Tips: You dont have time to make bread without a machine,
you say? Think again! This is a batter bread, so theres no
kneading and just one rising, during which the batter demands absolutely
no attention. The bread itself is a round loaf that rises quite
a bit during baking; its not too sweet and very chocolatey,
and the dried cherries go beautifully with all that chocolate. I
prefer to use dried red tart cherries that have been lightly sweetened
(the ingredients will probably be dried red tart cherries, sugar,
and sunflower or other oil). These cherries have a great sweet-tart
flavor, and they are available in supermarkets, often in 3 ounce
bags or in bulk. Make sure they are soft and pliable, not dry and
Youll need a 1 quart souffle dish for baking;
it must not be of a dark color. Mine is white porcelain, measuring
7-3/4 inches top diameter by a smidge over 2-1/2 inches in height.
I always use a thermometer to measure the water temperature for
proofing the yeast, as water that is too hot can kill
it while water that isnt warm enough may cause the yeast to
seem inactive when its really fine. As is the case with many
yeast breads, this is best eaten when very fresh, though the bread
can be stored airtight at room temperature for a day or two, then
toasted before eating. It is possible to freeze this, although it
dries out and you must reheat it before consuming it. To dress this
up, sift confectioners sugar lightly over the top just before
- 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 1/2 cup plus 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar, divided
- 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
- 3 Tbsp. unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2/3 cup warm water (110 to 120 degrees F)
- 1 pkg. (0.25 ounces) active dry yeast
- 1 egg, graded large, beaten to combine (preferably
at room temperature)
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 tsp. sifted baking soda
- 1/2 cup (3 ounces) semisweet OR bittersweet chocolate chunks
- 1/2 cup (3 ounces) dried red tart cherries (lightly sweetened)
In small OR large bowl of electric stand mixer (fitted with paddle
beater, if available), combine 1 cup flour (reserve remainder),
1/2 cup sugar (reserve remainder), nonfat dry milk powder, cocoa
powder, and salt. On low speed, mix until combined. Set aside.
In small bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine water, yeast, and
reserved 1/2 teaspoon sugar. With fork, beat to mix well; set aside
in warm place for 5 to 10 minutes. Check often. If, at the end of
10 minutes, mixture does not have a substantial foamy head on top
of it, discard; start over with a new package of yeast and the same
amounts of sugar and water. (This step, called proofing
the yeast, shows you if your active dry yeast is, in fact, active.)
Once proofed, add the yeast mixture, along with the beaten egg and
melted butter, to the dry ingredients.
Beat at low speed until flour is incorporated. Scrape bowl and
beater(s) thoroughly with rubber spatula. Beat mixture at medium
speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl and beater(s) once or twice during
this time. Mixture will still be very thin.
Add reserved 3/4 cup flour and beat in at low speed until incorporated.
Scrape bowl and beater(s). Remove bowl from mixer. Cover tightly
with plastic wrap; set aside in warm place for 1 hour. Batter will
not double in size during this rising time--in fact, it wont
do much of anything--OK.
While the batter is resting, chop the chocolate into chunks, if
necessary (chunks should be no larger than about 1/3 inch on a side,
and you can use any bits of chocolate that flake off while youre
chopping it). Snip the cherries into halves with kitchen shears.
Combine the two in a small bowl; cover tightly and set aside.
Prepare the souffle dish: cut a round of wax paper to fit the bottom
of the dish. Butter the dish, then place the wax paper round on
the bottom; butter the paper. Set aside. Tear off enough heavy-duty
aluminum foil (or use a doubled length of regular weight foil) to
form a tent over the souffle dish; this tent
must be long enough so the front and back edges can rest on the
oven rack. About 15 minutes before the hour of batter-resting is
finished, adjust rack to center of oven and preheat oven to 325
When the batter has rested for an hour, remove the cover from the
bowl. Sprinkle on the sifted baking soda and stir in with a large
spoon until blended. Add the chocolate chunks and cherries, and
stir in just until evenly distributed. The batter will be stiff
and a sticky messperfect!
By large spoonfuls, place the batter around the edges of the prepared
souffle dish. Wet the back of the large spoon with cold water, then
smooth the top surface of the batter. Continue to wet the back of
the spoon frequently with cold water while you initially flatten
the top surface of the batter, the make a depression in the center.
The idea is to have a relatively smooth top surface, and you want
a shallow trench in the middle of the dish, with the batter somewhat
higher on the sides than in the center.
Bake 20 minutes in preheated oven. Carefully reach in and place
foil tent over souffle dish. The top of the tent must not rest on
the baking bread, or it will stick! Close oven door. Bake bread
25 to 34 minutes longer (total baking time is 45 to 54 minutes).
When done, a toothpick inserted about an inch from the center will
emerge almost clean; if the toothpick you insert emerges covered
with melted chocolate, youve hit a chunk---just try a different
spot. The top of the bread will have risen above the souffle dish
and probably have some cracks in it--OK. Remove from oven.
With flat knife, carefully lossen bread from souffle dish. Very
gently turn bread out of dish onto one potholder-covered hand; with
other hand, carefully peel wax paper from bottom of loaf. Gently
place loaf on cooling rack. Be careful! Freshly-baked bread is very
delicate. Youll notice that the crust of this bread is very
Cool. I like to serve this when it is still slightly warm. To cut,
use a large, sharp, serrated knife and a sawing motion. Just before
serving, dust each slice lightly with confectioners sugar,
if desired. Cool to room temperature, then store airtight or freeze.
To reheat, cut 1/2 inch thick slices (if bread has been frozen,
defrost, still in wrappings, first). Preheat oven to 325 degrees
F. Line a shallow baking pan with aluminum foil. Stand cut slices
upright on foil; heat for 6 to 12 minutes, or just until warm. Dust
slices with confectioners sugar just before serving, if desired.
Either way, be careful! The melted chocolate in the slices will
Yield: 1 loaf, about 8 servings
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