Friday, April 4, 2014

Yeasted Chocolate Bread

       Some of you know that I was misdiagnosed with Celiacs the week before I left for college. I moved out to Colorado (thankfully the land of people wanting to convert every recipe to gluten free) and started to re-learn food. There were weeks at the beginning I ate a lot of corn tortillas-some of those weeks were because I didn't exactly know everything I could eat, and some of those weeks were because I was to poor to afford ridiculously expensive gluten free bread.
       I was not much of a cook before this time, but due to a series of events in my life, I started to enter the kitchen more. Being gluten free was a big factor. I did not want to go the rest of my life without eating a delicious x, y, or z. (Let's be honest, most gluten free things at the store are less than stellar.) So my task began, and I simultaneously began my journey to trying to learn gluten free and high-altitude baking. In all honesty, it was fun and I'll probably share some of what I learned with you guys another time. However, this is my post in praise of gluten. After about 3 1/2 strict, no slip up, gluten free years, it was discovered that I did not have Celiacs. I went out for a sandwich with crusty, multigrain bread and an almond croissant, and nearly cried with happiness.
        Getting to eat gluten again has been one of the most wonderful discoveries of my life. I still eat things I had not had in years and it is so exciting. I will never, ever, take advantage of the ability to bake and taste test my gluten-filled things because its freaking awesome, and to be honest it gives you a lot more range. There are some things that just cannot be duplicated (phyllo dough, croissants, ect.) gluten free. Getting to eat it and bake with it is a blessing and not something I will ever take for granted.
        I have to tell you guys, two of my favorite things in the world are Bread and Beer. (Yes, capitalized because they are truly almighty food for me!) Yes, I know they make gluten free beer and bread, but it is just not the same. 
        This bread is an ode of my appreciation to being free to be able to eat whatever I would like. It is yeasted, fluffy, and delicious. It is packed with an extremely rich chocolate flavor from Dutch processed cocoa powder, semisweet chocolate chips, and chopped bittersweet chocolate. It is sweet, and decadently creamy to the point where it is like you are almost eating warm ice cream because it seems to simply melt in your mouth. You can put a spot of butter on your piece, but seriously, even on its own-simple, sliced thick, warm out of the oven, this bread is heaven. The soft dough center is like a gentle chocolate pillow and the varieties of chocolate strewed within add a complexity and a serious depth of flavor. This is unlike any bread I have ever had, and it definitely deserves the title of an ode of my appreciation.
Adapted from "Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook" by Cheryl and Griffith Day

Makes one 10x4 inch loaf (you can use a 9x5)

2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1/4 C Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/3 C granulated sugar
1 1/4 TSP active-dry yeast
1-11/4 C warm water
6 TBSP unsalted butter, cubed, room temperature
1 TSP fine salt
1/2 C semisweet chips
1/2 C chopped bittersweet chocolate
Granulated sugar for sprinkling
1 TBSP whole milk 
A dash of vanilla extract

Ingredient notes: This loaf is absolutely lovely as is. However, if you wanted to mix it up some, I think the zest of an orange, a TBSP of a hazelnut or raspberry liqueur, a TSP of a fun extract or 1/2 C of nuts would all be wonderful!

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a dough hook attachment, combine the flour, cocoa powder, 1/3 sugar, and yeast. Turn the mixer on low and slowly add in the water to the mixture. (Yours may only take the 1 C so start with that, at altitude it will likely take more. Add the last 1/4 C only if necessary and only as much as is needed to wet the flour mixture). Mix for 3 minutes. Turn off the mixer and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.
2. After 20 minutes, add the cubed butter and salt and mix on medium speed until the dough comes together and the sides of the bowl are clean (about 5 minutes) and the dough has developed a sheen appearance. It is sticky and you may need to scrape off the sides once or twice to help it incorporate everything.
3. Turn the speed back down to low and add the chocolate chips, kneading for 1-2 minutes until the chips are distributed. 
4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, form it into a round loaf and place it into an mixing bowl coated in a vegetable or canola oil, seem side down. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rise in a warm spot for 1 1/2-2 hours, until it has doubled in size.
5. Get out your loaf pan and sprinkle the bottom a small amount of granulated sugar. Next, turn the dough back out onto a floured surface and form in into an 8x6 loaf. With the long side towards you, roll it into a cylinder and place it into the loaf pan, seem side down. Loosely cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and allow it to double in size again (about 1 1/2 hours). 
    * I placed mine covered in the fridge over night for a slow rise. The next morning I took it out while the oven preheated and allowed it to rise for about 30-40 minutes at room temperature. This is a great option if you do not have time to do it all in one day or what the bread warm in the morning). 
6. After about 1 hour into the second rise, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 350F. After the dough has finished rising, remove the plastic wrap. Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a small bowl and stir together. Brush the vanilla milk over the bread and then sprinkle the top with a touch of granulated sugar. 
7. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes and then allow the bread to cool on a rack for 30 minutes before inverting. Slice and enjoy some warm! It will last about 3 days, wrapped up. It makes great toast as well :)

Yay, Gluten! Yay, Bread!

   Boulder Butter

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