If you recall, I mentioned last time that I’m this month’s host for Bread Baking Day #47, Bread with Chocolate. Of course, the host takes part too, so I’m submitting a fantastically deep, dark chocolate bread with dried cherries that are soaked in kirsch and big, chocolate chunks. It’s also referred to as Black Forest Bread since it’s a yeasted take on the famous Black Forest Chocolate Cherry Cake that originated in Germany.
Remember, there’s still plenty of time to submit your yeasted creation, sweet or savory, baked, fried, or whatever..with chocolate added in any form, up until March 1st, Midnight EST. You can read about it HERE!
So, It all began when I was looking for an old cookbook a few days ago and came across a bread machine cookbook that I received as a gift, with a brand new bread machine, during the holidays back in 1994. I used to use this book to death because it was chock full of incredible and unique bread recipes, like this Black Forest bread, and it was fun trying all the recipes during this bread machine phase of my young baking life.
This Black Forest Chocolate Cherry Bread was one of my favorites to make because everyone in the world loves dark chocolate (except for me) so it was always easy to give it away, which also aided in keeping my muffin top from spilling over and busting the zipper on my jeans.
It’s now out of print, but if you can find it somewhere., used or new, I highly recommend grabbing a copy if you have a bread machine and like to use your bread machine. It’s the best bread machine cookbook I ever came across, to this day. It’s called The Best Bread Machine Cookbook Ever by Madge Rosenberg.
Look at that beautiful, shiny crust after it’s brushed, HOT, with the kirsch! The kirsch soaks in and the crust remains, well, crusty, A good thing, as one, famous Domestic Goddess whose initials are MS, might say. Not to mention, the interior of the Black Forest bread is almost fudgy, while retaining a fluffy, light crumb.
I tried to be artsy. It never works. I’m photographically challenged.
Above is the piece de resistance of accouterments to this Black Forest bread. Creamy, sweet, vanilla bean cream cheese. Even though I don’t like dark chocolate, I wolfed down about 3 slices slathered with this spread. I also ate some of it with a spoon. Yes, I’m a glutton for almost anything edible with cream cheese on it.
Look at those gorgeous dried cherries studding each slice, below. They plump up while the bread is baking, giving you a little juicy pop that’s unexpected. I also gorged on the cherries, dipping them in the cream cheese spread, because, again, I’m a cream cheese glutton.
Finally, the best part. For those of you who don’t have a bread machine, I converted this Black Forest bread recipe to hand or stand mixer kneading and oven-baking. I also added the chocolate chunks to the recipe – well chocolate disks, very large couverture disks I purchased from Leites Culinaria a while back for a chocolate chip cookie recipe I never got around to making, just because I knew it would make the bread that much better.
As mentioned above, I also made a sweet vanilla bean cream cheese whip as a spread for this wonderfully moist and dense chocolate bread. It’s a tasty, tangy, sweet emulation of the whipped cream in and on a Black Forest Cake. Plus, why not add more calories? Enjoy!
Black Forest Chocolate Chunk Cherry Bread with Whipped Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese
- ¾ cup dried cherries
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons kirsch or rum (optional, you can soak the cherries in any fruity liquid you prefer..it doesn't have to be alcohol)
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup good quality dark cocoa powder (I used Valrhona. You can use a basic supermarket cocoa powder, and it doesn't have to be dark - your call.)
- 2¾ cups bread flour - if dough is too wet, keep adding flour until you have a soft and slightly tacky dough, but no more than 3.5 cups. Flour absorption depends on a lot of factors, like the weather.
- 2½ teaspoons active dry yeast
- ½ cup sugar
- 1½ teaspoond salt
- 3 tablespoons softened butter
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- ¾ cup good quality chocolate chunks or disks
- 8 oz of cream cheese, softened
- 2 large, 3 medium or 4 small vanilla beans, split and scraped *
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar
- About 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- Place dried cherries in a medium bowl with half the Kircsh or rum, or whatever soaking liquid you choose. Set aside until needed. They will plump and soften slightly.
- Boil water and stir in cocoa until uniform. Let cool until tepid, about 120 to 130 degrees F.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Using paddle attachment, combine and slowly pour in tepid cocoa/water mixture. Add softened butter and mix until it's blended in. Add the egg and keep mixing until uniform and brownie batter like.
- Slowly add in remaining (more or less depending on weather) flour until you have a slightly stiff dough that's easy to work with. Now, you can either switch to the dough hook and let it knead the dough until it's smooth and silky - slapping against the sides of the bowl cleanly, about 10 minutes, or dump it on a floured pastry board and knead by hand (therapeutic).
- Form the kneaded dough into smooth ball. Lightly grease a large bowl, and place the dough in it..turning to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about an hour or so, until doubled in size.
- When doubled in size, fold dough over on itself to deflate it, then place back on a clean floured pastry board, flattening it. Add the cherries with soaking liquid and the chocolate chunks or disks then fold the dough over itself several times to start incorporating them. The cherries and chocolate will keep popping out of the dough in a peek-a-boo manner with some falling out. It's ok, just keep pushing them back in and kneading. There will be cherries and chocolate chunks showing once you're finished, but that's perfectly fine..just stuff them back in with your fingers as best you can. You just want to make sure you get them evenly distributed throughout the dough. Let rise in greased bowl, covered, for another hour.
- Form dough into a loaf shape, and place in a greased and lightly floured 9 x 5 loaf pan. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap and let rise until more than doubled..rising above the top of the pan - about 1½ to 2 hours. Could be less depending on how warm the area you keep it in, is.
- When the dough looks about ready, preheat the oven to 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Place in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. This is a very dark chocolate bread, so you can't tell by color. Another way to tell if it's done is to take it's internal temperature. It should register about 205 degrees F, but I don't like poking a hole in my bread. ;D
- Let cool in pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, then turn out of pan and place on wire rack to cool fully. Brush with remaining kirsch or whatever liquid you used if flavored over top of loaf. If you used water, don't bother. Slice up and enjoy!
- Freeze the chocolate chunks. Place all ingredients in the order suggested by your bread machine manual except the cherries and chocolate chunks and process on the basic bread cycle.
- At the end of the first knead cycle (it should beep) add cherries with soaking liquid and frozen chocolate chunks.
- Brush top of loaf with kirsch or rum after you remove the fully baked bread from the machine.
- In a medium bowl, with a hand mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add in vanilla bean scrapings, then powdered sugar. Beat on medium speed until uniform. Drizzle in heavy cream and continue beating on low speed until it's reached a nice, creamy, fluffy, spreadable consistency.
I’m submitting this Black Forest Chocolate Chunk Cherry Bread to Yeastspotting, a weekly bread baking showcase hosted by the uber talented Susan of Wild Yeast.