Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Chocolate + Cardamom + Bread = T3h Awesome!

Work and life in general have both conspired to keep me too busy to do much in the way of baking or blogging, as of late. Thus, when I had two days off in a row (something of a rarity for me) I decided to take advantage of it and get off my lazy ass and bake something!

I don't know why, but the thought of a chocolate bread popped into my mind pretty quickly. I did not, however, want to end up baking what amounted to a chocolate loaf cake...I wanted bread, the kind with yeast you get to knead in a Tai Chi-like motion, thus gaining peace and mental centrality. (I think I just made up that last bit, but it sounds good so I'm rolling with it!) I hunted about for recipes and finally found one that fit the bill!

The bread come out looking like a loaf of whole wheat bread, even though it's all just unbleached AP flour--ah, the wonders of unsweetened cocoa powder. The chocolate flavor isn't apparent at first, but it sinks in as you chew. I took a little liberty with the recipe and added in a couple of pods worth of fresh ground cardamom seed (my favorite spice), which gave it that little something of curiosity. The white you see on top of the loaf is just more flour, though I did consider powdered sugar, but wanting to keep with a non-sweet chocolate bread, I opted instead for flour.

All and all I do like the bread, and it makes for a killer peanut butter and jelly sandwich!

Chocolate Cardamom Bread
via About.com and tweaked just slightly by moi.

4 cups Unbleached AP Flour, approx.
¼ cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 tbsp Sugar
1 tbsp Brown Sugar
2 ¼ tsp (or one packet) Active Dry Yeast
1 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 ½ cups Warm Water (about 110°F)

In large bow, mix together 2 cups bread flour, cocoa, sugar, brown sugar, yeast, salt, oil, and water. Mix in the remaining flour, about a quarter cup at a time, until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto lightly floured board and knead for 5 minutes, adding only a small sprinkle of flour each time the dough gets too sticky.

Put dough in greased bowl. Turn dough over in bowl so that the dough top is also lightly greased. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or clean kitchen cloth and let rise in warm place for 1 hour.

Punch down dough. Turn dough out onto board and knead for another 5 minutes. Shape dough into loaf. Put loaf in greased 9x5-inch loaf pan. Cover loaf and let rise for about 30 minutes or until double in size.

Bake at 400°F for about 25 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when you tap on it.

Friday, February 20, 2009


Sorry for the lack of posts, as of late. Just haven't had a whole lot of free time to do a lot of cooking or photographing or writing. I've also been suffering from a lack of inspiration, really. I've been through this many a time before and this, too, will pass. I've actually been ruminating over the many bags of frozen elderberries, and what to do with them. Perhaps some elderberry liqueur, or elderberry jam?

Hang in there folks and satisfy your hunger by rummaging through my previous posts to hopefully find your own inspiration.

Here's a subtly HDR-ified photo of a plate of shitake, crimini, and oyster mushrooms for your visual enjoyment and gastronomic salivation. ^_^