Thursday, January 16, 2014

Chocolate Prune Bread a Babes Delight

Last month the Bread Baking Babes had a cake that was actually a bread (Lardy Cake) and this month we have a bread that has many of the flavors of a cake. If you love chocolate and bread combined, you'll love this loaf. I made mine with chopped pecans in the dough and with chunks of bittersweet chocolate and dried cherries (instead of prunes) kneaded in before shaping. It is full of flavor from the cocoa in the dough, too. I only made half the recipe, which makes one loaf...plenty for two people. In the recipe below the amounts in parentheses and italics are the amounts of ingredients I used for the half recipe.

Although I had expected some rise in the dough when I first set it out to expand, it was pretty inactive for a couple of hours. Then it was bedtime, so I covered the bowl (same one I made it in, unwashed, un-oiled Elizabeth!) and put it into the fridge. The next day I was too busy to deal with it, but the next day, after the dough had warmed up some, it rose just fine. Back into the fridge it went. The next day I kneaded in the cherries and chocolate and shaped it into a loaf shape. Working with fairly cold dough is helpful. I had already buttered the pan and sprinkled it with sanding sugar, so in went the shaped loaf. It rose by about 1/3 in the pan while the oven preheated. After an egg wash and more sanding sugar on top, I slashed the top to allow for oven spring. Glad I did that because the oven spring was awesome! The bottom of the loaf was a little more browned than I would have like...chocolate can burn easily, but overall it was a delicious, decadent bread. Although many flavors were cake like, you could still see the bread texture and still taste the yeast, so not cake...BREAD!

Thank you Jaime, our Kitchen of the Month, blogging at Life's a Feast, for choosing this interesting recipe.

Thank you Elizabeth for lending me your Battle Apron, which I felt I needed when the dough refused to rise the first day. That and some patience seem to be what was needed to be successful with this lovely loaf.

Do try it for yourself! You can be a Buddy by making it, taking a photo or two and sending Jaime an e-mail (please include your name and your blog’s name) by January 26th to jamieannschler AT gmail DOT com with January Bread Baking Buddy in the subject line. Do visit all the Bread Baking Babes to see their bountiful versions, too.  OOPS! Buddy deadline is actually Jan. 29th! Still time....

Karen - Bake My Day 
Elizabeth - Blog from OUR Kitchen 
Heather - Girlichef 
Lien - Notitie van Lien   

Chocolate Prune Bread:
Makes one 1 ½ pound loaf if half recipe used

1 ½ pounds (about 680 g – the size of a small cantaloupe) (full amount if half recipe was made) of the Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bread dough {SEE BELOW}
Softened unsalted butter for greasing the pan

2 ounces (55 g) high-quality bittersweet chocolate - * use 6 ounces (170 g) if you did not add chocolate chips to the original Chocolate Bread Dough

¾ cup chopped pitted prunes (or dried I used)

Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 Tbs water)
¼ cup (50 g) sugar for sprinkling over the top of the bread and preparing the pan

On baking day, generously grease an 8 ½ x 4 ½ - inch (22 x 11 ½ cm approx) nonstick loaf pan with butter, sprinkle some sugar evenly over the butter and shake the pan to distribute.

Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1 ½ pound piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a ½ - inch-thick (scant 1 ½ cm) rectangle. As you roll out the dough, use enough flour to prevent it from sticking to the work surface but not so much as to make the dough dry.

Sprinkle the chocolate and chopped prunes over the dough and roll up the dough jelly-roll style to enclose them. Fold the dough over itself several times, turning and pressing it down with the heel of your hand after each turn. This will work the chocolate and prunes (or cherries) into the dough; some may poke through.

With very wet hands, form the dough into a loaf shape and place it into the prepared pan. Allow to rest and rise for 90 minutes, loosely covered with plastic wrap.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). A baking stone is not required and omitting it shortens the preheat.

Using a pastry brush, paint the top of the loaf with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake the loaf in the center of the oven for 50 to 60 minutes until firm. Smaller or larger loaves with require adjustments to baking time.

Remove the bread from the pan and allow to cool on a rack before slicing and eating.

CHOCOLATE BREAD DOUGH RECIPE (Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bread)

Makes two 2-pound loaves. This recipe is easily doubled or halved. Amounts in parentheses and in italics are for the half recipe.

2 ½ cups (565 ml) (282.5 ml) lukewarm water (100°F or below)
¾ cup (170 ml) (85 ml) vegetable oil
1 Tbs (0.35 oz / 10 g) (5 g) granulated yeast
1 to 1 ½ Tbs (17 to 25 g) (6 to 12 g) kosher salt – * use less if using fine table salt, more if using coarse salt
1 cup (7 ounces / 200 g) (100 g) sugar
5 ½ cups (1 pound, 11 ½ ounces / 780 g) (390 g) all-purpose flour
¾ cup (3 ounces / 85 g) (1.5 oz/ 42.5 g) dark, unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ cups (6 ounces / 170 g) (3 oz/ 85 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips (or finely chopped pecans) - * can omit (for the chocolate prune bread you will be adding chocolate, the amount changes depending upon whether or not you added chocolate chips to the dough at this point)

Mixing and storing the dough:

Mix the oil, yeast, salt and sugar with the water in a 6-quart bowl or a lidded (not airtight) food container.

Mix in the flour, cocoa powder and the chocolate chips without kneading, using a spoon or heavy-duty stand mixer (with paddle). If you are not using the machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.

Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours.

The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle with cold. Refrigerate the container of dough and use over the next 5 days. Beyond the 5 days, freeze the dough in 1-pound (about 450 g) portions in airtight containers for up to 4 weeks. When using frozen dough, thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours before using, then allow the usual rest and rise time.       


  1. Beautiful! I love the dried cherries idea. Delicious!

  2. That's an excellent idea to add pecans and dried cherries! And the bread looks lovely.

    But what a shame that the bread got a little dark on the bottom! I bet the reason was because you were being punished for not letting the dough rise in a clean bowl. ;-)

  3. Oh yes. And I forgot to mention that you BBBabes have led me astray. I didn't wash the rising bowl either!!

  4. Wow that looks so delicious. I had chocolate bread once and loved how soft the texture was. The idea to use cherries was inspired.

  5. Bread with so much sugar in it can be slow risers, but glad yours worked (with a little help of the apron of course!)I particular like the dried cherries, those go so well with chocolate.
    Living dangerous! Not placing it a cleaned and oiled bowl hahaha so funny!

  6. Oooh I see a battle apron! Great choice of dried cherries and I wish I had easy access (or let's say cheaper) pecans here because I'd love me some pecans. We followed the same line of thinking I guess with the nuts. I really like your loaf shape.

  7. How totally awesome my dear.
    I know that apron ... and time/patience ... are key ingredients to the success here. I really look forward to this one! Isn't it neat that we can now find bitter chocolate in chip form now.

  8. Natashya, the cherries were good and they are my fav with chocolate.
    Elizabeth, no punishment, just an oven that overcooks stuff on the bottom. I thought the dirty bowl was daring :)
    Katie, you would love the texture of this one, and it is easy to make. Wonder if you could make it gluten free? You are so great at converting recipes!
    Lien, the apron is probably the key...haha...or the dirty bowl!
    Tanna, I do like the bittersweet chips, but this time had to create the chunks from a block of Scharffenberger's...such a sacrifice...not!

  9. I want the apron (she whines).
    Well, I want the bread, too.... Did you know that chocolate goes really well with red wine?