Not only have I noticed that my posts are seriously lacking in the dessert category (Helloooo, the title of the blog IS Sweet Beginnings!) but I also have been negecting my chocolate cravings, as well as fattening up my co-workers! From the time I selected this recipe until the day that I actually made it, I was looking forward to the delicious aroma filling my apartment. And let me just tell you...I was not disappointed! And it has definitely renewed my desire to bake more often. I don't know how I let myself slack off in the first place, but rest assured I am on top of it now!
Head on over to Lisa's blog to find more delicious, from scratch recipes, and don't froget to visit some of the other posts for today's SRC! So many great dishes to see and try!!
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp kirsch or rum (or you can use fruit juice if you'd rather)
1 cup water
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
2 3/4 cups bread flour
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp softened butter
1 large egg, room temperature
3/4 cup chocolate pieces (chips, chunks, etc.)
Combine the dried cherries and Kircsh, rum, or juice in a medium bowl and set aside until needed. The soaking will cause them to soften and plump up a little.
In a small saucepan, boil the water and then stir in cocoa until combined. Remove from heat and allow to cool until tepid, about 120 to 130 degrees F.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 2 cups of the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Use the paddle attachment to combine and slowly pour in the cocoa mixture. Add the softened butter and mix until well combined. Add the egg and mix until incorporated.
With the mixer still going, slowly add in the remaining flour, a little at a time, until the dough is slightly stiff and easy to work with. You may need more or less than the remaining 3/4 cup, so add slowly, until you reach the desired texture.
Now, switch out the paddle attachment for the dough hook, and mix on medium-high for about 10 minutes, until the dough is a smooth ball, slapping against the sides of the bowl.
Form the batter into a smooth ball and place into a large, lightly greased bowl, coating all sides with the oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set in a warm place, for about an hour or so, until doubled in size.
Once the dough has doubled in size, punch at the dough to deflate it, then fold it out onto a lightly-floured counter or cutting board, and flatten it out.
Add the cherries with soaking liquid and the chocolate pieces, and begin folding the dough over itself until the add-ins are well incorporated. If any pieces jump out, just push 'em back in!
Place back in the greased bowl, cover, and allow to rise for another hour.
After the second rise is complete, form the dough into a loaf shape, and place into a 9 x 5 greased and lightly-floured loaf pan. Cover again with plastic wrap, and allow to double in size, 1 1/2 - 2 hours, depending on how warm the area you keep it in is. Ideally, the dough should rise above the top of the loaf pan.
Once the last rise is complete, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Put the loaf pan in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. (I was confused by this method, but after 35 minutes I checked it, and sure enough, it sounded hollow when I tapped the top!)
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, then turn out of pan and place on wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, slice it up, and enjoy! If you're nice, you could share it with friends!