Yes, you read correctly. Chocolate prune bread. A yeasted loaf of bread that has the deep, delicious flavour of chocolate with the soft sweetness of prunes. (A much maligned fruit that is now enjoying a resurgence in popularity and for good reason- they are delicious!)
You can mix up the dough and let it have its first rise one day, put the dough into the fridge and bring it out in a day or two to make your loaves. A technique developed by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., and Zoë François and published in their Artisan Breads in 5 Minutes a Day series of cookbooks.
I found the recipe well laid out and easy to follow. My dough didn't rise much but had decent oven spring. The crumb is tender and bready and chocolatey.
I suggest eating it with a smear of butter or cream cheese and having it with your morning coffee or tea with a piece of fruit. Damned good breakie. Of course I guess you could always reach for the Nutella if you are feeling in serious need of extreme chocolate.
This is a simple and fun bread that has delicious results, and it is also a great introduction to the 5 minute a day approach to baking.
Thank you Bread Baking Babe Jamie for organizing this challenge. If you would like to participate in this month's challenge, check out Jamie's post and participation instructions.
Ready, set, bake!
This recipe is from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (revised & updated edition) by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., and Zoë François http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/
According to Zoë and Jeff, this bread goes really well with either a glass of milk or… a glass of Armagnac (of course… prunes and Armagnac!). If you make the full recipe for the Chocolate Bread dough, what can you do with the other half that you don’t add prunes to? How about some imagination!
CHOCOLATE BREAD DOUGH RECIPE (Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bread)
Makes two 2-pound loaves. This recipe is easily doubled or halved.
2 ½ cups (565 ml) lukewarm water (100°F or below)
¾ cup (170 ml) vegetable oil
1 Tbs (0.35 oz / 10 g) granulated yeast
1 to 1 ½ Tbs (17 to 25 g) kosher salt – * use less if using fine table salt, more if using coarse salt
1 cup (7 ounces / 200 g) sugar
5 ½ cups (1 pound, 11 ½ ounces / 780 g) all-purpose flour
¾ cup (3 ounces / 85 g) dark, unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ cups (6 ounces / 170 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips - * can omit (for the chocolate prune bread you will be adding chocolate, the amount changes depending upon whether or not you added chocolate chips to the dough at this point)
Mixing and storing the dough:
Mix the oil, yeast, salt and sugar with the water in a 6-quart bowl or a lidded (not airtight) food container.
Mix in the flour, cocoa powder and the chocolate chips without kneading, using a spoon or heavy-duty stand mixer (with paddle). If you are not using the machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.
Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours.
The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle with cold. Refrigerate the container of dough and use over the next 5 days. Beyond the 5 days, freeze the dough in 1-pound (about 450 g) portions in airtight containers for up to 4 weeks. When using frozen dough, thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours before using, then allow the usual rest and rise time.
Chocolate Prune Bread:
Makes one 1 ½ pound loaf
1 ½ pounds (about 680 g – the size of a small cantaloupe) of the Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bread dough Softened unsalted butter for greasing the pan
2 ounces (55 g) high-quality bittersweet chocolate - * use 6 ounces (170 g) if you did not add chocolate chips to the original Chocolate Bread Dough
¾ cup chopped pitted prunes
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 Tbs water)
¼ cup (50 g) sugar for sprinkling over the top of the bread and preparing the pan
On baking day, generously grease an 8 ½ x 4 ½ - inch (22 x 11 ½ cm approx) nonstick loaf pan with butter, sprinkle some sugar evenly over the butter and shake the pan to distribute.
Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1 ½ pound piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a ½ - inch-thick (scant 1 ½ cm) rectangle. As you roll out the dough, use enough flour to prevent it from sticking to the work surface but not so much as to make the dough dry.
Sprinkle the chocolate and chopped prunes over the dough and roll up the dough jelly-roll style to enclose them. Fold the dough over itself several times, turning and pressing it down with the heel of your hand after each turn. This will work the chocolate and prunes into the dough; some may poke through.
With very wet hands, form the dough into a loaf shape and place it into the prepared pan. Allow to rest and rise for 90 minutes, loosely covered with plastic wrap.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). A baking stone is not required and omitting it shortens the preheat.
Using a pastry brush, paint the top of the loaf with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake the loaf in the center of the oven for 50 to 60 minutes until firm. Smaller or larger loaves with require adjustments to baking time.
Remove the bread from the pan and allow to cool on a rack before slicing and eating.