Sunday, April 07, 2013

Bread and Chocolate

Is food sensual or simply sustenance?  

In the case of fresh baked bread, sustenance imagery goes back to biblical times.  But, the connection between bread and sensuality is unmistakable – the tactile experience of kneading the smooth elastic dough, and the intoxicating, uplifting aroma of warm yeast.  The bread comes alive and its living essence dances in the air.  

But, suppose commonplace bread were merged with something a little dark and alluring?  The seeds of temptation were sown recently when my friend Laura Luciano wrote in her wonderful blog out east foodie about the chocolate bread sold at the Blue Duck Bakery Café in Riverhead, Long Island.  

I’d never heard of chocolate bread.   I couldn’t get the idea out of my mind – a delicious touch of decadence folded into our daily bread.  It quickly became an obsession. With nary enough time for a field trip to Riverhead, I opt for the do-it-yourself approach and troll the Internet for ideas.   I land on this recipe.   It’s not exactly in the artisan style of the Blue Duck, but it’s a good starter recipe that will allow me to learn the method and see how the ingredients and flavors mesh together.  

The recipe is much like a traditional yeast bread loaf, with the addition of cocoa powder and semi-sweet baking chips that are melted in a saucepan with milk and butter.  
The initial, shaggy dough is streaky with flecks of cocoa.  
A few minutes of focused kneading results in a ball of dough that is rich chocolate brown. 
After two rises, the dough is split between two loaf pans and baked for about thirty minutes.  
The house is filled with the aroma of warm brownies laced with yeast. 
Unlike an intensely sweet chocolate dessert, the flavors are far subtler.  I can taste the essence of chocolate, without the dizzying sugar high.  The bread is really quite beautiful in its dark simplicity.  
So when to eat this alluring bread?    Breakfast?  Lunch? Afternoon tea?   I yield to temptation, drizzle a slice with some local honey and don’t even wait for an official meal.  
©2013 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved


Unknown said...

Sounds great!

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a pretty bread. I'm not sure I knew about chocolate bread, but Fresh Market used to have a double chocolate pound cake that was fabulous. I don't really have a sweet tooth, but I do love chocolate, especially dark chocolate.

Great loaf of bread T.W.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

My first thought, too -- how would you serve it? Toasted, with butter? I can't really imagine it in a sandwich, but as a less-sweet substitute with afternoon tea, I think it would be a treat.

tasteofbeirut said...

When to eat it? I love a tea pause with a couple of slices of this bread; this bread is sparking my imagination already, can think of thos or that variation. thanks for the inspiration, will try soon.

Laura Luciano said...

This is incredible! How will a loaf make it to the next day? I need to try my hand at baking bread, now I am inspired. Thank you for this. I bet a little Ricotta on that bread would be tasty! ;)

Gloria Baker said...

aah this bread look amazing and akways enjoy making bread but never heard about a chocolate bread look really stunning!

~~louise~~ said...

Chocolate Bread sounds simply heavenly, T.W. I'm sure I could get use to having a loaf or two in my bread box!

Thank you so much for sharing...

P.S. I'm off to Idaho for a couple of months, however, when I return, I will be making a long visit to Long Island. Riverhead will certainly be on my agenda!

Axelle the french cook said...

You're right, to make a bread (or a pastry) is very sensual. Cooking is a kind of love story if we think about it. Your chocolate bread looks very good. And I don't have any problem to know how to eat it !! :)

Barbara said...

I've made Marion Cunningham's chocolate yeast bread, but this looks even better. Much as I love the dough hook, there is something about the "feel" of hand kneading that I love. You can tell when it's ready to sit and rise just by how it feels. Your loaves looks marvelous, T. W.

Mary Bergfeld said...

The loaves look wonderful, T.W. They'd be perfect on the brunch table. I hope you week is off to a great start. Blessings...Mary

Kalyn Denny said...

I think chocolate toast with melted butter sounds like a heavenly breakfast.

Anonymous said...

Those home-made chocolate breads look amazing & what about a chocolate bread French toast with maple syrup & added berries?

MMMMMMMMMM! I must make this stunning recipe soon & & try this out! x