Recipe from David Lebovitz
One 9-inch (23 cm) loaf
¾ cup whole or low-fat milk, heated until just tepid
1 envelope active dry yeast (¼ ounce, or 2 ¼ teaspoons)
6 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
3 ounces (85 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 ½ teaspoon instant coffee or espresso powder (optional)
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon sea salt
2 cups bread flour
¼ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
¾ cup chocolate chips or coarsely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
½ cup toasted pecans, walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the milk. Add one tablespoon sugar, then set aside in a warm place for 10 to 15 minutes, until bubbles form on the surface.
- While the yeast is activating, in a small saucepan, melt the butter and 3 ounces chocolate over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.
- Once the yeast mixture is frothy, mix in the remaining sugar, the instant coffee (if using), the egg, vanilla, and sea salt.
- Stir in half the flour and cocoa powder, then the melted butter and chocolate, then the remaining flour mixture, stirring until well-incorporated. If using a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and beat for five minutes, until smooth. If making by hand, mix vigorously with a flexible spatula for the same amount of time. The dough will seem quite moist, resembling sticky brownie batter when ready.
- Cover the bowl and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours.
- Butter a 9-inch loaf pan.
- Stir in the chopped chocolate and nuts, if using. Then use a spatula to fold the dough over on itself in the bowl for about thirty seconds, then transfer it to the buttered pan, pressing a bit to spread it to the corners. Let rise in a warm place for one hour.
- Ten minutes before you’re ready to bake the bread, preheat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC.)
- Bake the bread for 35 to 40 minutes, until it feels done and sounds hollow when you tap it. You can stick an instant-read thermometer in the bottom if you’re unsure; the bread is done when the temperature reads 180ºF (82Cº).
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