Pane al Cioccolato – Italian Chocolate Bread
It’s a little cold this morning –already my 5th day in France being with my wonderful family– in the suburb of SE Paris, so I decide to make another batch of hot chocolate drink for myself and the kids -my niece and nephew– who are sleeping still as it’s early here just past 0700 in the morning. As I travel with my milk frother, chocolate drink can be made just about anywhere to quickly get chocolate into my blood stream. Anyway, this “pane al cioccolato” comes to mind as I am sipping the rich, slightly sweet, aromatic and warm chocolate milk wishing a piece of such lovely toast right this minute to dunk into this wonderful drink for a double shot of dark chocolate and yes, more caffeine, not that I need any.
I’d followed & enjoyed Jude of Apple Pie, Patis & Pâté for a while until it has become a ghost blog since July 2009. This recipe and method came from his blog where he posted some great photos of the bread and dough. Browse his site when you have a chance, you would have a fun time as I’ve had.
This bread caught my attention because of the one single ingredient namely chocolate, secondly the natural starter used in –as with most Italian bread– its biga, an equivalence of [French/Polish?] poolish, made with a lower-than-100-percent sourdough starter resulting in a doughy biga naturale and thirdly it can be done within a day after mixing the biga the previous night.
Pane al Cioccolato /Italian Chocolate Bread
makes two 375 gram / 13.25 ounce loaves
For the Biga Naturale / Wild Yeast Starter:
Ingredients Grams starter (50% hydration) 28 bread flour 32 water, at room temperature 18
Mix the biga naturale ingredients until the ingredients are evenly distributed.
Place the biga naturale in a bowl and cover. Let it ferment at room temperature (70 – 75° F) for about 8 hours before using in the final dough.
Final Dough Formula:
Ingredients Grams all of the biga naturale, cut into small pieces bread flour 393 water 248 honey 71 cocoa powder 25/4 Tablespooninstant yeast 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 Tablespoon sea salt 10/2 teaspoon chocolate chips 78 - I used Scharffen Berger's 72% chocolate, chopped into small pieces
Mix all of the ingredients (except the chocolate chips) until evenly incorporated. Knead 8 to 10 minutes by a mixer until it reaches medium-gluten development. Rest 5 minutes. Fold in the chocolate chips by hand or by machine at low-speed for about a minute or until the chocolate chips are thoroughly incorporated.
Proof the dough for 2 hours at room temperature in a lightly oiled bowl; if your starter is not as mature to start with it might take longer.
Divide the dough into 2 equal portions about 454 grams each. Pre-shape lightly, cover with saran wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.
Shape into batard or ball. Let them proof at room temperature for about 3 hours or longer until it’s light and filled with lots of air bubbles.
About 45 minutes before the proofing is done, pre-heat the oven with baking stone/tiles to 400 °F (204° F). Prepare steam for the bake.
Slash 2 almost-parallel cuts at 15 – 20 degree angle to create flaps over the dough. Load the loaves onto the pre-heated stone, apply steam, close the oven door and bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the loaves, remove steam, and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes.
It tastes airily light with a soft crust, a chewy crumb and melted dark chocolate in every bite. Serve this bread as breakfast and/or dessert with milk or your preferred drink. Enjoy.
I couldn’t decide if this is rich-dough or lean-dough bread. It started out as a lean dough with all the basic ingredients and a little bit of honey; however the [dark] chocolate has pushed it away from being lean so it’s rich bread then –Decision reached–.
I am pleased to send this bread to Yeast Spotting to share with other bread enthusiasts. Please visit the site to enjoy this week’s wonderful bakes as well as those in the archives. You will have a fun time there, I promise, would most likely go away with a bread or two to bake over the weekend.