Saturday, January 09, 2010

Coconut-Chocolate Bread

Look, I'm sorry. I know you're on a diet. I'm on one, too. But it's been snowing here and I love to bake and I just happened to find Jim Lahey's book "My Bread" at the library. When I saw this recipe for Coconut-Chocolate Bread, well, there went all my will power. I had to try this to see what it was like.
This isn't a quick bread, so it isn't cake-like at all. Actually, it's based on the No-Knead Bread recipe that took the foodie world by storm a while ago. So what you end up with is a loaf of seriously crusty, chewy bread with bits of sweet chocolate and coconut throughout.
I followed the recipe to the T, and sadly, I overcooked it. (My oven is playing tricks with me lately; it knows I have no respect for it.) Luckily I was able to salvage much of it, though.
My comments: I used sweetened coconut, because I had that on hand. I thought it might give the bread a more sweet flavor, but in fact, you really can't taste the coconut at all. You just get the texture. Next time, I'd just leave it out.
I used Ghiradelli chips because they're bigger than normal chips; that was a good idea. Next time I might just chop up some chocolate.
And of course, the baking time. I'd cut it down to 30 minutes initially and then go from there.
This is definitely a unique taste. Not too sweet, but not savory, either. It actually reminds me of the Eszet chocolate sandwiches we had when the von Schokolats came back from Germany.

Chocolate-Coconut Bread

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons bread flour
2 cups loosely packed unsweetened large-flake coconut
1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon instant or other active dry yeast
11/4 cups cool water

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, half of the coconut, the chocolate, salt, and yeast. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hands, mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the surface is puffy and the dough is more than doubled in size, 12 to 18 hours.

When the first rise is complete, generously dust a work surface with bran or flour. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece. Using lightly floured hands or a bowl scraper or spatula, lift the edges of the dough in toward the center. Nudge and tuck in the edges of the dough to make it round.

Place a tea towel on your work surface, generously dust it with wheat bran or flour, and sprinkle it with 1/2 cup of the remaining coconut. Gently place the dough on the towel, seam side down. Lightly sprinkle the surface with the remaining 1/2 cup coconut. Fold the ends of the tea towel loosely over the dough to cover it and place it in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The dough is ready when it is almost doubled. If you gently poke it with your finger, it should hold the impression. If it springs back, let it rise for another 15 minutes.

Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F, with a rack in the lower third, and place a covered 41/2 - to 51/2 -quart heavy pot in the center of the rack.

Using pot holders, carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven and uncover it. Unfold the tea towel and quickly but gently invert the dough into the pot, seam side up. (Use caution—the pot will be very hot.) Cover the pot and bake for 40 minutes.

Remove the lid and continue baking until the bread is a deep chestnut color but not burnt, 20 to 25 minutes more.

Use a heatproof spatula or pot holders to carefully lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool thoroughly.

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