Believe it or not, this is not sweet chocolate cherry bread. It would be fantastic with grilled or smoked chicken or ham and honey mustard sandwiches with bread and butter pickles.
Chocolate cherry bread also makes great breakfast.
I have been perfecting a no-knead formula. Trying out different things, discovering what the dough can and can’t do has led to some interesting discoveries, such as this variation.
1. Replace 1/2 cup flour with 1/2 cup special dark cocoa
2. Hydrate 1 cup tart cherries,drain, fold the cherries into the bread after the first rise.
I mixed 1 tablespoon of cocoa into the flour used on the board when folding in the cherries. I did not line the rising baskets with cocoa, just flour.
If I keep making this, I’ll invest in some heavy linen cloth to line the baskets so the cloths will get stained from chocolate, not the baskets.
Recipe for Chocolate Cherry Bread
Makes 2 large loaves
- 6 cups bread flour
- 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
- 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
- 3 cups water
- 2 Tablespoons yeast
- 1/2 cup dried cherries, soaked in warm water at least 30 minutes
- 1/4 cup cinnamon sugar, if desired
For handling dough: Mix 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder into 1 cup of bread flour. Use this to dust the rolling surface and any sticky parts of the dough as you shape the loaves.
Combine the flour, cocoa, salt in a large bowl, stir to combine.
Warm water to 110°F sprinkle yeast on top and let bubble for 5 minutes. (This ensures the yeast is active)
Whisk the yeast and water together and pour over the flour mixture, fold until all liquid is absorbed and all flour is incorporated.
Form into a ball in the bottom of the bowl, cover with an oiled piece of cellophane wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size. This usually takes 2 hours.
Remove and sprinkle the top of the dough with cocoa/flour mixture, scrape to deflate and separate into equal balls of dough.
on a well floured surface, flatten one ball into a rectangle, sprinkle with hydrated cherries and cinnamon sugar if using, fold in thirds, sprinkle more cherries and cinnamon sugar, fold in half. Flatten the dough into another rectangle and roll into a log.
Pre-heat your oven to 450°F for 15 minutes before the bread is ready to bake.
Slash the loaves and place them into the hot oven for 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the bread reached a minimum of 190°F. Steaming is optional, if you want a crispy crust, steam is recommended. See how to add steam by reading the No Knead Bread post for a full description of baking off the loaves at home.
As I mentioned before, this bread isn’t sweet. Even if you add the cinnamon sugar, the cinnamon adds to the complex flavor of the cocoa and the cherries. Simply divine for a smoked ham or turkey sandwich with whole grain mustard, lettuce and tomato.