The minute I saw this post on David Lebovitz’s wonderful blog, I knew I had to make Chocolate Bread. I mean, how could I resist? Chocolate bread? What a great idea. Not a new one, even to me, but this recipe was both relatively straight-forward and annotated with lots of notes about each ingredient choice. I was hooked.
Of course, I had some questions to answer first. DL recommends using a Dutch process cocoa powder and I wanted to use my current favorite, Green and Black’s Organic Cocoa. Was it “Dutched” (aka alkalized)?” Yes.
DL also calls for bread flour (though he says all-purpose will do in a pinch) so I replenished my supply of King Arthur bread flour (it turned out I had some sitting around, but since I wasn’t sure how old it was, getting fresh flour was a good idea).
DL’s recipe cites toasted nuts as an optional ingredient. Being a resident of Portland, where I can get freshly roasted hazelnuts at the Farmer’s Market most of the year, I chose to add those incredibly tasty nuts to this batch.
Finally I bought and chopped some Scharffen Berger 70% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate.
Ingredients assembled, I waded in. The dough came together easily in my mixer, looking (as DL mentions) almost like brownie batter when fully mixed — very soft and not at all like most bread dough.
After a couple of rises (2 hours in the bowl, just over an hour in a loaf pan) I slid the bread into the oven.
And, oh! the smell. Better than bread alone, better even than brownies baking, my whole kitchen was filled with the warm scent of chocolate and the yeasty smell of bread — a combination almost impossible to describe. The scent alone makes baking this bread worth it.
Of course it tastes pretty darn good, too!
So far, we’ve eaten it plain (yes, I admit, warm from the oven), smeared with this incredible cultured butter from the Monteillet Fromagerie,
and most, recently, toasted and topped with vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries.
My conclusion? This bread was definitely worth the effort. I recommend you give it a try, too.