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Food
Chocolate Bread

We enjoyed this bread with an entree served at the Cafe at the Frick in Point Breeze. When we told our server how much we liked it, she handed us a copy of the recipe. The rich, chocolate flavor of this bread should help you overcome any fear of baking with yeast.

2 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup warm water
4 1/2 cups all-purpose or bread flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 cup chopped semisweet chocolate (we used Nestles semisweet chunks)
Egg wash (one egg plus 1 tablespoon water mixed)

Stir yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar into 1/3 cup warm water and pour into a large mixing bowl; let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. (Our kitchen runs cold unless the oven is on, so this takes a bit longer.)

Mix flour, remaining sugar, cocoa and salt. Stir remaining 1 1/4 cups water into dissolved yeast, then stir in the flour mixture. Stir in chopped chocolate last. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes.

Place dough in greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in volume, approximately 1 hour. (Again, this might take longer depending on the temperature of your kitchen.)

Turn risen dough onto lightly floured surface, punch it down (the chocolate will be very gooey -- resist licking your hands until you're done) and divide in half. Form each half into desired shape and place on cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. (Tester's note: We took one half of the dough and shaped it into two small rounds; the other half we separated into three ropes and created a large braided loaf.) Cover with plastic wrap again and let rise until doubled in volume.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Brush loaves with egg wash and bake in 450-degree oven for 10 minutes, Then reduce the heat to 350 and bake for 30 minutes more or until bread sounds hollow when bottom is tapped.

Cool, serve with sweetened cream cheese.

Note: In the unlikely event you have leftovers, this bread is great slightly heated (wrap in a paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds) and lathered with a smudge of butter or margarine. Do not attempt to toast in a toaster -- the chocolate will run!

The Cafe at the Frick, executive chef Susie Treon

Thursday, October 18, 2001

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