I’ve never wanted to be a princess.
Do you remember, as a young kid, settling into the over-stuffed couch in your parents basement, every Sunday evening at 6 pm with a buttery bowl of popcorn, eagerly awaiting for CBC (the one clear channel for those of us with Farmer Vision growing up on the prairies) to start it’s weekly Walt Disney episode?
It was never the fate of the damsel in distress that captivated me. I liked the tough girls. The girls that jumped their horses over fallen trees and weren’t scared when their horses spooked and ran for miles, riding without a saddle or bit and bridle (thanx a lot Dot). Girls that had witty one-liners and bossy, bad-ass attitudes. The scheming girls who went after what they wanted. Girls that had no interest in being rescued by some uber macho knight. I admired the girls that rescued themselves.
I was never called Princess either. Not by my Dad. Not by my (boy)friends. I was called Miss Blue or Trixie. I had skinned knees, climbed trees and could hands down, beat my brother in a water gun fight. Still could, but don’t tell him.
I think the mischief-makers have more fun. They have a twinkle in their eye and a sense of adventure. Maybe that’s why I was drawn to this chocolate bread. It’s not a pound cake. Or a snack bread. It’s not your typical, obey-all-the-rules, whole wheat and healthy bread. It’s a dark, nefarious yeast bread. It’s chocolatey and really not good for you. Just a little bit villainous and unexpected like the aforementioned girls with a sassy individuality…
- 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
- 1/2 C unsalted butter
- 2 C lukewarm water
- 1 -1/2 Tbsp granulate yeast (NOT quick rise)
- 1-1/2 Tbsp Kosher salt
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2/3 C honey
- 5-1/2 C unbleached flour
- 1 C cocoa
- 5 oz. finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
- butter for greasing the pan
- sanding sugar for sprinkling on top of the loaf
- Melt 4 oz. chocolate and butter stirring until smooth. Set aside
- Place water, yeast, salt, eggs and honey in a large bowl. Gently stir. Mix in the flour, cocoa, 5 oz. finely chopped chocolate and melted chocolate/butter. Mix together until there are no lumps of flour. Cover (not with an air tight lid) and let rest for about two hours.
- Divide the dough in half to make two breads. If you are not baking both loaves at one, freeze one for later use. The dough will be very stiff and not very stretchy because of all the butter and chocolate. Unlike “regular” bread this does not mean your dough is too dry.
- Grease a 9″x5″ loaf pan and sprinkle lightly with granulated sugar. Sugar helps the loaf pop out of the pan later and does not give the loaf a chalky-white appearance like a dusting of flour would. Place one of the dough halves into the pan and press into a smooth shape. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 1 hour 45 minutes or up to 2.5 hours if your kitchen is cool and drafty. The dough will not rise a lot.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Sprinkle dough liberally with sanding sugar.
- Bake in the center of your oven for 45-50 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes on a baking rack before removing from the pan to cool completely.
- Eat with peanut butter or jam, and a big dollop of cream cheese. Try it toasted for breakfast. How about a sharp cheddar cheese and apple sandwich for lunch. Maybe in a bread pudding for dessert….
*If you have frozen the bread dough, remove from the freezer, let come to room temperature then place in greased loaf pan, let rise up to 2.5 hours. Bake as per instructions above.
- For a sweeter bread use a sweeter chocolate.
- That’s all. It’s easy. Make it.