This lightly sweetened bread is great with a cup of coffee or a glass of red wine. The recipe comes from “The Italian Baker” cookbook, by Carol Field.
I’ve made this several times before but this time it tasted better than ever. The texture was light and more like soft Italian bread. In the past, it’s had more of a cake consistency. I think the difference was sifting the flour (actually I don’t own a flour sifter and instead push the flour through a fine sieve with a butter knife) and using a food processor (instead of working it all by hand).
And oh yes, in the past I’ve spread cream cheese over each slice but this time I splurged and used Mascarpone. I’ll never use anything else or make it any other way.
Recipe: Makes 2 round or oval loafs
- 1 package (2 1/2 tsp) active dry yeast
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/3 cup, plus 1 tbsp, warm water
- 4 1/2 cups of unbleached, all-purpose flour (sifted or pushed through a fine sieve with a butter knife)
- 1/2 cup, plus 2 tbsp, sugar
- 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp of salt
- 1 1/4 cups of warm water
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tbsp butter, at room temperature, cut up into four pieces
- 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips
What I did:
Stir the yeast and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar into 1/3 cup, plus 1 tbsp of warm water in a small bowl. Let stand until foamy (about 10 min.)
Put the flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a food processor fitted with a dough blade. Process with several pulses to mix well.
Stir 1 1/4 cups of cold water and the egg yolk into the dissolved yeast.
Put the pieces of butter ontop of the dry ingredients in the food processor.
With the food processor running, pour the yeast mixture through the feed tube as quickly as the flour can absorb it and process it until the dough gathers into a ball.
Process for another 40-45 seconds, pouring the chocolate chips through the feed tube during the last 10 seconds.
If necessary, knead dough a little more on a floured surface until it is velvety, elastic, and moist.
First Rise: Put dough in an oiled bowl and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Let it rise until doubled (about 2 hours).
Second Rise: Punch the dough down and cut it in half on a lightly floured surface. Shape each piece into a round or oval loaf and place on an oiled baking sheet. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled (about 1 hour).
Heat the oven to 450 degrees and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake 30 minutes longer.
Cool completely on a rack before slicing.
Spread Mascarpone cheese on a slice and enjoy. Makes a good dessert or breakfast treat.
Find more recipes in the Food section.