Tuscan Cherry Chocolate BreadPosted: 01/29/2011
It’s Saturday morning, 7am, and the house is impossibly quiet. All the guys are sound asleep because there’s no school and no work today. So mom gets up and creeps down to the kitchen to enjoy the stillness, and have her one cup of decaf for the day.
Well I can’t let all this peace and quiet go to waste, can I? Slowly, I walk over to the pantry where I start eyeing the shelves to see what ingredients are available to me this glorious Southern California morning. As usual, there’s always a bag of chocolate chips standing by, and a couple of bags of dried, tart cherries. Things are looking good, yep, we’ve got some rye flour, a little bit of whole wheat flour…are you thinking what I’m thinking???? Looks like some Tuscan bread’s a-gonna-be-a-bakin’!!!
I love it when it’s just me, the Kitchen Aid, and peace and quiet. I go into this zen mode and block out everything around me. Soon enough the boys will be up and asking me to make them breakfast, the husband will want me to accompany him to Home Depot to consult on which hose nozzle to purchase, so I’m going to take this moment I have right now to just …bake.
Tuscan Cherry-Chocolate Bread
Adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
Makes four 1-pound loaves
3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast ( 2 packets)
1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1/2 cup rye flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
5 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
12 ounces chocolate chips
5 ounces dried tart cherries
Cornmeal for the pizza peel
Mix the yeast and salt with the water in a 5-quart bowl, or lidded (not airtight) food container.
Mix in the remaining dry ingredients without kneading, using a spoon, a 14-cup capacity food processor (with dough attachment) or a heavy-duty stand mixer with dough hook).
Cover (not airtight), and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), about 2 hours.
The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 14 days.
On baking day, dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit size) piece. Dust with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Allow to rest and rise on a cornmeal-covered pizza peel for 40 minutes.
Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 450 degrees (or 425 degrees if convection oven), with a baking stone placed on the middle rack. Place an empty broiler tray on any other shelf that won’t interfere with the rising bread.
Sprinkle the loaf with flour and using a serrated bread knife, slash a cross or tic-tac-toe pattern into the top of the bread. Leave the flour on top of the bread while it bakes, and use a pastry brush to brush the flour off after it’s baked.
Slide the loaf off the pizza peel onto the hot stone. Pour one cup of hot water into the broiler tray , and then quickly close the oven door. Bake for about 35 minutes until the crust is deep brown and very firm. Adjust the baking time if making smaller or larger loaves.
Let bread cool completely before slicing.