Sunday, February 17, 2013

Chocolate Bread

Honestly, a bread machine is not a necessary appliance in your kitchen. Once you get the hang of it, kneading dough and letting it rise requires little effort, involves mostly hands-free time, and produces beautiful loaves of bread. But let's face it: sometimes everyone feels a little lazy, and those lazy days are when I like my bread machine. Put all the ingredients in the basket, press start, and about 3 hours later, a baked loaf comes out. It's not the best bread in the world, but it certainly is easy.

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup warm water (between 100 and 110 degrees)
  • 1/3 cup vegan sugar
  • 1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter
  • 2 teaspoons bread-machine yeast*
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces coarsely chopped dark chocolate**
  • 1 Ener-G egg yolk
1, Prep all your ingredients so they're lined up and ready to go: lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups and level with a knife; heat the water; chop the chocolate, and make the Ener-G egg yolk (1 and 1/2 teaspoons powder whisked into only 1 tablespoon warm water).

2. Place the ingredients in the bread machine basket in the order specified by the manufacturer's instructions. Generally, this will follow the pattern of liquids, then dry ingredients, and the yeast last (the yeast should not touch the liquid). I placed everything in the basket in this order: water, Ener-G yolk, flour, sugar, cocoa, butter, salt, chocolate, yeast.

3. Select the cycle and settings for a 1 and 3/4 pound loaf on your machine, and then kick back for a lazy weekend afternoon while the machine does all the work.

Here's an update on the bread after kneading, at the stage where you remove the kneading paddle from the basket:

And here's the machine that gets all the credit:

This bread seems tailor-made for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (I particularly liked it with strawberry jam).

Or toast a slice for a quick breakfast, and spread with jam. 

*Make sure you use a yeast that is specifically formulated for bread machines, since not all active dry yeast is. Red Star brand works great, and says right on the package that it is "ideal for bread machines."

**Opt for a bittersweet dark chocolate with a high percentage of cacao, otherwise you'll wind up with something more like a cake than a bread. I used the 88% dark from the Endangered Species Chocolate CompanyBonus points for that cute face on the wrapper:

Nutrition Info:
14 servings (1 slice), Calories 183

Tasting Notes:
Well bread machine, I am impressed. You turned out a loaf with a nice crust (like sliced sandwich bread you buy at the store), and the most beautiful, moist crumb interior. The bread tastes of chocolate without being cloyingly sweet, thanks to the use of a bittersweet dark variety.  In fact, although almost a touch bitter alone, this bread is basically tailor-made for the most perfect pb&j sandwiches you'll ever make.


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