Saturday, September 11, 2010

Coconut-Chocolate Bread

This is about as close to a Mounds bar as bread is going to get. You're not going to be able to use this bread for sandwiches, but it does make an indulgent piece of toast when spread with Nutella. Not quite as indulgent as a pastry, but much easier to make, this bread is an excellent snack or sweet start to the day. There's just no excuse for not having homemade bread around with a method this easy that produces such a wide variety of types of bread!

Coconut-Chocolate Bread
from My Bread by Jim Lahey

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (280 grams) bread flour
2 cups loosely packed (100 grams) unsweetened large-flake coconut
1 cup (150 grams) semisweet chocolate chunks
3/4 teaspoon (4 grams) table salt
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) instant or other active dry yeast
1.25 cups (280 grams) water
Wheat bran or additional flour for dusting

1. 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 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.

2. 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, lift the edges of the dough in toward the center. Nudge and tuck in the edges of the dough to make it round.

3. 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.

4. Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F, with a rack in the lower third, and place a covered 4.5- to 5.5-quart heavy pot in the center of the rack.

5. 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.

6. 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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