Chocolate Cranberry Yeast Bread
I stumbled across one of my old journals while I was doing some cleaning in my new place. It always makes me laugh at how boy-crazy and naive I was in high school. Oh wait, I'm still that way...
On one page, I found my resolutions for the New Year of 2010.
In case you were curious, I didn't complete any of them. Shocker, I know.
Instead, I should have written more reasonable resolutions--learn how to make bread, run a half marathon, learn how to drive a stick shift--since I've done all of those.
Perhaps I'll amend my 2010 resolutions so when my children look back in 2072, they will think I was supah coooool. Or supah weird.
Probably the former.
Chocolate Cranberry Yeast Bread
Makes 2 small loaves, 12 slices each
This is probably my favorite yeast bread. It is lightly sweetened, soft, and has an excellent crumb. Not only that, the pre-baked loaves are sliced on top to make a beautiful design. You'll love these loaves with your breakfast. They bread goes wonderfully with peanut butter, Nutella, cookie butter, and even honeyed goat cheese. If you're feeling crazy consider adding some dried cherries instead of cranberries (or any other dried berry).
Don't be nervous about making this bread. It is so easy! I promise YOU CAN DO IT!!! :)
- 1/4 cup warm water (105° to 115°F)
- 1 package (2 and 1/4 teaspoon) dry active yeast
- 3 teaspoons granulated sugar, divided
- 3-1/2 cups all purpose flour (you may need more or less depending on the whether and where you are making your bread)
- 1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1-3/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup freshly brewed coffee, cooled until warm (105° to 115°F)
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 large egg, separated--cover egg white and place in refrigerator
- 3/4 dried cranberries, or cherries
- 3 squares (3 oz.) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (Or a mixture of white chocolate chips and regular chocolate, which I used)
- 1 teaspoon water
1. In a small bowl or cup combine warm water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of the granulated sugar. Stir to dissolve. Let mixture stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine 3 cups of flour, cocoa, brown sugar, and salt.
3. With a wooden spoon, stir warm coffee, butter, egg yolk, and yeast mixture into flour mixture. With floured hands, knead the mixture several times to combine.
4. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. About 10 minutes. This is the most tedious part of the bread making, below is great video if you need help. Work in the remaining 1/2 cup of flour just to keep the dough from sticking. You may not use it all. Knead in the cherries and the chocolate.
5. Shape the dough into a smooth ball. Place in a large greased bowl, turning the dough ball so that all sides are greased. Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let rise in a warm place (80-85°F), until doubled in volume, about 1 hour 30 minutes.
6. Punch down dough. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and cut in half. Cover dough and let rest for 15 minutes for easier shaping.
7. Shape each dough half into a 5-inch ball. Using the sides of your hands, tuck the sides of the dough under to meet in the center. Rotate and repeat to form a taut ball. Place balls, 3 inches apart, in opposite corners of an ungreased large cookie sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
8. Preheat oven to 400°F. In a small cup, beat reserved egg white with water. Use a brush to top the loaves. Sprinkle loaves with remaining 2 teaspoons granulated sugar. With a SHARP serrated knife or single edge razor blade, cut a shallow X in the top of the loaves. Bake until loaves are crusty, about 20 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
Storage Keep bread at room temperature, wrapped well in plastic wrap (I used about 4 pieces), for up to 5 days. Bread freezes well for up to 3 months, well wrapped--I first covered bread with plastic wrap, and then foil. Avoid the fridge as it will dry the bread out.
Recipe lightly adapted from Chocolate! Good Housekeeping Favorite Recipes
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