I’ve been wanting to make chocolate bread for a while, but the ganglion cyst on my wrist makes kneading dough very painful, so it’s all been on the back burner. But having made Pizza Serafina last week for the Great Bake Off at work (which I really must write about at some point, because it was absolutely bonkers and beyond my wildest imaginings), sore wrists and all, I found myself with leftover fresh yeast – and when I was talking to my aunt about the pizza afterward, she reminded me that my Nonna also used to make a dough that was so wet that one couldn’t really knead it anyway – one just pushed it around a bit in the bowl.
Of course, I don’t have that recipe, and it’s probably madness to make up a recipe for bread, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, and I didn’t want that yeast to go to waste (apparently, I had no qualms about potentially wasting a lot of flour and cocoa and chocolate in my attempt to salvage the yeast…).
One of my scientists recently gave me a medium-sized marrow, with the comment that I was the only person he knew under the age of 60 who might know what to do with it. If one is going to be the Under-60 Marrow Champion, one must be prepared to take some risks, so I decided that what this chocolate bread really needed was some grated zucchini, to keep it moist.
And maybe some rye flour, to underline the dark, almost bitter, nuttiness of the chocolate and zucchini.
The result? Well, the dough was downright weird, but it did rise, and I have to say, the flavour isn’t half bad. This recipe made two loaves of a nice, slightly sweet, chocolatey bread, studded with chocolate, that kind of begs for a little apricot jam, if you ask me. It’s quite lovely and soft, and perhaps a little on the heavy side, with the rye and chocolate flavours both very much present. It’s the sort of thing you could have when you felt like eating chocolate for breakfast, without feeling too bad about it afterward.
And hey – it used up a significant portion of that marrow!
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35 g fresh yeast (about 10-12g dried yeast)
500 ml lukewarm water
100 g brown sugar
300 g grated zucchini or marrow (about 2-3 small zucchini)1 tsp salt
400 g bread flour
75 g cocoa powder
325 g rye flour
3 tbsp olive oil
200 g chopped dark chocolate
Cinnamon sugar or a little brown sugar to top, optional but very good!