Monday, December 17, 2012

chocolate cherry skillet bread.

It's safe to say I will never be one of those girls who can turn down a piece of really good bread.  I get that it's bad for your diet, I read all the fashion magazines but, it seems sacrilegious to just omit it from your life.  Bread is the basis for all good things and I can't in good faith ever give it up.  (Now maybe I should consume it in moderation but really where is the fun in that.)  I will continue to bake it with abandon and nosh on it with dinner and consume it in all it's glory until the day I die which is how I found myself making dough for chocolate cherry bread at ten o'clock last night.  No sane person starts bread making at such a late hour (sane people are at the bar and socializing instead of sitting on the floor of their home surrounded by cookbooks trying to figure out what other holiday cookies to make), but I am not sane in the slightest and I wanted to wake up on Saturday morning to consume freshly baked bread with my freshly brewed coffee just because I felt like it.  As I sit here typing this having just finished a quarter of a loaf, I can say with a certain degree of happiness that I am very glad I'm a little crazy.  This is sweet but not too sweet, indulgent but not overly so, and it pairs perfectly with both jam and goat cheese (because I obviously had to try both for testing purposes).  It bakes up beautifully and it really is the most perfect companion to a large cup of coffee.

Chocolate Cherry Skillet Bread
Recipe from See You in the Morning Blog

1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup buttermilk, warmed (to 110 degrees)
2 large eggs
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into chunks
1 cup dark chocolate chunks
1/2 cup chopped tart dried cherries
Raw sugar, for sprinkling

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the buttermilk and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add 2 eggs, the flour, and the salt and mix on low speed until combined. Add the butter and beat on medium-high speed until the butter is incorporated. Fit the mixer with the dough hook and knead the dough on low speed for about 5 minutes. The dough will be very sticky. Add the chocolate chunks and cherries and knead just long enough to incorporate them into the dough. Scrape the dough into a ball, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it doubles, about 1 1/2 hours. I let the dough rise in an oven that has been warmed to 150 and then turned off. 

Line two 10 inch cast iron skillets or baking pan of your choice with parchment. Dump dough onto a lightly floured work surface and punch down. Divide the dough in half and form into 2 rounds. While you lightly handle the dough, the slightly melted chocolate will form streaks in the dough. Place each mass of dough into the pans, cover with kitchen towels and set aside to rise until puffed, about 1 hour. 

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350.  Sprinkle the tops with a little raw sugar and bake until golden brown, about 30-35 minutes. Let cool slightly and serve. 

These breads are best served the day they are baked and best eaten warm. 

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