A recipe from the Good Food collection.
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- 2½ teaspoons active dried yeast
- 55 g (2 oz/¼ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
- 375 g (13 oz/3 cups) strong flour
- 30 g (1 oz/¼ cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 50 g (1¾ oz) unsalted butter
- 185 g (6½ oz/1¼ cups) chopped good-quality dark chocolate
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- ½ teaspoon natural vanilla extract
- mascarpone or ricotta cheese, sweetened to taste with ½–1 tablespoon icing (confectioners') sugar, to serve
1. Pour 185 ml (6 fl oz/¾ cup) warm water into a small bowl. Sprinkle with the yeast and a pinch of the sugar and leave in a draught-free place for 10 minutes, or until foamy.
2. Combine the remaining sugar in a bowl with the flour, cocoa powder and salt.
3. Put the butter and half the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan of simmering water, ensuring the base of the bowl doesn't touch the water. Stir frequently, until the chocolate has melted.
4. Remove from the heat and stir in the egg and vanilla until well combined, then pour into the flour mixture. Add the yeast mixture and mix together using a wooden spoon, then turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and kneadfor 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
5. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl, turning to coat in the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise in a draught-free place for 1½–2 hours, or until doubled in size.
6. Knock back the dough by punching it gently, then turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using your hands, press out to 1 cm (½ inch) thick, then scatter with the remaining chocolate. Roll the dough into a log.
7. Transfer to a greased baking tray, cover with a damp tea towel (dish towel) and leave to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4).
8. Bake the bread for 45–50 minutes, or until it is light brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the base. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
9. Serve at room temperature with sweetened mascarpone or ricotta.
10. Chocolate bread will keep for 5 days, stored in a cool place in an airtight container, or can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 6 weeks. After the first day, fresh chocolate bread is best served lightly toasted.