This is my twist on a David Lebovitz's recipe. The resulting crumb is somewhat denser and crumblier than ordinary bread, but the taste is really fantastic, and goes well with a hot cup of tea or a cold glass of milk. If you don't have a particularly warm spot in your abode, you can place the dough in a cold oven with a pan of boiling water; this creates the warm, moist environment that yeast loves. Note that if you do this, it's unnecessary to cover the dough as it rises.
- Yield:10 to 12
- Active time: 45 minutes
- Total time:5 hours (including rising times)
- 3/4 cup soy milk, slightly warmed (not over 110ºF)
- 1 envelope (1/4 oz) active dry yeast
- 6 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil or vegetable shortening
- 3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups bread flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, or coarsely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
- 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips, or coarsely chopped milk chocolate
- 1/4 cup cocoa nibs (optional)
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the soy milk and 1 tablespoon of the sugar and stir to dissolve. Sprinkle the yeast over the liquid, give it a gentle stir, and set aside until it begins to foam, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave, microwaving for 15 seconds, then stirring, and continuing in 5-10 second bursts alternated with stirring until melted. You can also use a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.
Once the yeast is frothy, mix in the remaining sugar, the egg, vanilla, and salt.
Stir in half the flour and cocoa powder, then the melted chocolate and butter, then the rest of the flour mixture, and stir until well-incorporated. Mix vigorously with a spatula or a wooden spoon for five minutes, until smooth. If using a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and beat for five minutes.
Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap or with a damp paper towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 2 hours. It will be about double its original size.
Butter a 9" loaf pan. Stir the chocolate and nibs (if using) into the dough; it may be a little stiff, in which case just knead it as you would regular bread dough: fold it in half over on itself, give it a quarter turn, and repeat. Stir/knead for 2 minutes, then gather the dough into a ball and place it seam-side down in the prepared pan. Pat down the dough until it's even, and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Bake the loaf for 35-40 minutes, or until it appears done and sounds hollow when thumped; or its internal temperature reaches 180ºF. Allow to cool completely in pan.