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’.
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.
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.
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.
Chocolate Currant Sour Cream Bread
- 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
- 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.