Sunday, January 22, 2006

Pane alla Cioccolata

Sunday is traditionally bread baking day at our house. Dieter spends his day in the kitchen doting over his doughs with love and the house fills with the warm aroma of freshly baked bread. This Sunday's bread was particularly surprising a "Pane alla Cioccolata" (Chocolate Bread) from the book "The Italian Baker" by Carol Field. The recipe is on page 212 in the "Lightly Sweetened Breads" section. When I tasted the slightly warm bread with softened chocolate chunks, I was subtly reminded of eating a chocolate croissant, but the bread was not nearly as sweet. Carol Field says to eat the bread with Masacarpone cheese, a glass of red wine, or a cup of coffee. This bread really gets your oohhs and ahhs going.

Pane alla Cioccolata
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons (1pkg) active dry yeast
    or 1 small cake (18 grams) fresh yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 4 1/2 cups (600) grams unleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (125 grams) sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
  • 2 teaspoons (10 grams) salt
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

    makes 2 round or oval loaves

    These are the directions for making this bread by hand, for directions on making the dough by mixer and by food processor consult "The Italian Baker" by Carol Field.

    Stir the yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar into 1/3 cup plus 1 table spon water in a large mixing bowl; let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Mix the flour, 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, the cocoa, and salt. Stir 11/4 cups water, the egg yolk, and butter into the dissolved yeast; then stir in the flour mixture, 1 cup at a time. Stir in the chocolate chips last. Knead on a lightly floured surface until velvety, elastic, and moist, 8 to 10 minutes.

    first rise: Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, about 2 hours.

    shaping and second rise: Punch the dough down and cut in half on a lightly floured surface. Shape each piece into a round loaf and place on an oiled baking sheet. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

    baking: Heat the oven to 450 degrees F. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees F and b bake 30 minutes longer. Cool completely on a rack.

    Because the bread is dark and contains sugar, it is difficult to tell if it is burning. My suggestion is to retrieve the loaf at 20 minutes and thump the bottom. It it sounds hollow the bread is done. If not, put the loaf back in the oven for 5 or 10 minutes. Watch over this bread like a mother hen. And of course if you have a convection oven, the time would be reduced greatly.

    Regarding the chocolate, use your favorite dark chocolate and break it up in the food processor or by some other means to get a variety of chunk sizes. This bread is best eaten within three days, after that it dries out quickly. Freeze the other loaf or treat your friends. If it dries a bit just put a slice in the microwave for about 9 seconds or just until the chocolate softens and slather with butter.

    Related Tags: , , , , ,

    Rocky said...

    Wow, that sounds really good!

    Joe said...

    Beautiful Bread!