My latest loaf is somewhat akin to a fruit and nut bar in bread form, although the chocolate is subtle and comes from cacao nibs baked into the loaf.
Cacao nibs are little pieces of unrefined chocolate, the main ingredient that is used with the addition of cacao butter, sugar and other ingredients to make bar chocolate. They are hard, crunchy and bitter, with an intense hit of pure chocolate, my little pot came from Hotel Chocolat. The baking somewhat softens and mellows them; I was surprised at just how well this loaf worked.
Delicious thickly spread with speculoos or a black cherry jam for breakfast or at tea time.
Recipe: Almond, Raisin and Chocolate Loaf
Makes 1 medium loaf (lasts the 2 of us 2 days)
300ml warm water
1 heaped tsp yeast (dried active – I used the one for hand baking)
300g strong white flour
175g strong brown bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbs oil – olive / rapeseed / hemp etc.
Generous handful raisins
Generous handful almonds – roughly chopped
Heaped tbs cacao nibs – or coursely grated chocolate
Pour the water into bowl, add the yeast and swirl to it is dissolved. Add the other ingredients.
Knead with the dough hook attachment of your mixer on the lowest speed for about 4 minutes until a smooth stretchy dough has formed (if you knead by hand it will take longer).
Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for a few hours or in the fridge overnight. It should more than double in size.
In the morning turn out onto a floured board and gently knock the dough back. Shape the loaf, lace in an oiled and floured 1lb loaf tin. Leave somewhere warm until doubled in size again.
Place in a preheated oven at GM7 / 220C / 425F and bake for about 40 minutes. For a crustier loaf place a small dish of water in the oven under the loaf.
When it is done it should turn out of the tin and sound hollow when tapped. It always takes longer to bake than you think it will, so my general rule of thumb is that if you are unsure give it another 5 mins.
The very pretty tea towel in the photos is from the Hope & Greenwood Homewares Collection.
Thanks to both Hotel Chocolat and Hope & Greenwood for samples.
And to Yeastspotting…