February 24, 2008

Chocolate, Walnut and Wheat Bread

This bread is fantastic, almost like a dessert. It works wonderfully in bread puddings, which I just began experimenting with this weekend with positive results.

One note on this recipe, be sure to toast the nuts ahead of time, so they are cooled completely when you knead them into the dough. Otherwise, you melt your chocolate and end up with a delicious mess.

Chocolate, Walnut and Wheat Bread
1 1/3 cups water
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups bread flour
4 tsp. gluten
1 1/2 cups chopped toasted walnuts
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Heat the water until between 105ºF and 115ºF. Pour into warmed mixing bowl, and add yeast. Let stand 5 minutes.

Add salt, whole wheat flour, half the bread flour and gluten. Beat until a smooth dough forms. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

Slowly add remaining bread flour until a smooth dough forms. Knead until dough pulls away from sides of bowl, adding flour as needed. Knead until smooth and springy but soft to the touch. Gently knead in walnuts and chocolate chips. Cover and let rise 1 hour.

Turn dough onto lightly floured or oiled surface. Punch down and shape into 2 to 3 round loaves. Place the loaves, smooth sides up, onto lightly greased cookie sheets. Cover and let rise 45 to 60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350
ºF. Brush the loaves with water. Using a serrated knife, make three shallow cuts on the top of each loaf. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from sheets and cool on wire racks.

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