Bittersweet Chocolate Boule
I feel like I’ve been on a bread bender this week. This was my fourth batch of bread in just five days. I actually drove around the neighborhood, knocking on doors, giving my bread to unsuspecting families. All of whom I know of course. I don’t accost people on the street and force my bread on them. But, in carb-conscious Los Angeles, bread’s a tough sell.
Boule (pronounced Bool), is the French word for “ball”. And let me tell you, this bread is just one, big ball of chocolatey goodness. The cocoa powder gives this bread a very earthy flavor. And, the organic shape of the bread just adds to that earthiness. I feel very European when I serve this bread for a Sunday brunch or even a very casual luncheon.
Bittersweet Chocolate Boule
From Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
Makes two 1 1/2-pound loaves
4 ounces premium bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (2 packets)
1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup honey
5 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup premium unsweetened cocoa powder
5 ounces finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
Butter or neutral-tasting oil for greasing cookie sheet
Making the ganache: Melt the 4 ounces of chocolate and the butter in a microwave. Start in 20 second increments, and stir after each increment until the mixture is melted. Set aside.
Mixing and storing the dough: Mix the yeast, salt, eggs and honey with the water in a 5 quart bowl, or lidded (not airtight) food container.
Mix in the flour, coca powder, ganache, and the 5 ounces of chocolate without kneading, using a spoon , or a heavy-duty stand mixer (with dough hook).
Cover (not airtight), and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top),for about 2 hours.
The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, however it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 5 days. Beyond 5 days, freeze the dough in 1-pound portions in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks. When using frozen dough, thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours before using, then allow the usual rest and rise times.
On baking day, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1 1/2 pound (grapefruit size) piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.
Allow the ball to rest and rise on the prepared cookie sheet for 1 hour and 40 minutes (or just 40 minutes if you’re using fresh, unrefrigerated dough). Paint with egg wash (one egg and 1 tablespoon of cold water).
Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees (325 if using a convection oven).
Place the bread in the center of the oven and bake for about 35 minutes. Check center of bread with digital thermometer to make sure internal temperature is at least 190 degrees. Smaller or larger loaves will require adjustments in baking time.
Remove from pan. Allow to cool before slicing.