As I leafed through Zingerman’s recent catalog, my leafing stopped at the bread descriptions: Chocolate Sourdough,” one title said, and another, “Cherry Chocolate.”
Now, it just so happens that I happened to have a large (9.75 oz) bar of Scharffen Berger 70% Bittersweet chocolate. That + no-knead sourdough bread=pain au chocolat. Or at least a version of the beloved after-school treat of French school children—bittersweet chocolate sandwiched in a baguette.
Follow the method outlined in my no-knead bread recipe but use these ingredients: 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (minimum 60% cocoa), cut into 1/2-inch or so chunks; 5 ounces organic whole-wheat flour;15 ounces organic, unbleached, bread flour; .3 ounces kosher salt; 1 ounce sourdough starter or 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast; 16 or more ounces water. You could omit the whole wheat and use all bread flour, but I used some to add a little substance and balance the chocolate.
The aroma as the bread bakes is incredibly tantalizing. Give the loaf an hour to cool down and firm up a bit or reheat slices in a low oven because it tastes best warm, when the chocolate is still a little soft. Smear the bread with butter—the 70% Bittersweet is very intense and butter smoothes the flavor. And maybe some raspberry jam. Or try it with hazelnut butter for a take on Nutella. Or serve it for dessert with vanilla ice cream.
About a year ago at the holiday pie and tart-making class I took at the San Francisco Baking Institute, I tasted their chocolate bread. Nearly black, not sweet, but addictive. Nancy Silverton, in her La Brea bread cookbook has a recipe for chocolate-walnut-cherry bread. You bet I’ll try a no-knead version of that soon.
But all this makes me wonder about the cultural differences displayed by a population’s choice of snacks. Corn chips? Or pain au chocolat? What’s your favorite snack?