What can I say... chocolate and bread. *sigh*
Decadent Chocolate Cherry Bread
Yield: 2 loaves
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup very warm water (105° - 115°F)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup warm brewed coffee (90°F or less)
1 large egg, separated
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup dried sour cherries
Place yeast and water in a large bowl. Stir with a fork to dissolve yeast and allow to stand for 3 minutes.
Whisk sugar, flour, cocoa powder and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Stir coffee, egg yolk and butter into yeast mixture. Gradually add flour mixture, stirring until a shaggy mass forms and flour is moistened. If dough feels stiff, add 2 tablespoons of water. It should be moist and sticky. Move dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 7 to 8 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Shape into a loose ball, cover with plastic wrap and let rest about 10 minutes.
Flatten dough and stretch gently with your fingers to form a rectangle about an inch thick. Spread chopped chocolate and dried cherries evenly over dough. Fold into thirds like a business letter, then knead 2 to 3 minutes until the pieces of chocolate and cherries are well distributed. Shape dough into a loose ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl, along with any loose chocolate and cherries. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in volume, 1 to 2 hours.
Line 12" x 17" baking sheet with parchment paper. Gently pour dough onto lightly floured work surface, pressing any loose chocolate or cherries into dough. Divide dough into 2 equal pieces. Pull corners towards the center and press down in the middle to gather dough, turn dough over and seal shut by rotating closure against the counter to tighten the ball and form a seal. Be careful not to tear it as you are shaping it. Place one loaf on each end of prepared baking sheet allowing several inches between them. Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until doubled in volume.
About 15 minutes before baking, place one oven rack in top third of oven and another in bottom third. Preheat to 400°F.
When loaves have doubled, mix egg white with 1 teaspoon water. Brush each loaf gently with egg wash being sure to coat entire surface. Gently cut a small cross shape on top of each loaf but be careful not to deflate loaf. Place pan on top oven rack. Using a plant sprayer, mist top and sides of oven 6 to 8 times, and quickly close oven door.
Bake for 12 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350°F and rotate pan from top to bottom and front to back to ensure even baking. Bake for 12 to 20 minutes, or until tops of loaves feel firm but not hard when you press them slightly, and the bottoms are lightly browned. Loaves should have a thin, soft coating, not a hard, crunchy crust. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before serving.
Source: AMY'S BREAD - NYC/Dishesdone
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