Bread, Chocolate, Orange

Chocolate and Orange Bread

I’m a fan of bread. I tend to make one loaf a week, usually using my no-knead recipe or my sourdough no-knead recipe (as I also have sourdough in my fridge). But sometimes I want to break out and try something brand new, and sometimes that experiment doesn’t work out that well. The flavors of this loaf are amazing, but I definitely messed up the braiding. I plan to come back to this recipe in the future.

For now though, I was inspired, as I often am, by the Great British Bake Off, and I decided to adapt Paul Hollywood’s Chocolate Cherry Loaf into a Chocolate and Orange braided bread.

Start to finish, this recipe takes about 3 1/2 to 4 hours to complete, but the majority of that time is for proving and baking.

A note on rising: when in doubt, rely more on how much the dough has grown rather than the recommended proving time in bread recipes. Ambient temperature affects proving time, and colder kitchens like mine usually require the maximum amount of time and then some to “double in size.” 

Chocolate and Orange Bread

  • 3 3/4 cups bread flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp rapid rise yeast
  • 1 3/4 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
  • the zest and juice of two oranges
  • 1 1/3 cups water*
  • 2.5 tbsp olive oil

*After removing the zest of a medium sized orange, juice it and add water to measure 1 1/3 cups total. Alternatively, just use 1 1/3 cups water.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, salt, brown sugar, yeast, and chocolate chips.

In another bowl, combine the zest, juice, water, and olive oil together.

With the mixer on medium-low speed, gradually add the liquid. Because you’re using a dough hook, it won’t fully incorporate, so use a spatula or your hands to periodically help the dough become a cohesive mass. Knead in the mixer on medium-low speed for 4-5 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for a couple turns just until it comes together as a smooth, elastic, and slightly sticky ball. Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover in plastic, and let it rest for 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.

         

Split the dough into 3 pieces of equal weight and shape into a 3-strand plait. I used this tutorial by The Bread Kitchen to help me through this process. The resulting loaf is fairly short, and you may lose a few shards of chocolate along the way. Cover the braid and let it rise an additional hour.

I completely messed up the two-strand plait here, so don’t trust me with braiding instructions, ha!

In the meantime, preheat your oven to 400 degrees and prepare an egg wash by beating an egg with about half a tablespoon of water. Brush the egg wash over the bread, making sure to coat the braids and down the sides.

Bake the bread for 25 minutes at 400F, reduce the heat to 375F and bake for an addition 20 minutes. The loaf should be golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

 

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Bread, Fig, Honey, Walnut

The Upper Crust

I’ve been getting more and more into bread-making, and I’ve been loving my sourdough starter and combining it with a no-knead dutch oven recipe.

This recipe, however, is a play off of Paul Hollywood’s Roquefort and Walnut tear-and-share loaf. My version is sweetened with honey, studded with figs, and filled with goat cheese and walnuts. I also decided to plat it rather than bake it in a tin. This loaf is also a bit smaller than his tear-and-share.

The Fig and Goat*

  • 200g bread flour
  • 50g whole wheat flour
  • 5g salt
  • 4g yeast
  • 175ml water
  • 30ml honey
  • 75g fig
  • 75g walnuts, chopped
  • 75g goat cheese

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flours, salt, and yeast. Dissolve the honey and water together, and add 3/4 of it to the dough. Knead the dough in a stand mixer for 5 minutes, adding in the remaining liquid gradually during that time. Add in the chopped figs and walnuts, mixing with your hands if necessary. Cover and let rise for one and half hours.

Dump out onto a floured surface, and divide the dough into two. Flatten each piece and spread/crumble the goat cheese over the dough. Fold the dough over and roll into ropes, roughly 8 inches in length, with the goat cheese tucked safely inside. On a parchment-covered baking sheet, plat the dough into a braid, tucking both ends under. Let it rise another hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake for 40-45 minutes until dark brown.

*While the bread was delicious, I definitely need to work on my shaping. Additionally, I might use a bit more water next time to make the dough more slack.

Bread

No Knead To Worry

I am no expert on bread, but I do love a good sourdough and a simple recipe. This recipe is easy, but it does require some special equipment and preparation: you need some sourdough starter, a dutch oven, and time.

But if you’ve got some sourdough starter, chances are you want to use it more but don’t have the time to research recipes and make complicated braided loaves. If you want something simple and tasty, this loaf is for you.

Side note: to learn how to make your own sourdough starter, or to purchase some to really make your life easy, I recommend King Arthur Flour:

King Arthur’s Sourdough Starter Recipe

No Knead Sourdough Bread

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup ‘fed’ sourdough starter

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and yeast. Make a well in the center, and add the water and sourdough starter. Use a silicone spatula to fold the mixture together until it’s an unmanageable, shaggy mess. Don’t worry, it’s supposed to be an unmanageable shaggy mess.

Leave it alone for anywhere from 12-24 hours. An oven is a great place to leave the dough; just remember to remove it before going on with the recipe.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. When your oven has reached temperature, place a dutch oven in the oven to heat for 30 minutes.

Transfer your dough to a piece of parchment. Lightly flour your hands and shape the dough into a ball. Let it rest while the dutch oven heats up.

After 30 minutes, remove the dutch oven, place the dough in the dutch oven, place the lid on the dutch oven, and place the dutch oven in the actual oven. Cook for 30 minutes at 450 degrees. Remove the lid and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and transfer the bread to a wire rack to cool completely. Slice and enjoy!

Bread

Everything Happens for a Raisin

Little is more comforting on a weekend morning than hot black coffee and warm cinnamon raisin bread, whether right from the oven or freshly toasted and thick with slathered butter.

This version does require a little more effort than the basic no-knead bread: light kneading (literally, just a couple turns) creates a fine, even crumb that works well for this bread; and the baking is done in two stages, first in the dutch oven and then on a baking sheet to ensure the bottom doesn’t get too brown. In fact, this two-stage baking method works really well if you find your no-knead bread gets too done on the bottom.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread yield: one loaf of cinnamon raisin bread

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp rapid rise yeast
  • 1 3/4 cups water, warm from the tap
  • 2 tbsp molasses, honey, or sugar
  • 1 cup raisins

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, cinnamon, salt, and yeast. In a small bowl, whisk together the water and molasses to dissolve. Pour the water over the dry ingredients followed by the raisins. Stir together with a silicone spatula until a shaggy dough forms. Cover the dough and let it rest for at least 12 hours.

…12-24 hours later…

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  When the oven has reached temperature, place a cast iron pot with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes. Set out a large baking sheet to transfer the bread for stage two of baking.

Meanwhile, pour the dough onto a heavily floured surface and knead for a few turns to develop a stiff ball. Place the ball of dough on a piece of parchment and cover with plastic. The parchment will make transferring the dough and removing the finished bread very easy. Let it set while the pot is heating.

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Stage 1: Remove hot pot from the oven and transfer the dough and parchment to the dutch oven. If the parchment hangs outside the lid, that’s perfectly fine.  Cover and return to oven for 25 minutes.

Stage 2: After 25 minutes, remove the lid and transfer the bread to the baking sheet. Place the bread back in the oven for an additional 25 minutes.  Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool. Slice and serve with butter, jam, or however you wish.

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My patience failed me, and I couldn’t help but to slice into the fresh baked boule. Here, it is featured with it’s three primary components: wheat flour, raisins, and cinnamon. 

Bread

The Best Thing Before Sliced Bread

A crunchy crust and a chewy, hearty interior; homemade bread could not be easier.

I highly recommend this recipe – wherever I found it and wherever it originated from – especially for baking novices: you stir everything together, let it sit, and bake it in a hot pot in an even hotter oven. To be honest, I use this as a kitchen-sink recipe: have some herbs that are wilting? Toss them in. Have a savory spice mix taking up room in your pantry? Toss it in. Have a lone can of beer in the fridge? Use it in place of the water. This recipe is highly adaptable and wonderfully forgiving. It encourages experimentation, and that is something I can always get behind.

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Rustic No-Knead Bread

  • 3 cups bread flour (though all-purpose will work in a pinch)
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp highly active, rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Whisk together the flour, salt, and yeast. Make a well in the center and add the water. Using a spatula, fold and stir together the dough until it becomes a shaggy, unmanageable mess (but do make sure the ingredients are mixed together well).

Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 12-24 hours until doubled inside. An unused oven is a perfect spot, though remember to remove the dough before continuing with the recipe.

…12-24 hours later…

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  When the oven has reached temperature, place a cast iron pot with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour the dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball. Don’t knead the dough; simply shape it into a ball. Place the ball of dough on a piece of parchment. The parchment will make transferring the dough and removing the finished bread very easy. Cover with plastic wrap and let set while the pot is heating.

Remove hot pot from the oven and transfer the dough and parchment to the dutch oven. If the parchment hangs outside the lid, that’s perfectly fine.  Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes.  Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.