Yeasty Efforts

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I love bread more than chocolate. I love bread more than ice cream. I would be perfectly happy to replace my meals with home-made slices of soft bread and butter. I am glad living on home-made bread alone was never my crazy plan – the problem bring that I couldn’t bake one, not if my life depended on it. When I fancied baking one, it would end up being a store-bought pre-made frozen dough. At the least they were edible and didn’t hurt my pride.

Every effort I had taken before in making bread from scratch ended up yeasty and doughy in all the wrong dimensions. I thought that the whole bread making business was probably something that runs in one’s blood. My mother’s attempts at bread making come to mind, as does the word ‘disastrous’.

 2014-02-20

Then someone mentioned ‘No Knead Artisan Breads’. “So, you mean you can actually make bread without having to work the dough until your wrist hurts? And the end product is edible?”. It felt like I had wasted all this time on a frivolous folly.

If you are still struggling with baking bread, give this recipe a go – it is the recipe that changed everything for me. But I must admit that just a good recipe does not always have the ability to regain your faith. Understanding the characteristics of the ingredients and how they work with each other is equally important in baking. I started reading about how flour, water, and yeast act together and how these three ingredients can be manipulated in different ways to produce different textures of bread. It is quite fascinating to me.

 Pippy Park with Ava

Bread baking has a basic formula that needs to be followed and having a good book as a guide is of tremendous importance.  As soon as my no-knead breads were turning out like my personal Olympic golds, I bought myself two books:  Emmanuel Hadjiandreo’s ‘How to Bake Bread’ and Richard Bertinet’s coveted book ‘Dough- Simple Contemporary Breads‘. They are both brilliant books to possess but Emmanuel’s book has become my personal favourite. The recipe here is an adaptation from his Chocolate Currant Sourdough Bread.

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Sourdough is another story. Sourdough does not reciprocate my love. I tried and failed so many times that it’s become an embarrassment, a miserable one. Rachel of the blog Foodicity met me in Montreal last summer and gave me an amazing loaf of Challah bread that could knock anyone’s socks off.  To go with it she packed me some of her own sourdough starter that she started in her cabin somewhere in the mountains. On the way back to Newfoundland, the airline lost our luggage – along with the precious starter. The gift starved in the hands of the airline and died. I felt terrible. I could not revive it again. Carribougirl from our very own Newfoundland blog Moose Curry Experience packed me a jar of sourdough starter made from wild feral apples – apples that she and her friend Fifi Noir picked on their hikes through the woods. I killed that one too. I feel like a convict.

I am on hiatus from trying to trap airborne yeast. I ain’t giving up though. For now – until I find a solution to my sourdough calamity – I continue to look at recipes requiring sourdough and pretend that it’s not there.

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Chocolate Currant Sour Cream Bread

Ingredients:

  • Flour: 3 cups
  • Coco Powder: 3 Tbsp
  • Currants: 1 cup
  • Chocolate chips: 2/3 cups ( I used a mix of dark and milk chocolate chips)
  • Sour Cream: 3 Tbsp
  • Sugar: 3 Tbsp
  • Salt: 1/2 tsp
  • Active Dry Yeast: 1/2 Tsp
  • Warm water: 1 and 1/3 cups

Method:

  • Mix flour, coco powder, chocolate chips, currants, salt and 2 tbsp sugar together until it is well incorporated – it is called the dry mixture.
  • In a bowl take the warm water(I make sure my water is at 100F using a cooking thermometer) and add the yeast and the sugar and stir to combine.
  • Add the yeast water along with the sour cream into the dry mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until it all comes together.
  • The mixture will be sticky .
  • Cover the bowl with another bowl or a tea towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, fold the dough twice or three times in the bowl and let rest for 10 more minutes.
  • Repeat previous step again for two more times.
  • Transfer dough into a well floured baking basket or a bread pan and cover.
  • Let dough rise for 4 hours or until it is almost doubled but not quite.
  • Preheat oven at 425F.
  • Invert dough on baking sheet with parchment paper or into your wooden spool.
  • With a very sharp knife make 3 incisions.
  • Bake the chocolate bread for 25 to 30 minutes or until the crust is deeper in colour and the bottom sounds hollow.
  • Let rest for a few minutes before slicing.
  • Serve with chocolate hazelnut spread or butter.
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14 thoughts on “Yeasty Efforts

  1. This recipe sounds amazing! I will definitely have to try it! Thanks for the share. I’m going to be posting a recipe for 90 minute bread! It is by far the easiest recipe I have EVER had for bread… Or fresh buns! Like you, I’m obsessed with bread!!!

  2. The bread looks perfect! It’s hard to believe you failed so many times at bread making after seeing this perfect loaf! I was scared of baking bread too but have recently fallen in love with it. Kneading isn’t that difficult and you can make just about any bread you want! Try it sometime..it’s really fun! Best of luck! 🙂

    • I failed miserably over and over again. I think I wasn’t following things right or was being impatient. Glad that misery is over. 🙂 I have started to knead dough lately because of some of the recipes that call for it. It isn’t bad but I just don’t enjoy it…talk about being lazy. Haha.

  3. I completely understand your sourdough experience!! I’m the same. I’ve killed three lots of sourdough starter so far; one of them was sent over by Brydie from Cityhippyfarmgirl but it starved by the time it got here to Western Australia (we have a stupid mail service). I’ve given up, disheartened and disillusioned! Glad to read about some of your bread successes too though. This loaf looks GORGEOUS, what a stunning combination of chocolate and fruit. Yum!! I’m definitely bookmarking this beauty! xx

  4. Your bread looks fabulous, sourdough or not! When you’re ready for another try, I can produce plenty of starter again. I will admit, I am still very much an amateur with sourdough, but a long time bread baker. It’s really difficult for me to give up the kneading! Keep at it, you are filling yourself with the science of bread, but the practice will lead you to the art of bread. You’re obviously well on your way now. Cheers!

    (and thanks for the link!)

    • I need to get my confidence back up with the whole sourdough thing. When I saw your sourdough toutons on Yeastspotting a few weeks back I almost cried thinking I could have had that myself too! I will get some more from you in the spring if you will please. I am not meeting you empty handed…I need to bring you some pickles. 🙂

  5. I look forward to trying this recipe! i can always mail you some dried starter if you like. it does come back to life – or forget sourdough and enjoy your delicious breads – sometimes the hype of something (beating the sourdough demons) is overrated 🙂

    • Nice to hear from you Rachel! Hope you give this a try. You’ll love it. I do want to give every chance I get to getting the sourdough right…it’s like a personal challenge now, I’m so frustrated with it. Then I think once I get it right I would probably look for another frustration!

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