Thursday, October 15, 2009

World Bread Day 2009 - YES WE BAKE

This year the theme for World Bread Day...TODAY!... is Yes We Bake.

THE ROUNDUP CAN BE FOUND HERE...Lots of great breads from all over the world!

Get past any fear of yeast and of baking...and even of bread...all those carbs...because bread can be a good part of your day and diet.

For a very, very long time most of our ancestors consumed a lot of fruits, berries, veggies, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Meat and fish were enjoyed in quantity when they were available, and in tiny amounts when they were scarce. So we, in general, are kind of hard wired to do well with this kind of diet.

We are in the final weeks of harvest here in Northern California. This past weekend I brought in lots of ripe tomatoes, most of them smaller than the summer tomatoes, but still juicy and delicious. I harvested dark and light purple eggplant, beans, basil, and the last of the beautiful blue bachelor buttons. Even the zucchini is slowing down...but seeing as I've had zucchini since May that is hardly surprising. The chard seems to be putting out new growth a plenty, but chard likes the cooler weather. The walnuts are ready to bring in to be cracked and used in all manner of winter breads and muffins and cookies. My solitary pumpkin is almost ripe, too. It's going to be sad to rip out all of the plants that have given so much food over the past months, but before we know it the rains will be here and new seeds will sprout, including sweet peas. Nature's cycle rolling on.

With the rain beating on the windows and the fire going, I decided to bake something really different for World Bread Day. It even has the antioxidant powers of chocolate!

In preparation for this great annual event, I looked through countless books, magazines, blogs and recipe sites. I wanted to make something that challenged me a bit. While I was looking through a wonderful book, The Italian Baker, by Carol Field, published in 1985, I noticed that she had a recipe for a not-too-sweet Chocolate Bread and for a sweet Milk Bread, followed by a recipe where you hid some of the Milk Bread inside two layers of the Chocolate Bread.

Elsewhere I had read about a snail shaped bread that sounded like fun, so I combined the two ideas for this bread. She had mixed semisweet chocolate chips into her Chocolate Bread, but I decided to layer them in and roll it all up like a jelly roll for a nice swirl inside the snail shape.

Baking it in a springform pan was something I saw in another part of the book where she described it as a mold for pannettone.

Finally, since there was going to be quite a bit of Milk Bread dough left, I decided to use it for something I had seen in another book, The Festive Bread Book, by Kathy Cutler. It describes how to shape a wheat sheaf shaped bread, which is appealing at this time of year. Since the Milk Bread dough is very easy to work with, it seemed like a good way to play with it. It turned out really well. You can read about it and get directions for making your own at The Bread Baker’s Dog blog.

When making the Chocolate Bread and Milk Bread Snail Loaf, you start with the Milk Bread sponge, then make the Chocolate Bread dough while the sponge rises, let the Chocolate Bread dough have it’s first rise while you shape the Milk Dough rectangle, then shape the Chocolate Bread dough rectangles and put it all together and bake it. Although it seems complicated, both doughs are easy to work with.

I have given the Stand Mixer directions for both doughs. If you would like either the By Hand directions or the Food Processor directions (Carol gives all three!), just e-mail me and I’ll send you the method you want to use. Typing all three for the blog was beyond me.

O.K….let’s BAKE!

Pane al Latte e Cioccolata
From The Italian Baker by Carol Field

First make the Milk Bread:

1 ¾ teaspoons dry yeast or 2/3 small cake (12 grams) fresh yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
½ cup warm milk
1 cup less 1 tablespoon (130-135 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour

Stir the yeast and sugar into the milk in a large mixing bowl or mixer bowl; let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the flour and whisk vigorously to make a thick batter. Cover and let stand until doubled, less than 1 hour.

1 egg 1 tablespoon rum
1 cup milk, room temperature
½ stick (55 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 ¾ cups (175 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon (5 grams) salt

Add the egg, rum, milk, and butter to the sponge and mix with the paddle for about 1 minute.

Add 1 cup of the flour and the salt and mix on low speed. Change to the dough hook and add the rest of the flour and knead until soft, silky and elastic, 3 – 4 minutes once the flour is incorporated. Finish kneading briefly by hand on a lightly flour surface.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, 1 to 2 hours. The dough should be very soft but slightly tacky, and if you pinch the surface, the little peaks of dough should hold their shape.

Cut the dough into three equal pieces. Take one of the pieces and shape on a lightly flour surface into a 6 inch by 12 inch rectangle. Set aside, lightly covered with plastic wrap or a tea towel while you shape the chocolate dough at the end of its first rise.

NOTE: WHILE THE SPONGE IS DOUBLING, MAKE THE Chocolate Bread (Below) and begin its first rise.

The Chocolate Bread part:

1 package (2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast or 1 small cake (18 grams) fresh yeast
½ teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon warm water
4 ½ cups (600 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (125 grams) sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
2 teaspoons (10 grams) salt
1 ¼ cups warm water
1 egg yolk (reserve the egg white for glazing the loaf)
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, chopped coarsely in a food processor or by hand

Stir the yeast and ½ teaspoon sugar into 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon barely warm water in a small bowl; let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Mix the flour, ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, the cocoa, and salt in a mixer bowl. Stir 1 ¼ cups water, the egg yolk, and butter into the dissolved yeast. Pour the yeast mixture into the flour mixture and mix with the paddle until well blended.

Change to the dough hook and knead 2 minutes at low speed, then 2 minutes at medium speed. The dough should be velvety, moist, and elastic.

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

Punch the dough down and cut in half on a lightly floured surface. Shape one of the pieces into a 7 inch by 13 inch rectangle. On another floured surface shape the second piece to be the same size.
(You should have already shaped the Milk Dough rectangle)

On one of the chocolate rectangles, sprinkle about 1/3 of the chopped chocolate chips, leaving an inch edge all around with no chips. Place the slightly smaller milk bread dough rectangle over the chocolate rectangle. It should cover the chocolate chips. Push down lightly to seal the chips in.

Sprinkle about 1/3 of the chopped chocolate chips over the milk dough rectangle, leaving about ½ inch edge all around with no chips. Place the second chocolate dough rectangle over the milk dough rectangle. It will be larger. Press it down to the other chocolate dough to enclose the milk dough and chips completely.

Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of the remaining chocolate chips along the long side of the rectangle. Begin to roll at that side and roll up jelly roll fashion, adding another strip of chocolate chips bits as you roll until all chips are used up. Seal the dough once you reach the end.

Butter the inside sides of a 10 inch springform pan and line the bottom with a circle of parchment. Set aside.

Take the ‘jelly roll’ of bread dough and squeeze one end a little to thin it and lengthen the rope of dough. Starting at the end, make a snail shape with the dough rope, sealing the end. Place the ‘snail’ into the springform pan and cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Bake in a preheated 425 degree F oven, first brushing the loaf with the lightly beaten egg white from the chocolate bread dough. Bake 45 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake another45 – 50 minutes. If needed, cover the top with foil if it gets too dark. Although it tastes fine, you can see that the top of my loaf got pretty dark.

Cool the loaf in the pan. When it is cool, remove the springform pan sides and place the loaf on a cutting board to cut. I cut wedges while it was still slightly warm and the chips were melty….delicious!

I also found that the interior was still a bit unbaked, so I returned the loaf, set on a baking sheet, to the oven at 350 degrees F for about another 20 minutes. Because of the chips it is difficult to tell when the interior is fully baked. Perhaps using an instant read thermometer would work.

While the chocolate snail is baking, you can take the remaining two thirds of the Milk Bread dough and braid it into a loaf, make a sandwich loaf, (or make the harvest sheaf like I did, which is described HERE) and then bake it at 400 degrees F once the chocolate snail bread is done.


  1. Yum. Making pain de chocolat I learned the hard way to use that thermometer. Chocolate is molten lava in bread, and it's almost impossible to tell if you've got done bread or just hot chocolate. I guess it takes practice... so there's your excuse to make more! ;)

  2. A bread which brings along its own chocolate. Stroke of genius.

  3. Anonymous1:49 AM

    Thank you for sending some of each. They were both VERY delicious!! We had the chocolate snail warm plain with coffee, and the milk wheat sheaf lightly toasted with butter. Mmmmmmmm! Thanks again!
    Love and hugs, Natasha

  4. It looks fab! I find adding chocolate or cocoa to bread makes it very soft and moist. I love how you got the perfect marbled effect.

  5. Aargh, I looks so yummie. I need to bake it soon, too.

    Thank you for your participation in World Bread Day 2009. Yes you baked! :-)