Friday, August 26, 2011

(David Lebovitz) Chocolate Bread

Chocolate Bread?
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I hardly have any luck baking breads, which is why you hardly see any on my blog. Nine out of 10 times, it will be a disaster. As such, when I do bake breads at all, I tend to limit myself to the easiest, simplest recipes I can lay my hands on.

I was intrigued by this Chocolate Bread by David Lebovitz because it was a no-knead recipe. You only need to use a spatula and fold the dough over and over within a bowl. Hey, right up my alley! ;) It's not that I don't like kneading, it's just that I don't like the mess that comes with it. Anyway, everything went well all the way to the oven, and I thought to myself, "Yay! This might just be one of those odd occasions I'm actually gonna get it right."

Until I sliced it open. It was all ... cake. HUH?

I didn't think I did anything wrong, so I went back to that post and trawled the comments section. Then I realised it was meant to be that way. In David's own words (in his reply to someone): "It does not rise as much as traditional bread, I think because of all the chocolate in it. It should be ... somewhat like a yeasted cake."

Whew! All is not lost, and there is still hope for me.

But did I like it? Uh, no. I wanted bread. BREAD, people. I'm talking pull-apart, tear-away-as-you-eat BREAD. I wanted long, beautiful gluten strands. I wanted ... oh, nevermind.

My children, though, had no problems finishing it, especially the youngest, who demanded twice, "I want some more CAKE."

'Nuff said.

(from David Lebovitz)

- 3/4 cup (180ml) whole or low-fat milk, heated until just tepid
- 1 envelope active dry yeast (1/4 ounce, or 2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 6 tablespoons (75g) sugar
- 4 tablespoons (55g) butter, salted or unsalted
- 3 ounces (85g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso powder (optional)
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cups (280g) bread flour
- 1/4 cup (30g) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup (3 1/2 ounces, 90g) chocolate chips or coarsely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
- 1/2 cup (70g) toasted pecans, walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the milk. Add one tablespoon (11 g) sugar, then set aside in a warm place for 10 to 15 minutes, until bubbles form on the surface.

2. While the yeast is activating, in a small saucepan, melt the butter and 3 ounces (85 g) chocolate over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.

3. Once the yeast mixture is frothy, mix in the remaining sugar, the instant coffee (if using), the egg, vanilla, and sea salt.

4. Stir in half the flour and cocoa powder, then the melted butter and chocolate, then the remaining flour mixture, stirring until well-incorporated. If using a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and beat for five minutes, until smooth. If making by hand, mix vigorously with a flexible spatula for the same amount of time. The dough will seem quite moist, resembling sticky brownie batter when ready.

5. Cover the bowl and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours.

6. Butter a 9-inch (23 cm) loaf pan.

7. Stir in the chopped chocolate and nuts, if using. Then use a spatula to fold the dough over on itself in the bowl for about thirty seconds, then transfer it to the buttered pan, pressing a bit to spread it to the corners. Let rise in a warm place for one hour.

8. Ten minutes before you’re ready to bake the bread, preheat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC.)

9. Bake the bread for 35 to 40 minutes, until it feels done and sounds hollow when you tap it. You can stick an instant-read thermometer in the bottom if you’re unsure; the bread is done when the temperature reads 180ºF (82ºC).


  1. I remember reading that recipe in detail and was intrigued by the cake-like 'bread'. Are you still looking for a chocolate BREAD recipe?

  2. do you think i can bake this in my rice cooker? i have a rice cooker with bread baking functions

  3. The chocolate bread looks so great. Wanna try!

  4. this can easily pass off for a chocolate cake. Whew.... are you making up for all the silence two months ago..great work.

  5. You would have no trouble baking real bread..Especially the no knead Jim Lahey one..:)

    This chocolate bread looks good..but uoui are's like a banana bread type:)

  6. I adore David Lebovitz so have utter faith this bread tastes just as good as it looks, ie i am CRAVING right now something awful!

  7. I love your tea canister! I've been looking for cute canisters everywhere!

  8. Great! I like the way it's presented here.

  9. The chocolate bread looks really moist!

  10. haha... i like reading about how your cooking/baking makes your children so happy... food to me is all about how much joy it brings your loved ones, and you are definitely really good at that. thanks for the recipe!

  11. Looks great and I bet tastes fantastic! Would love to make it and to always have a piece during my coffee break!

  12. Interesting to read your take on this recipe. It's been on my list for a while and I've been debating whether or not I would like it. I like bread to be bread and cake to be cake. from his description it seems like it's not sweet enough for a real cake dessert, but it's also not a real bread either. haha.

  13. kirbie: You said it for me! I, too, like my bread to be bread and my cake to be cake. ;)

  14. I really have to try this!! David Lebovitz!