Chocolate Bread and a Book Tour!

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Jeff and I are so excited to be heading off on a tour to introduce our new book Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients, which comes out on Oct. 27th. We’ve updated our events calendar and keep adding new dates all the time. We would love to meet you if we are stopping in a town nearby! And…there is a new baking group forming…more details at the end of the post!

As you all by now I take my sweets very seriously and chocolate is one of the essential food groups in my world. So I wanted to share one of the great pleasures of ABin5, the Chocolate Bread on page 211, with all of you who may not have ventured back that far into the book. It has an intense chocolate flavor without being too sweet. This bread is equally as good with a sweet cherry jam as it is with a sharp cheddar, just depends on your mood. There will rarely be leftovers, but just in case there are we’ve got a recipe for Chocolate Cherry Bread Pudding on page 237 is out of this world!

This dough is unlike any other in the book. It has no stretch to it, due to all the chocolate. I’ll show you how to handle it so that you end up with a fabulous loaf!

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The chocolate dough is just a list of ingredients that gets dumped in a bucket
, this is no different from any other recipe in the book, just a bit more on the list!

Chocolate Bread from our 2007 release of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (page 211) – please note that for those of you with early printings of the book this will be slightly different, and if you’ve purchased the 2013 edition of our book The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, you’ll find a new version of this recipe (Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Bread, on page 332).

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (if you want a slightly sweeter bread use semisweet)

1/2 cup unsalted butter

2 cups lukewarm water

1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast

1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

2/3 cup honey

5 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder – (natural or Dutch processed will work)

5 ounces finely chopped bittersweet chocolate (if you want a slightly sweeter bread use semisweet)

butter for greasing the pan

sugar for greasing the pan and sprinkling on top of the loaf

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To make the dough:

Melt the 4 ounces of chocolate and butter together over a double boiler or in the microwave until smooth. Remove from heat, give the ganache a gentle stir and set aside.

Dump the water, yeast, salt, eggs and honey in the bucket and give a half hearted stir. Dump in the flour, cocoa powder, chocolate chips and the ganache that has been set aside. Mix the dough together until there are no lumps of dry flour. Cover the bucket with a not airtight lid and allow to rest for about 2 hours on the counter.

You can use the dough immediately after rising and it is quite luxurious, but for this demo I wanted to show you how to deal with the chilled dough. So I stuck the dough in the refrigerator for 12 hours.

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grease your Loaf Pan and then sprinkle it with sugar. This extra step of sugaring is not essential, but it helps the loaf pop out of the pan. I prefer it to flour for chocolate breads because you don’t end up with the chalky look on the outside of your loaf.

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Once my dough was chilled I remove the bucket and

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reach in to grab my dough. You will be met with a very stiff dough that has no stretch. It is due to all the chocolate and butter in the dough, not because your dough is too dry.

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A reader left a comment about forming two balls to create a loaf bread, they found it easier to work with. I thought for this dough it would be a great idea, because you are just pressing it into shape instead of stretching it into a smooth ball. Thank you TS for the suggestion, I think it worked beautifully!

Take 2 pounds of the dough from the bucket, divide it into two equal pieces and press them into smooth balls.

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Place them in the prepared pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 1 hour and 45 minutes (up to 2 hours and 30 minutes if your kitchen is particularly cool).

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

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You can see that the dough rises a bit, but not a tremendous amount, this is true of all our dough.

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Sprinkle with sugar and bake in the center of the oven for 45-50 minutes.

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Remove from oven and

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Take the bread out of the pan to cool completely.

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Enjoy with preserves, marmelade or a slice of sharp cheddar!

Last but most certainly not least Michelle at BigBlackDogs is going to be hosting a baking group for HBin5! If you want to join her and a group of other bread enthusiasts read more here! Jeff and I will be doing some guest posts for her as well.

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If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it with others using one of the social sharing buttons above. Thanks, Jeff and Zoë

154 thoughts on “Chocolate Bread and a Book Tour!

  1. I made this dough last evening…and I’m hoping that leaving it in the refrigerator 24 hours won’t bother it. Your recipe illustrates with 12 hours, Zoe/Jeff, so I’m guessing 24 hours will be OK. Also, the recipe says to take “2 lbs of dough” from the bucket and make into 2 balls – I don’t have a scale, but I can see from the photos that there is dough left in the bucket…how much dough will this recipe make? Can I get another 2 balls ?

    Thanks!

    • Valerie: 24 hours is just fine, our enriched doughs can store in the fridge for up to 5 days (then the freezer for up to 2 weeks). The recipe batches in our first book make approximately four pounds of dough, so you should be all right. Jeff

  2. Jeff,

    Thanks for your note. We’ll look forward to the Asian edition to come into the market. I was referring to the minimum 3-hour refrigeration following the 2-hour rising time. Does the final product resemble a rougher (though moisturous still) version of a chocolate muffin?

    • HC: Definitely much easier to handle when cold, so don’t omit the refrigeration. My strong guess is that you are using a flour that is too low in protein. In general, the flour in China tends to be low-protein (around 9% or lower), unless it’s labeled otherwise. This presents a problem. You want flour in the 10 to 11.7% range. If you make it with low-protein stuff, you get a much-too-wet dough— if so, just decrease the water or increase the flour until you can handle it. I’m not sure, but it also may have been a problem that you left out the chocolate as you did. Let us know what you find as you modify this. Jeff

  3. I dunno if you folks out there in breadland will kill me or thank me, BUT I have made two discoveries about this dough. My family didn’t love it as bread (not sweet enough for the kids’ tastes), but it turns out it makes amazing donuts! AND… I also needed to make it pareve and discovered that you can sub canola oil in equal parts for the butter. It even makes the dough easier to handle and roll out. My linky should take you to full dough, rolling and frying pics. THANK YOU for these great donuts!!!

  4. OK, Jeff and Zoe, I did it! I made the chocolate bread, but added chocolate stout and cherries. Fabulous bread. One slice is like eating 4 truffles. I documented it on my blog but put a link in for your site for the recipe. THANK YOU for such great recipes!

  5. Jeff: Interesting reminder on protein content. In this region, we do have a classification for high, medium and low-gluten flour, but the tricky thing is one brand’s medium-gluten flour may be the high version of the other, without protein content being specified (we’re not as scientific as Americans…). You may want to look into this for the Chinese edition.

    Will share my experiment results for this bread. Wish you, Zoe and families a happy holiday!

    • HC: It’s going to be a challenge to figure out which is most like the flour we use here (unbleached all-purpose). It’s probably NOT the “low-gluten” flour, so the question is whether to use the medium or high-gluten version first. I’m guessing that you’ll need the high, but please let us know… Thanks HC! Jeff

  6. In addition to the cocoa powder, the 1st item in the ingredients is

    4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (if you want a slightly sweeter bread use semisweet)

    and the last item is:

    5 ounces finely chopped bittersweet chocolate (if you want a slightly sweeter bread use semisweet)

    Is this correct? Is it a total of 9 ounces, or is one a typo? If so, is it 4 or 5 ounces?

    Thanks!

  7. One of my favorite breads in a visit to Paris was “pain chocolat”, so I was excited to see your Chocolate Bread recipe in your book. Alas, it has SO MUCH chocolate, that I know it will not be the same. The Parisian version was a milder chocolate taste. Do you have any idea how to approximate the French not-so-sweet “pastry”?

    • Joanne: Absolutely– you can halve or quarter the recipes. You just won’t benefit from the ability to refrigerate or freeze the additional dough.

  8. Hi there, I’m thinking of buying the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day book but am trying out some of the recipes already available first. This chocolate bread looks amazing – just one question, it doesn’t say whether I need to use a pan of water under the bread in the oven, but someone asked about the water in the comments and Zoe’s answer made it seem like the water is needed, yet it wasn’t mentioned in the recipe, so do I need to have a pan of water in the oven or not? Thanks!

    • Hi Jamieanne,

      You really don’t need the pan of water for breads that have any oil or butter, because they will never develop a crispy crust. It certainly won’t hurt, but it is an extra step you really don’t need.

      Enjoy! Zoë

  9. Your book sounds like one I need to have for my library–and my two boys will jump for joy when I make chocolate french toast using your bread…

  10. I’m so glad you posted this! I have made several recipes from your book, and they’ve all been wonderful. My (Jewish) family couldn’t stop raving about my rye bread at a gathering last weekend.
    I made the dough for this bread last night and thought I’d wasted a lot of expensive ingredients, since it didn’t rise like the others. I went to shape my loaf this morning and found it dense, like you describe here. I’m so glad that’s what it’s supposed to look like. A note about that in the book would be good, I think, so readers/bakers know to expect it to look and feel different.
    One question – in the book you say to shape it and put it on parchment paper – no mention of a loaf pan unlike here. Can it be made either way? Also, there’s a small error – in the list of ingredients it says “oil for greasing the cookie sheet”, but then later it says to use parchment paper with no mention of oil. Can it be done either way?
    Thanks for a great book. I’m having a blast with it and my family is grateful to you!

    • Hi Jennifer,

      You can make any of our doughs as free-form loaves or sandwich loaves, depending on if you want it to be a certain shape and have lots of crust.

      Many people do not have parchment paper so we try to give alternatives. The bread can be made on parchment, oiled baking sheet or even a silpat.

      If you are baking the dough in a loaf pan and use 1 1/2 pounds of dough per recipe then that is a good amount to freeze. Many of our readers are baking larger or smaller loaves so the size may vary.

      Thank you and enjoy the bread! Zoë

  11. Sorry, 1 other thing. It says to make the loaves 1.5lbs, but to freeze the dough in 1lb. portions. I assume the 1lb. portion thing was just copied from another recipe, and you don’t need to separate the remaining 1.5lbs. in 1/3 and 2/3 to freeze, yes?

  12. I just made this recipe and I’m so disappointed. I used Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate, and the bread was not nearly sweet enough. I had hoped for something similar to the chocolate bread at Turtle Bread in Minneapolis. What can I do to make this bread a LOT sweeter? Right now it is like munching a bar of unsweetened baking chocolate.

    • Hi Cathe,

      I know the chocolate bread at Turtle well and love it, and ours is not nearly as sweet. Here are some changes that may get you closer to what you are looking for:

      Use semisweet chocolate instead of the bittersweet.

      Use 1 cup of honey and reduce the water by 1/4 cup.

      Hope that helps, enjoy! Zoë

  13. Thanks! I used semisweet Ghiradelli chocolate for the ganache and milk chocolate chips in place of the chopped chocolate. The result was excellent!

  14. Hi… I LOVE baking with your doughs, and this is my first shot at the chocolate…which is EXPENSIVE to screw up…You don’t slash it, correct>?

    • Hi Heather,

      No, you don’t need to slash the loaf. It may crack open a bit, but that is part of its charm. If you want a loaf that is a bit more controlled then you certainly can slash it. Just depends on the look you are going for.

      Enjoy, Zoë

    • Hi Lina,

      Most all of our loaves can be made in either a loaf pan or freeform. You will want to bake it on a cookie sheet.

      Thanks, Zoë

  15. Oh I’m so glad I googled this while my first loaf of this bread had just started resting! I thought I had ruined Valrhona chocolate! I had about 1.5 pounds in a turd-like blob in my buttered loaf pan, and didn’t have high hopes. Now I have 2 pounds, rolled into balls, in my sugared loaf pan and I’m optimistic again! Thanks for posting about this dough being different and for the tips!

  16. Hey! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any issues with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing many months of hard work due to no back up. Do you have any methods to protect against hackers?

  17. I just made donuts with this bread this morning– it was heavenly! I sprinkled hot chocolate mix over them instead of plain sugar and very delicately drizzled them with chocolate syrup. Absolutely to die for. I love the idea here of using sugar instead of flour for the pan. I think I’ll use my leftover dough to make a loaf like this for my co-workers.

    Thank you for yet again a wonderful recipe. I plan on taking my Healthy Bread book with me as I visit my family for the holidays so I can introduce them to your methods!

  18. Hi Jeff and Zoe,

    I’m looking forward to making the chocolate bread from ABin5. Wondering if either (or both) of you could share your opinions on who makes quality chocolate that’s not too expensive. Just wondering if I need to buy the imported (expensive) chocolate or if there’s a domestic equally tasty chocolate that will work. I’m partial to bittersweet/dark but my family likes semisweet. I tend to use the Nestle chocolate chips a lot.

    thanks! :)

    • I had another question about chocolate. I received a jar of Nutella as a gift. Can I use that in the chocolate bread recipe from ABin5? if so, what amount?

      thanks :)

      • I’ve got the 1st 2 books – will have to check in them – and an update

        I tried 1/4 cup of Nutella and about a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips – rolled up jelly roll style & cut down into chocolate buns. Baked at 350 for 22 minutes – THEY ARE AWESOME!!

        If I freeze them until Thursday, how would you recommend reheating them? I’d love to share them with family then!

      • Hi Thea,

        They sound awesome! Are you planning to freeze them before or after they are baked?

        Thanks, Zoë

  19. There’s a bakery near me that makes a great chocolate bread, and after realizing I should stop spending money on loaves of it, I decided to try to make my own! I made this bread yesterday, and it was (is!) absolutely wonderful. I only had 3 eggs, so I only used 3, and the bread didn’t seem to suffer at all (I added a splash more water to compensate). I also made the loaves free-form, and did slash the tops, and they look lovely. Thanks for the great recipe! I look forward to making it again.

  20. There used to be a bakery near me in Greenwich Ct called Bread Ventures..they mad the most outstanding chocolate cherry bread..so I threw in 2 big handfuls of dried cherries, used the sweeter version with the 1 cup of honey, and left the 5 ounces of chocolate in chocolate-chip sized pieces. I baked the loaves free form on silpain…quite fabulous! Not exactly the same as Breadventures, but still very good. Thanks so much for the recipe!!

  21. Do you have the nutritional value on this bread? I know your book is “healthy bread” related but its full of Chocolate… so trying to figure out if I should consider making this or not (We are doing a pretty good job of eating healthy but I am NEEDING something Chocolate but trying to make a good choice)

    • Hi Samantha,

      Honey has a bit more body to it and the sweetness may be slightly different, but it should work just fine.

      Thanks and enjoy! Zoë

  22. I love this bread! However, I have a question about the bread pudding recipe in HB (I tried to make it with the chocolate bread). I am vegan and have had really good luck with make substitutions successfully from the recipes in your book. But not with the bread pudding – the pudding part never firmed up and the top burned. Do you have any suggestions for me?

    • Dee: Hmm, this is a hard one, because bread pudding is by definition an egg-and-milk custard with bread in it. I’ve seen vegan chocolate pudding recipes that thicken because of cornstarch rather than eggs, and you could try that. But I’m not really hopeful on this one!

      If you google “vegan bread pudding,” you’ll see the various options– interestingly no one’s tried the cornstarch idea.

  23. I didn’t have any honey so I used brown rice syrup with success! I used an 85% chocolate bar to melt and was worried it would be too bitter…others noted adding more honey to sweeten. I used the same amount of brown rice syrup as honey with the 85% chocolate bar, used semi-sweet chips…and it is PERFECT. Tomorrow morning I’ll be toasting some for breakfast, a little butter, a little cinnamon sugar…YUMMEH!

  24. I am thinking of making the chocolate espresso bread from HBin5 for my neighbor who can’t have refined sugar. Can I leave out the chopped bittersweet chocolate? How will that affect the final product? It’s on pg. 303.

    • Hi Brian,

      Granulated just means dry, as apposed to “fresh, cake” yeast. Granulated can come in the form of dry active, instant or fast acting. You can use any of them to make our breads.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  25. After rising, my dough came out wet, not so wet that it looks like a batter, but wetter than the picture that I couldn’t form balls with them. I also did not chill the dough overnight.

    • Brian: Chilling would help, but sounds like you need to add more flour to dry it out a bit– you certainly can do that with our doughs.

  26. I just made this bread, and it’s fantastic. I believe I prefer it to chocolate cake–especially with a little cream cheese and cherry jam. Thank you so much!

  27. I was wondering if anyone has tried adding either cinnamon or cayenne to this recipe. How much should be added to enhance the flavor but not to overwhelm?

    • Hi Sheri,

      Both of those flavors would go well in this recipe, like the chocolate drink found in Mexico. I’d start with a teaspoon of cinnamon and maybe a 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne. Or a touch more if you are looking for a bolder flavor.

      Cheers, Zoë

  28. I noticed that the Chocolate Bread recipe posted here includes eggs and honey, as does the one in ABinfive. The one I used from NABinfive does not list eggs and honey. Is that correct?

    Thanks.

      • Whew! good to know since I already have a batch made up! What difference does the eggs and honey make to the chocolate bread?

        Thanks for your speedy reply.

      • Honey was replaced by sugar here, so a just a sweetener without any extra liquid. Some people preferred the cleaner taste of sugar with the chocolate. Eggs provide some lift and flavor but the chocolate was covering the flavor anyway and it was coming out light enough for our taste.

  29. I dance tango, and almost every time I bring some baked good with me. I’ve brought regular bread, and I’ve also brought a braided peach/cream cheese pastry, which was deemed the best thing I had ever baked. I was thinking about trying out the chocolate bread to bring this weekend. (I have the New ABin5 book.) I’d like to make it as a braid rather than in the loaf pan. If I use 2 pounds for the braid, how would that affect the rising and baking times? Thanks!

  30. I am wanting to make several loaves and freeze them after they are baked, how long would they stay good in the freezer?

    • Hi EvaMarie,

      I have 3 different freezers and they all behave differently. One of them seems to be on a defrost cycle that goes every few days and so I never freeze any bread in that one. This is to say that it really depends on your freezer, but typically the bread is good for a month or so.

      Thanks, Zoë

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