Count Chocula Circa 2011

In food on 04/03/2011 at 9:05 am

We’ve been knee deep in the mire of buying our first house, so this lil’ blog has been quite neglected. Yes, we are being torn from the warm and snuggly bosom of NYC, but we aren’t going that far. We will still be able to forage in Flushing, and make an occasional trip into the City.

Yesterday, we made our second trip to Balthazar Bakery with Dr. Mud and again the mind-boggling bounty of pastries gouged out our eyeballs. In the corner by the cashier, I spied a packaged brown loaf studded with sugar crystals on top which turned out to be chocolate bread. It is ama-ZING, not too dense, extremely QQ, flavorful. Even though in my old age I’ve grown fond of milk chocolate, the bittersweet variety infused into this bread gives it an adult taste that is good for anytime of the day.

This time I remembered to tear my greedy eyes from the baked goods and peered into the kitchen. It is immense, and reminiscent of the open kitchens at Chelsea Market. If only I enjoyed the baking arts, working here would be my dream job.

Lucky for all of us, Scharffen Berger posted the recipe on its website, which is below. This will certainly be served up by the resident baker at our forthcoming housewarming party in the Hamptons…

2 1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup Scharffen Berger cocoa powder (or Valrhona, depending on the size of your wallet)
1/3 cup plus 2 tbs. granulated sugar
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/4 cup bread starter
1 1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbs. unsalted butter room temperature
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate cut into 1/4 -inch pieces
Vegetable oil for bowl
1 large egg yolk lightly beaten
1 tbs. heavy cream
2 tbs. turbinado sugar

1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 cup + 3 tbl. all purpose flour

For Starter: In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water. Stir in flour until completely incorporated. Cover; proof at room temperature 4 to 6 hours. Store in a plastic container, refrigerated, with plastic wrap covering but not touching the starter. Once a week, stir 1/4 cup flour to feed starter.

For Chocolate Bread:
In the bowl of a heavy duty electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine bread, flour, cocoa powder, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 cup water, yeast, and bread starter. Combine on low speed for 5 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes.

Add salt and butter, and mix on medium speed until the dough develops a sheen, about 10 minutes. Add the chocolate. Continue mixing on medium speed until completely combined, 2 to 3 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl; place dough in bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Allow dough to rise until doubled in size, about 3 hours.

Turn out dough and fold into thirds, and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest 30 minutes. Butter two 6 3/4 x 3 x 2 1/4-inch loaf pans; coat with remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Divide dough in half; divide each half into four equal portions. Roll each piece of dough on a clean work surface in a circular motion, forming a tight ball. Place four pieces of dough, smooth sides up, in each loaf pan. Cover pans tightly with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Position oven rack in center of oven; heat to 375 degrees. In a bowl, combine egg yolk and cream. Lightly brush risen loaves with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Reduce oven to 350 degrees. Bake until loaves have a slightly hollow sound when you tap tops with your finger, 40-45 minutes; turn out loaves. Return loaves to wire rack; let cool completely. Wrap tightly in plastic and store up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month.

I would devour immediately.

  1. I want to spread nutella on this bread.
    -Dr. Mud

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