pastry chef in Paris: It's like chocolate cake, only breader!

The pun was irresistible. I had to check it out. Like Cook's Illustrated magazine, he shows through yummy photographs and writes about the steps he took to perfect his chocolate bread recipe and what the dough should look like along the way. I had to make it. But I was in the middle of a screenplay-writing frenzy, and then a heat wave hit, and who wanted to turn on the oven in the middle of that, and then the memory of that recipe faded -- until a few days ago. The weather was perfect, the need to bake intense, and I pulled the recipe up on my browser. Thank goodness I had favourited Lebovitz's long-ago April tweet.

I pulled out all the ingredients, checked which chocolates I had in stock. I didn't have enough semisweet. But no matter. I like the depth of bittersweet, and the Cuisine Camino one has yummy cherry notes in it, something I'd never tasted so clearly in chocolate before (it must be the combination of organic and fair trade or maybe they got a talented head chocolatier). But then I worried that would make too strong a chocolate taste, and so I chopped up milk chocolate for the chunks that are folded in after the first rise.

It's a soft dough, he said. I wondered what that meant. It meant it's kneaded right in the bowl, or rather folded by a big spatula. No transferring to the counter; no having to put back in an oiled bowl. An all-in-one process! As usual, I let it rise longer than the recipe. First, because I used only whole wheat flour. I've discovered -- maybe because of Canada's terrible food laws governing what is whole wheat -- that Bob's Red Mill Stone Ground whole wheat flour has a high gluten content that gives bread a wonderful rise. And second, it was a bit coolish in my kitchen. This bread actually doesn't rise much, which can be a bit perturbing.

But after the two rises and the last rise in the oven, it comes out with a nice crumb, a melting texture, oozing chunks of chocolate (or smooth chocolate pieces when fully cooled). It comes out the perfect, irresistible snack.

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