Search This Blog

Friday, March 20, 2009

Foodie Friday - Aspirations and Chocolate Cherry Bread

I have aspirations, y’all. I aspire to do so many things… especially in the area of cooking. Many of which I didn’t realize I had until I had two kids, and a job to keep me pretty darn busy outside of the kitchen. But I have recently reached a place in life where I have felt that I could begin to really cook again.

I realized this recently and decided that I needed to try to begin making some of those aspirations into reality. So I’ve been trying a lot of new recipes lately. I haven’t blogged all of them because quite honestly some of them have busted… flat.

And that’s not figuratively speaking.

One of my aspirations is to bake bread. Lots of it. Because bread and I have a special relationship and qualities that compliment one another. Bread is good to eat and I like to eat it. We go great together, you see. This is only one of my many culinary aspirations but one I felt like I could fairly immediately begin to achieve. Gluten, yeast and I were going to become good pals.

Or not.

Actually my first attempts at yeast usage went well. I made these Black Forest buns which turned out pretty darn incredible. In fact, they ended up as big as my hand...

Come in closer for a good look... Don't you wish blogs had scratch and sniff capability? I do, because these smelled wonderful.

Then I made some other cinnamon rolls which were a recipe from a new cookbook that I found one day at the grocery store. The actual bread making part went fine, but then the taste was a bit off. I realized as I placed the rolls in the oven that the recipe in the book itself omitted any salt whatsoever.


At least it wasn’t me omitting the ingredients this time.

All of that yeasty baking was going so well that I decided to start down the road of actual loaf of bread baking by trying my hand at sourdough bread. I made my starter and was just giddy with excitement when it smelled so nice and sour by only day two of sitting on my counter top. But then, I had, no kidding, 3 loaves just sit there and do nothing. Didn’t rise. They stayed, well, flat.

It’s been a little bit frustrating this week.

But amidst all of that, I had one {kind of} success as I made some Chocolate Cherry Bread which is a recipe I’ve been searching for and trying to develop in my mind ever since we tried some from Central Market in February. I found a similar recipe on the King Arthur Flour site and just adapted it to my tastes. And speaking of taste, it tasted really incredible; even if it did stick to the bottom of the pan like stink on a 13 year old boy’s gym socks.

Ewww. I can’t even believe I said that.

Oh, wait, yes I can.

But it was good enough that we just chowed down on it right out of the pan. I think I have figured a way around the sticking issue, but have not had a chance to test it yet.

So. After all that, the one recipe I feel comfortable sharing with you all today is the Chocolate Cherry Bread. Because it is, after all, Chocolate Friday with my friend Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates.

To see the complete recipe with pictures, click here.

3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) rye flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 3/4 cups (14 ounces) cool water (about 80 degrees F)
3/4 cup (3 1/4 ounces) dried cherries
1/2 cup (3 ounces) chocolate chips

Place the dried cherries in water to hydrate and plump them up for several minutes before beginning the mixing.

Mix flours, salt, yeast, and water in a large bowl, using paddle attachment at first and switching to dough hook when it gets too thick. Add cherries and chocolate chips. Stir well to make a very soft dough, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rest at room temperature overnight, or for at least 12 hours; the dough will become bubbly and puffy.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and fold it onto itself a few times. Let it rest 15 minutes, then form it into a ball. Place it in a lightly greased bowl, smooth side down. Cover and let rise at room temperature about 2 hours, until a slight indentation remains when poked with a finger.

During the last 30 minutes of rising, preheat the oven to 450°F and place a bread crock (or a heavy, 4- to 4 1/2-quart oven-safe pot) in the oven while it heats. When the dough is risen, remove the crock from the oven, and turn the dough out of the bowl and onto a sheet of parchment paper. Lift parchment paper by the sides (like a sling) and place into the crock; the smooth side of the bread should be facing up. Shake the crock gently to settle the dough, then cover with the lid and return to the oven.

Bake the bread for 20 minutes, then remove the lid and continue to bake another 25 to 40 minutes, until the bread is deep brown in color and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers about 205°F.

Remove the crock from the oven, again lift out the parchment paper like a sling and turn the bread onto a rack, and cool before slicing.


Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates said...

Yum! So glad you linked this up! Sounds wonderful! So the parchment paper is the solution to the sticking? Sounds like a good idea.

Those cinnamon rolls look great too - even though you didn't share any.

Courtney said...

Dont mind me wandering through your kitchen.... Im just sniffin' - honest. Would a carboaddict lie to you?! :)