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Monday
Sep262011

Chocolate Cherry Bread

Chocolate Cherry Bread

I feel a bit ashamed to admit this, but I am one of those people who judge a book by its cover. This is particularly true when it comes to cookbooks. Maybe I am a bit shallow when it comes to these things, but I just can't seem to help myself. I'm a visual person. I need the pretty pictures and lovely layout. Well, maybe I don't need them, but I certainly want to have them around.

I think, secretly and deep down, you do too.

Chocolate Cherry Bread

I was in my local bookstore this weekend when I spotted a gorgeous cookbook in the bargain section. A loaf of bread on the cover caught my eye, gave a little wink, and I was immediately smitten. After paging through it in its entirety (do you do this too?), I knew I had to have it, if only for this Chocolate Cherry Bread recipe.

Well, this weekend I tried out a couple recipes and I've decided that maybe being pretty isn't what it's cracked up to be after all. I loved the ideas in the book but, in reality, the recipes didn't measure up. They were poorly written, the method for baking some of the bread was off, I questioned the quantity of certain ingredients, and I didn't love the finished product. It was edible, yes, but that's not exactly my criteria for sharing recipes with you.

I ask more of my food than simply being edible.

Chocolate Cherry Bread Chocolate Cherry Bread Chocolate Cherry Bread

Nevertheless, I took the idea of the Cherry Chocolate Bread and ran with it. On the second try, this beauty was born. Stuffed with cherries, chocolate chips, and a hint of delicious, the idea for this bread was worth the cost of the cookbook.

Which just so happens to be $7.10.

Chocolate Cherry Bread Chocolate Cherry Bread

This Chocolate Cherry Bread is, no doubt, a dessert bread. It makes for a seriously decadent snack (or breakfast, if you can't resist a bite or two). This bread is made with yeast, which brings a light quality to the bread and great flavor. Chocolate chips and dark sweet cherries are kneaded into the dough before baking and litter the finished product with pockets of decadence. Happily, this bread uses canned cherries so you don't have to wait a year for cherries to come back in season (no one should have to wait that long in anticipation). This bread does not need anything to taste delicious—no butter spread, no jam. It is perfect just the way it is.

One Year Ago: Maple Roasted Bananas with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Chocolate Cherry Bread
Inspired by 100 Great Breads

Yields 2 medium loaves

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon active-dry yeast
1 cup warm water, plus extra if necessary
6 ounces canned dark sweet cherries (or fresh if you have them!), halved
1/2 cup chocolate chips

In a large bowl, stir together flour, salt, butter, and yeast. Add the water and mix by hand (or dough attachment with stand mixer) until dough comes together. If dough is too dry or not holding together when pinched, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough behaves.

If using a stand mixer, knead with dough attachment for 5 minutes, or until dough is elastic. If making by hand, knead dough on a lightly floured surface for 5-8 minutes, or until dough is elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and allow dough to rise for at least 1 hour.

When dough has risen, place on a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half to make two loaves. Knead 1/4 cup chocolate chips into each loaf. Add 3 ounces dark cherries to each loaf and work in. The dough may become soft or wet. Add more flour if this happens (I added a few more tablespoons flour to each loaf in order for it to hold shape). Place each loaf on a parchment lined baking sheet, dust lightly with flour, and score with diagonal lines in a criss-cross pattern. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise for an additional hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).

Bake loaves for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly golden. Transfer loaf to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Cherry Bread

Reader Comments (14)

What an amazing bread! So tempting and beautiful.

Cheers,

Rosa
09.27.2011 | Unregistered CommenterRosa
This looks amazing!

I too am frequently smitten by pretty pictures, then disappointed by the actual product. Thanks for testing out the recipe to save me the trouble.
09.27.2011 | Unregistered CommenterLeanne
This looks simply stunning. My mum is a huuuggeee cherry fan but had been nagging me to make more savoury treats, i like to think this bread is savoury enough to hush her but satisfy my sweet tooth! :) next time i go home this is at the top of my to-try list :)
I wish I had made this before I gave away this book! (Though I guess now I have it, since you wrote about it ...) I too was lured in by the clearance price and beautiful photos, then disappointed in the recipes. Totally agree about lack of clarity, things not adding up, etc. etc. There shouldn't be a need to check the glossary/intro to get the information needed for each recipe!

I did make one that I liked, though: http://bowenappetit.com/2011/04/25/koulouri-cypriot-village-bread-or-more-reasonably-seeded-white-bread/. I always wanted to try the bread with the dyed hard boiled eggs on top, but never got around to it before giving up on the book.

Thanks for passing this along!
09.27.2011 | Unregistered CommenterBowen
Uh--can you send me some of this please? I also tend to be visually oriented and gear towards beautiful cookbooks with great photos, but I have come to determine that some of my favorites actually have NO photos--which is always sad, but makes it that much more exciting to see how they turn out, I guess!

I love this recipe--and that the ingredients are very straight-forward and easy to get. Cherries are so expensive, so its nice to know I could make this at any time of the year! Love the cross-hatch pattern on top ;)
Great recipe! I would love to make this chocolate cherry bread. I already have it on my to do list. It will be the perfect bread to make as a gift to a love one or my kids teachers for their coffee break! Thanks for sharing the recipe :)
Since I cant write better than you do, I just re write your sentences to keep it in mind:

I think, secretly and deep down, you do too.

On the second try, this beauty was born.

Love them!
09.27.2011 | Unregistered CommenterKS
It's so disappointing when recipes haven't been checked properly and don't work...but wonderful that you took the idea as inspiration and ran with it. This bread looks absolutely wonderful...chocolate chip and cherry is such a gorgeous combination :-)
09.27.2011 | Unregistered Commenterthelittleloaf
Leanne-- No problem!

Sasha-- I bet she'll love it (and you too)!

Bowen-- Yes! I'm so happy I'm not the only one that feels this way. I hate when cookbooks fail to be clear and precise (huge pet peeve of me). I didn't even realize he was using fresh yeast (which explains why I was astonished at how much yeast he was suggesting I use. Your bread looks lovely!

Laura-- I have such a hard time making recipes without a photos. I eat with my eyes before my mouth. Though I've been trying to branch out and expand my photo-less recipe horizons. I have a new cookbook I'm excited about.

Mari-- Agreed! And since this recipe makes 2 loaves, you can kill two birds with one stone.
09.27.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Cherries. My absolute favorite thing ever. I will be trying this recipe and love that I can devour a loaf and send one to work with the BF.

Two questions though: You're not proofing the yeast first, just adding it dry to the other dry ingredients? And where did you find the cherries - do local stores carry? Should I look in the jam aisle?

Thanks!
09.28.2011 | Unregistered CommenterKtP
KtP-- Right, I didn't proof the yeast first and the bread rose up just fine. You could proof it if you felt like it was necessary, however. I found the cherries in the canned fruits aisle. You should be able to find some there!
09.29.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Perfect, thanks!
09.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterKtP
I am now totally hungry! This looks delicious!
09.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterCal
Chocolate and cherry together - I wasn't sure about this at first but your photos enticed me to go for it! I made the bread the first time a couple months ago and I loved it and so did my hubby. I have since made it a few more times including for Christmas, which I'm thinking will become a quick tradition since everyone loved it. The last time I made it I put a little extra chocolate chips (3/4 cup), which really was good actually.

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