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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Chocolate Bread



It began as a reverie which featured chocolate bread in many guises. First there was French toast, then bread pudding and, finally, a stray slice waiting for a smear of hazelnut spread. Cinnamon toast and chocolate bread were the snack du jour of my childhood. They disappeared as wartime rationing ended and the economy improved, but you've missed a slice of Americana if you've never tried them. Cinnamon toast is easy to recreate, but I haven't seen chocolate bread in years. I decided to make my own. The bread of my childhood wasn't sweet. It was yeasty with a chocolaty flavor that came from unsweetened cocoa powder. It looked like a loaf of whole wheat bread, but it had a vague taste of chocolate that was especially pronounced in its crust. On special occasions grated chocolate would be added to the dry ingredients and the dough would be rolled into a rectangle and sprinkled with more chocolate before being formed into a loaf. My plan was to make the simplest version of the recipe. I had a vague recollection of the enhanced bread being sticky and difficult to work and I didn't want to spoil my remembrance of things past. I used a beginners bread recipe and added good cocoa powder to it. The next time I make this I'll use coffee as the liquid to give the bread better color. This is a simple recipe that would be great for beginning bread bakers. We've just had it "buttered" with hazelnut spread and plan to use what's left for a chocolate bread pudding. Here's the recipe for those of you who are tempted to give it a try.

Chocolate Bread

Ingredients:
4 cups unbleached flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons brown sugar (light or dark)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups warm water

Directions:
1) Place flour, cocoa, salt and yeast if a large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine ingredients.
2) Pour in warm water and oil. Mix with a wooden spoon to form a dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. An electric mixer with a dough hook can also be used. If using an electric mixer, mix at medium speed until dough leaves sides of bowl and begins to climb the hook.
3) Place dough in a greased bowl, turning once to coat both sides. Cover, let rise until double in volume, about 1 hour.
4) Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a loaf. Place in a lightly greased 2-quart bread pan. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
5) While dough completes final rise, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake risen loaf for 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Yield: 1 loaf.

I'm sending this recipe to Susan at Wild Yeast for her weekly Yeast Spotting event.

24 comments:

Susan said...

Oh my goodness..bread and chocolate the two foods of the gods all rolled into one. Who wouldn't want to try it?

Mary said...

Bless you, Susan!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

It's the childhood foods like this that keep us young don't you think ;o)
Really lovely crumb Mary.

Mary said...

I really do agree Tanna. Welcome home! The airport sounded like a nightmare. Hugs and sympathy!

the ungourmet said...

I have had this a couple of times and it's really great! I like that the chocolate flavor can be tasted but it isn't sweet. Thanks for posting you recipe!

Natashya said...

Mmmm, cocoa in bread - must make awesome toast!

Katy ~ said...

I've had all kinds of bread, but not chocolate bread. And with hazelnut spread, well that would just be a pure slice of heaven. Great idea! Thanks for sharing such a tasty post!

Donna-FFW said...

Chocolate bread, lord can it get any better.. sounds delicious, I thik the coffee would be a wonderful addition.

Selba said...

I love eating this kind of chocolate bread :)

Just wonder why a chocolate bread need 1 teaspoon of kosher salt?

Mary said...

Selba, I salt all my breads. This is not a sweet bread and I think salt improves the flavor of all flour products. I use small amounts of salt in my cakes as well.

haleysuzanne said...

This sounds delightful and unusual. My husband would be delighted to see this appear for breakfast!

Laura said...

This looks really interesting--what does cocoa have to do with wartime rationing? Was it easier to get than flour?

noble pig said...

Oh my with Nutella....yum.

Mary said...

Laura, what a terrific question. Neither flour or chocolate were rationed, but eggs, butter and sugar were. It was not easy to get chocolate but it was not rationed. That meant we didn't have a lot of true sweets as children. Once that trio of pantry staples became readily available, war time treats were replaced with some of the more traditional desserts and pastries we enjoy today. The chocolate bread did not use large amounts of sugar, shortening or eggs. Cinnamon toast used just a sprinkling of sugar and margarine that we mixed color into to was used to butter the toast. Many people used apple butter as a replacement for butter on their morning toast.

The Cooking Photographer said...

Hi Mary.

This looks much like the chocolate bread I remember baking as a young college student. I completely forgot about it until you posted this.

It's interesting how memories resurface sometimes.

girlichef said...

This sounds so interesting...and good. I don't think I've ever had chocolate bread before (I'd love to try it!).

Hootin' Anni said...

Bud will love this recipe. It'll be a special treat for him when I try it. You're so kind to share such wonderful creations.

Lynda said...

Oh my, chocolate bread sounds too good to be true! I remember cinnamon toast and loved it, so, I know this would be yummy too!

Lori said...

I think I would love to try this. Thats how you get your chocolate in without tons of fat. Yum Mary.

flmom said...

This sounds divine, but I think I'd inhale the entire thing all by myself! :)

Susan/Wild Yeast said...

I love unsweet chocolate bread! And I think the coffee would add nice flavor as well as color too.

Jamie said...

What a beautiful bread! There is a recipe for an "unsweet"chocolate bread in an Italian dessert book I have, and apparently it is eaten accompanied by mascarpone cheese and a glass of red wine. It looks divine and I have wanted to make it for ages, but I think that I'll try yours instead. And, ah, I so love the wonderful thing this bread invokes for you!

Tawny said...

Now that sounds like my kind of bread!

Rita said...

Gotta try this. I wonder if they sell dark chocolate powder.
Rita

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