A Southern Grace: studly chocolate bread

January 27, 2008

studly chocolate bread


Yep, you read right—my bread is studly.

It was time to feed Ebenezer again (he's so demanding!), so I set out to find a fun and exciting sourdough recipe to test. Ideally, the end product would be worthy of TasteSpotting, but that wasn’t my main goal.

Yeah, I'm lying. That was my main goal.

I found oodles of recipes, but finally decided on this one. After all, it's National Chocolate Cake Day, and this is kinda cake-ish...

Anyway, I had all the ingredients on hand:

Yes, I used regular pepper. Gasp, shudder, cringe. I was afraid that fresh-cracked would be too much, plus I hate to waste things. Even cheap-o boring pepper.

The very first step was to feed Ebie, as I did here. He was a hungry beast once again, but who wouldn't be after two weeks of fasting?

Next I had to rehydrate some cranberries, which I did by boiling some water in the microwave, pouring it over them, and letting them plump up for about 15 minutes:

In the meantime, I chopped up the luscious chocolate…

…and combined the dry ingredients in my big bowl:

That’s only 3 ½ cups of flour, which is what the original recipe called for. I can understand when bread recipes go a little light with the flour amounts to allow for additions here and there, but come on! I ended up putting in about twice that! It wasn’t even close! Ay-yi-yi.

Anyway, when the cranberries were satisfied, I kept their wonderfully-infused water and added more water to hit 1 ½ cups. This went into the dry ingredients, as did ol' Eb.

The original recipe commanded that the dough be kneaded (in a mixer) for 10 to 12 minutes. As we know, I currently do not have a mixer, much less a kneading hook, so I got quite a workout…

Poor, poor hand.

Finally, after much adding of flour and laborious stirring, I had a satisfactory dough:

I turned it out on the floured counter, kneaded it a bit more, and stretched it out. I dumped the cranberries on one end…

…and folded the dough over:

I stretched it again and added the chocolate…

…and kneaded and rolled and stretched and folded until everything was evenly distributed:

See the studs? Hence the name.

Hunks of chocolate. Mmm. Hunka hunka burnin’ love...

Where was I? Ah, yes, my studly dough was now ready to rise, so I placed it in a greased bowl, rolled it around, covered it, and set it aside to grow.

Ebenezie didn’t let me down:

After the dough had doubled (I ended up letting mine rest for about 6 hours), I gave it a good punch, split it in two, kneaded each half a bit, and placed them into greased loaf pans:

It was time to rise once again, so I went ahead and stuck them in the oven and left them alone for another 3 hours.

With my oven at 425 degrees, I baked the bread for about 40 minutes and let it cool on a rack:

Looks good from here.

This angle’s not too shabby, either.

What does one eat on a piece of chocolate bread studded with cranberries and more chocolate, you ask? I had blueberry preserves, and it was deeeeeeeelightful:

Sigh. I don't have a lot of confidence in this one, folks. I guess I need to accept the fact that bread is just not photogenic. It had to be done, though--Ebenezer must be fed regularly or he'll kick the bucket.

But come on, TasteSpotting, give a girl a chance!!

Studly Chocolate Bread
1 c dried cranberries (I used orange-flavored craisins)
½ c water

1 ½ c Ebenezer
1 ½ c lukewarm cranberry water and water

5 c bread flour (probably more)
¾ c cocoa powder
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 c dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

Bring water to a boil, add cranberries, and leave to cool for about 15 minutes. Drain the cranberries, reserving the liquid. Add enough water to bring the volume up to 1 ½ cups.
Place Ebenezer, water, and dry ingredients into a bowl and stir to combine. Knead for 10 to 12 minutes, adding flour as needed, until the dough is smooth, silky, and elastic.
Add the drained cranberries and chocolate to the dough, and continue kneading until the cranberries are evenly distributed. This may take some hand kneading to complete.
Put the dough into an oiled bowl, and turn the dough to cover it. Cover and allow to rise in warm place until approximately doubled.
Punch down and turn out onto lightly floured work area. Gently pull and stretch the dough into two small loaves and place in sprayed loaf pans.
Cover and allow to rise until approximately doubled.
Preheat the oven to 425F. Bake the bread 40 to 45 minutes and cool on a rack.

Disclaimer: Do not eat immediately, as this may result in burnt fingers, tongue, or roof of the mouth.


Anonymous said...

Hi! Wow just reading what you went through to make your bread about wore me out! Quite the production! It looked yummy and unique.