The days are still dark, and with that my mood tends to darken a little as well. Strange enough one of the most potent things to lighten up a lot can be found in something utterly dark and rich and tasty: Chocolate bread!
It is a bread and not a cake, so I can fool myself in good conscious when I feel a frown coming up, thinking about the past holidays and being nice for my figure. This surely is the answer for me.
(Although I must admit I haven't found a nice savory topping, so I tend to dress it with strawberries, jams, lemon curd etc.)
This is what you need:
320 ml lukewarm milk or 320 ml lukewarm water
2 fat tsp of honey
7 gr active dry yeast
500 gr white flour
50 gr cacao powder, pure cacao, (like for example Droste,) non-sweetened!
50 gr sugar
50 gr of butter
a pinch of salt (about 10 gr)
This is how you make it:
Take a big bowl and pour in the milk or water, add the honey and stir a few times to blend it in. Then add your yeast and let it all rest for about 10 minutes or so until your yeast has turned into foam.
Mix all the other ingredients into that same bowl and start kneading. Knead for about 10 minutes; the dough will be smooth and elastic, and sticky and moist.
Turn it into a ball and let it rest in the bowl, covered with a clean kitchen towel or a piece of cling film, in a nice warm place, free from drafts, for 1.5 hour.
Take a baking tin grease it in with a bit of butter and dust it with flour.
Your dough should have about doubled in size. Now punch the dough down. And knead it for 2 more minutes. Shape it in your desired form and put it in the baking tin.
Cover the tin with the towel / cling film and let it rest for another 40 minutes in the same warm spot. When the dough has risen as desired, put the tin into a preheated oven for 30 minutes at 180 C.
Your bread should sound hollow when padded on the bottom, another way to check if it is ready is:
check with a knitting needle or sate pin to see if everything is done, if nothing sticks to the needle when you remove it, your bread will be fine!
If you have an idea what kind of savory topping would be a good idea, please share it with me, I'll sure give it a try!
Now I love to make my breads, (chocolate, white or brown,) with honey to start the yeast because I love the taste the honey gives the bread. You can vary with different kinds of honey, they all will have a direct impact on the flavor and thus the character of the bread. At this moment I have a nice soft linden blossom honey, but this bread also tastes great with the rich end deep taste of buttery sunflower honey, two very different tastes.But if you don't like the taste honey so much, use only the 50 gr of sugar in your lukewarm water or milk instead, that will also do the trick.
I also must confess I prefer to make this bread with milk instead of water, it gives a creamy and softer taste.
You can freeze the bread, or half a loaf easily in your freezer, would there be any left.