I grinned like an idiot as I lifted the dark brown loaves from the charred baking stone with bare hands. The soft crust smiled back with its wide open slashes, a sight that every bread maker hopes for upon opening the oven door. It didn’t matter that my calloused fingertips started to burn or that hot air threatened to singe my eyebrows into an unnatural curl; the scent of steaming mugs of hot chocolate made the pain strangely comforting.
Half melted chocolate morsels that clung perilously to the crust instead of being safely nestled inside the warm loaf tempted me to pick on it. I decided to wait until the following morning, a cup of freshly brewed coffee in hand.
More importantly, I decided to wait until after taking photos.
If you read this far, two things may seem obvious: the coffee I’m having as I write this is really strong and this semisweet chocolate bread is pure bliss.
Click! Crusts hosted by Jugalbandi
Pane al Cioccolato
Italian Chocolate Bread
makes two 375 gram / 13.25 ounce loaves
Chocolate chips and pane al cioccolato dough.
- Knead the dough and develop the gluten thoroughly before adding the chocolate chips. Add it towards the final minute of kneading.
For the Biga Naturale / Wild Yeast Starter:
Ingredients Volume Ounces Grams starter (50% hydration) 1 28 bread flour 1/4 cup 1.125 32 water, at room temperature .625 18
Mix the biga naturale ingredients until the ingredients are evenly distributed.
Place the biga naturale in a bowl and cover. Let the wild yeast starter ferment at room temperature for about 8 hours before using in the final dough.
Final Dough Formula:
Ingredients Volume Ounces Grams all of the biga naturale, cut into small pieces bread flour 3 cups 13.875 393 water 1 1/8 cups 8.75 248 honey 4 tbsp 2.5 71 vanilla extract 1 tbsp cocoa powder 4 tbsp .875 25 instant yeast 1/4 tsp kosher salt 1 tbsp .375 10 chocolate chips 2.75 78 (added towards the end of kneading)
Final Dough Instructions:
Mix Mix all of the ingredients (except the chocolate chips) until evenly incorporated.
Knead 8 to 10 minutes Rest 5 minutes Knead Add the chocolate chips and knead for about a minute or until the chocolate chips are thoroughly incorporated
Kneaded pane al cioccolato dough.
Bulk Ferment 2 hours at room temperature in a lightly oiled bowl Divide 2 pieces, about 1 lb/454 grams each Preshape light ball
Divided and pre-shaped pane al cioccolato dough.
Rest 20 to 30 minutes Shape boule or batard Final Proof 3 hours at room temperature Preheat Oven 400ºF/204ºC Score 2 to 3 slashes Steam 1 cup of boiling water poured in a heavy steam pan (preferably cast iron) Bake Bake at 400ºF/204ºC for 20 minutes. Rotate the loaves if necessary and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes. Cool At least 1 hour
I wonder how much Whole Foods would charge for this?
Pane al cioccolato crumb.
Serve during breakfast with coffee or milk or serve as a dessert with fresh fruits.
Do you still have some chocolate sauce left over from making eclairs? Are you thinking what I’m thinking?