Just a hint of chocolate, eh? (BBB January 2014)

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BBB: Let's Get Baking summary: recipe for Chocolate Prune Rolls; to knead or not to knead; a Bread Baking Babes project; submission for YeastSpotting and BYOB; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

Bread Baking Babes (BBB) January 2014

Do you love rich dark chocolate? Then this bread is for you!

chocolate prune bread Last month we made bread that was called cake. This month we were to make cake that is called bread. When I first heard about the January BBB recipe, I was really excited. I couldn’t wait.

But then, after several days of Christmas and New Year’s excesses (ahem), I confess I suddenly wasn’t really thrilled about making something so sweet. But our fearless host for this month cast my worries aside with her enthusiasm about the recipe she chose for us to make.

[I]t is wonderful, a very nice bread with just a hint of chocolate

-Jamie, in email to the BBBs

So I got out my ingredients and plunged ahead to make a lovely slightly soft chestnut brown dough.

Hmmmm…. Just a hint of chocolate, Jamie? The bread I made was (I wonder if I miscalculated about the weight of the cocoa….) REALLY chocolatey.

It was good, but really chocolatey – in looks, aroma and flavour.

And you know what? I kneaded it! Even though it said it was “no knead” bread. Because I like kneading…. :stomp:

BBB Chocolate Prune Bread diary:

5 December 2013, 10:04 J’adore pain au chocolat! And I LOVE prunes in baking! It will be really interesting to learn how they are with chocolate in bread. Then I saw “1 ½ pounds (about 680 g – the size of a small cantaloupe) of the Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bread dough” in the instructions and was suddenly unable to comprehend anything more. (I have a deep seated horror of cantaloupe and I must confess that I’m not overly wild about chocolate chips – hahahahaha, is anyone surprised?)

So I googled to see what the bread looks like.

Here’s one fabulous-looking version from andreasrecipes.com using plain brioche dough to surround the prunes and chocolate. And here’s one on flickr.com made with challah dough that says the chocolate is throughout the dough and another on TheFreshLoaf.com: txfarmer’s
100% sourdough Chocolate Prunes Bread. O la la, those look good too!

6 January 2014 13:30 Remind me to get a decent dark chocolate bar. Or did I mention already that I have a horror of chocolate chips?

Oh!!! Wait a minute. I suddenly realized that I don’t HAVE to use chocolate chips. I could chop up some dark chocolate instead….

14:01 Uncharacteristically, I just read the recipe earlier than the day before the deadline…. The kind of recipes that call for a portion of another recipe in the book, without giving the calculations (multiply by .375 to get 1.5 lb amount of the chocolate-chip bread) , drive me mad. It reminds me of my fight with the Tassajara Bread book when I was making banana swirl bread….

1 to 1 ½ Tbs (17 to 25 g) kosher salt – * use less if using fine table salt, more if using coarse salt
-BBB January 2014 recipe

That’s ridiculous!! How many grams?? The weight should be the same no matter what kind of salt used!

10:52am 13 January, 2014 I was lounging around this morning, reading and as I turned a page, I suddenly realized this morning that if I want to get this month’s bread done on time, I’d have to make it today. Ooops!!

And did I really read the recipe? Of course not! Sure, I skimmed the ingredients list. But I didn’t really pay attention to the instructions. Until this morning, as I was measuring out the flours (yup, I used all purpose and whole wheat, and then at the last second I decided to throw in some whole grain teff too), I abruptly remembered that this was a “no knead” bread. And I started worrying that I was supposed to have mixed this dough yesterday if I wanted to bake it today.

Oh oh.

I decided to pretend I hadn’t noticed that part and plunged ahead.

Mix in the flour, cocoa powder and the chocolate chips […]
-BBB January 2014 recipe

“Mix in the chocolate chips”? What chocolate chips? Oh wait. I used teff instead. :lalala:

[…] without kneading, using a spoon or heavy-duty stand mixer (with paddle). If you are not using the machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.
-BBB January 2014 recipe

“Without kneading”? “heavy-duty stand mixer (with paddle)”? “wet hands”?

Well, fiddly dee dee! Clearly actually reading the recipe is over-rated. I decided to knead!

After all, I had already transgressed by suddenly deciding to put in only a third of amount of sugar called for. And you know what? Kneading was a breeze. I did it in the bowl and the dough is now smooth and shiny and chocolatey and currently luxuriating in the warmth (ha!) of the oven with only the light turned on.

Did I say warmth? Even though we are experiencing the annual January thaw and outside temperature went from well below freezing to 7C on Saturday, 3C on Sunday and is already 5C today, the kitchen hasn’t quite gone much above 15C since November….

11:14 I just looked at the recipe again. And in spite of my crack about reading being over-rated, I actually read it. Mostly.

Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours. The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise
-BBB January 2014 recipe

See?! There’s no need to worry. (Ha! I almost typed “no knead”. Maybe I’ll call my bread “no need to worry” bread.)

13:01 Did I say there was no need to worry?

Well, I’ve changed my mind. The dough hasn’t even budged one iota.

16:48 Ha! Only a few hours later and the dough has nicely doubled. See? I TOLD you there was no need to worry! :stomp:

17:43 Well! That was fun!

I was surprised at just how much chocolate bar 130g is. Did I count the number of squares? Of course not! That would have been too simple. But using one of our razor sharp carbon steel lethal weapons, I quickly had shards of 72% chocolate (the president’s chocolate – the one in the gold package). Cutting the pitted prunes was also fast.

I’m so grateful to the others who have already made the bread. They noted that it was on the doughy side in the centre. Karen brilliantly suggested making rolls to eliminate that gummy quality.

Monkey see; monkey do: I decided to make rolls and put them into our small springform pan. Happily, I lined the pan with a prodigal amount of brand new parchment paper (I started with used parchment paper, but it kept wanting to tear as I pushed it into the pan). I buttered it and then started pressing out the dough.

Again, there was no problem at all. The dough was soft and pliable but not sticky or messy at all. At first I thought I’d make the dough into a log and cut it into 8 pieces. Then I decided to flatten it and cut it into 8 strips, coiling each strip and nesting them in the springform pan. When there were 5 pieces left to coil and about a quarter of the pan left to jam them into, it dawned on me that the small springform pan was perhaps not large enough. THIS is why lining with too much parchment paper is a good idea. It took no time at all to transfer the lot into the large spring form pan. :-)

19:48 About half an hour ago, seeing that the rolls had nicely risen, I brushed the tops of the rolls with milk (egg wash? What’s that?) Into the preheated 325F oven – top shelf – they went.

I just checked them. They’re not done. Ten more minutes, I think.

20:02 They’re done! And they smell amazing. Wow! Can you say chocolate?

Is it time for dessert yet?

chocolate prune bread After a dinner of wonderful cream of chicken soup, green beans and homemade crackers, we each had a re-warmed roll for dessert. With butter. And they were good. Although they weren’t quite sweet enough for 50% of the people tasting them.

The next morning, we split one of the rolls in half for breakfast. Hello!! What a great breakfast roll! With exactly the right amount of sugar….

Here is Jamie’s BBB January 2014 Chocolate Prune Bread recipe. And here is what I did to it:

BBB Chocolate Prune Rolls
based on a recipe in “The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” (revised & updated edition) by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoë François

makes 8 rolls


  • 212 gm (212 ml) water at 100F ¹
  • 4 gm (~1 tsp) active dry yeast
  • 64 gm (1/3 c) sunflower oil
  • 25gm (2 Tbsp) sugar ²
  • 293 gm (~2 c / 495 ml) flour (250 gm unbleached all-purpose, 40 gm whole wheat, 3 gm wholegrain teff)
  • 32 gm (1/3 c/ 68 ml) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 7 gm (1 to 1.75 tsp) kosher salt ³


  • unsalted butter for greasing the pan
  • 132 gm (2 oz) good quality bittersweet chocolate 4
  • 100 gm (~0.5c) ¾ cup chopped pitted prunes4
  • Milk wash (or egg wash – 1 egg beaten with 1 Tbs water – if you want)
  • ¼ cup (50 g) sugar for sprinkling over the top of the bread and preparing the pan
  1. Dough In the morning of the day you will be baking the rolls, pour the water into a largish bowl. Whisk in yeast until it has dissolved.
  2. Whisk in the oil and sugar.
  3. Add flours, teff, cocoa powder and salt and using a wooden spoon, stir until the dough clears the side of the bowl.
  4. Kneading Plunge in with your hands to turn and fold, kneading until it’s smooth (5 to 10 minutes).

    Begin to mix by reaching underneath the dough and grabbing about one quarter of the dough. Stretch this section of dough, then fold it over the top to the other side of the dough. When folding segments of dough, stretch them out to the point of resistance, then fold them back across the entire length of the dough mass. Working your way around the dough, repeat with the remaining quarters of the dough, reaching underneath each time […] Once all of the dough has been folded over itself, continue mixing using the pincer method. Using a pincerlike grip with your thumb and forefinger, squeeze big chunks of dough and then tighten your grip to cut through the dough. Do this repeatedly, working through the entire mass of the dough. With your other hand, turn the tub while you’re mixing. […]– Ken Forkish, Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza, Basic Bread Method, p. 69

    Once the dough is smooth, cover the bowl with a plate and put it in the oven, with only the light turned on, to rise until doubled – 2 to 3 hours. (ooops!! I just noticed that the dough was supposed to have risen and fallen before proceeding to the next step. Oh well…)

  5. Filling: Coarsely chop the chocolate and pitted prunes. Set aside.
  6. chocolate prune breadShaping: Line a springform pan with parchment paper and butter the paper. Set it aside.
  7. When the dough has doubled, turn it out onto a board lightly dusted with flour. Press it out into a rectangle about a quarter inch (about half a centimeter) thick. Evenly scatter the chopped chocolate and prunes over top. Roll up like a jelly roll and press it down to form a rectangle. Roll like a jelly roll again. Press it down to form a rectangle again. Using a very sharp knife, cut it into 8 strips. Coil each strip and nest the coils onto the parchment paper. Cover with an upsidedown bowl over top and put in the oven with only the light turned on to rise until doubled (about an hour).
  8. Baking: Preheat the oven to 325F (163C).
  9. Brush the tops with milk. Bake on the top shelf (to prevent them burning on the bottoms) for 30-40 minutes until a skewer poked into the center of the dough part comes out clean. After removing the rolls from the oven, leave in the pan for about 5 minutes. Release the rolls from the pan.
  10. Put the baked rolls on a footed rack to allow them to cool completely before serving. They’re still baking inside! (Even if you’ve ignored the instruction about using hot water from the tap, please do not ignore this step.) 6


1.) Water: [BrokenRecordAlert] Please do not use water from the hot water tap. Even though the other BBBabes will continue to mock me… (How old are your pipes? How old is the solder? When is the last time you flushed the sediment from the hot water tank? How many toxins want to leach out? Do you really want those in your bread?) Instead, heat the water in a kettle or microwave. [/BrokenRecordAlert] Add cold water until it is the correct temperature. If you are allergic to using a thermometer, you can do the baby bottle test on the back of your wrist. Please note that before the yeast is added, the water temperature must be BELOW 120F (49C) because yeast begins to die when the temperature is higher than 120F.

2.) Sugar The BBB recipe calls for 75 gm (3/8 cup) sugar. I made an executive decision that that was too much sugar. I didn’t want cake….

3.) Salt For the salt measurement, I calculated the weight from the smaller teaspoon amount: 1 tsp of fine salt = 6 gm. The weight of salt should be the same no matter what kind of salt is used. That’s why I like to see weight instead of volume for salt measurements. It eliminates one part of the guesswork.
4.) Chocolate The BBB recipe suggests using 170 gm (6 oz) bittersweet chocolate. That just seemed excessive.

5.) Prunes The BBB recipe suggests using 130 gm (0.75 c) pitted prunes. That too seemed excessive.

6.) But I LIKE warm rolls just out of the oven!! N.B. Of course you will want to serve warm rolls. Reheat them after they have cooled completely. (They are still baking when it first comes out of the oven!) To reheat any UNsliced bread, turn the oven to 450F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread in the hot oven for ten minutes.

Because of the dark colour of the dough, it was quite tricky to tell whether the rolls were baked through. Happily the skewer through the centre method worked and the rolls were indeed done.

And even though I played fast and loose with the sugar measurement, the rolls were pretty wonderful. Remarkably, even with all this chocolate, the prune flavour and aroma came through every so often.

These warmed rolls with a little too much (if that’s really possible) butter slathered on and large cups of rich dark cafe au lait were delicious for breakfast.

And so good for us too. Because of the prunes…. Roughage, don’t you know?

Thank you, Jamie!

Bread Baking Babes Just a hint of chocolate, eh? (BBB January 2014)

Jamie (Life’s a Feast) the host of January 2014’s Bread Baking Babes’ task. She wrote:

For January’s recipe, I really wanted to choose a recipe from Zoë and Jeff’s new edition of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day and wavered between a more savory or a sweeter bread but this is one that I have wanted to make since I received the first edition how many years ago. […] [E]very bread recipe I have made from their books has turned out fabulous bread! And no knead! […]

According to Zoë and Jeff, this bread goes really well with either a glass of milk or… a glass of Armagnac (of course… prunes and Armagnac!)

Armagnac, for breakfast?! What an idea!

We know you’ll want to make this bread too! To receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: make chocolate prune bread in the next couple of weeks. Knead it or don’t knead it; you choose! Then post about it (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 27 29 January 2014. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to email the Kitchen of the Month to say that your post is up.

For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:

Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ January bread:

Yeastspotting - every Friday (wordle.net image)

Each week, Susan (Wild Yeast) compiles a list of many bread-specific recipes from across the web. For complete details on how to be included in the YeastSpotting round up, please read the following:

Bake Your Own Bread (BYOB)
BYOB is a monthly event that was hosted by Heather (girlichef) and has now been taken over by Carola (Sweet and That’s It)

[BYOB] encourages you to start (or continue) getting comfortable baking bread in your own kitchen. Anything from simple quick breads to conquering that fear of yeast to making and nurturing your own sourdough starter. All levels of bakers are welcome to participate.

And Carola wrote:

Homemade bread is healthy! As healthy as you decide: choose the best ingredients (if you can afford it, organic and GMO free) and you’ll be surrounded by the most delicious scent and fascinated by the most delicious taste.

Let the adventure continue!

For more information about BYOB, please read the following:

  • BYOB: Bake Your Own Bread (Scroll down to “Monthly Link up Summary” at the bottom of the post)


chocolate prune bread


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9 responses to “Just a hint of chocolate, eh? (BBB January 2014)

  1. Andrea Meyers

    Oh how very rich and chocolatey your bread looks! I’ve never made a chocolate yeast dough, but I can imagine your rolls would be fabulous with a cup of tea for an afternoon snack.

    Thank you, Andrea! It did turn out pretty well in the end. And now that you mention “afternoon snack”, I’m thinking that serving them with some creamy goat’s cheese might be just the thing. – Elizabeth

  2. Elle

    No so sure about the healthy part, fiber or not, but I love that you made these as buns and even had them for breakfast. I decreased the sugar some, too, and that seemed to work well, but they surely are chocolaty. Lovely photos as usual.

    But there’s teff! And whole wheat flour too, Elle. :-) And as for having them for breakfast, it reminds me of an ad I heard about “Coke. It’s not just for breakfast”. – Elizabeth

  3. Lien

    You’re so right, FULL of chocolate flavour these rolls/bread! We’ve been eating them for breakfast too, but to be honest I can eat at coffee time, tea bread, lunch and as a dessert!

    Ha! We don’t have enough left ot eat at coffee time, lunch and as dessert, Lien. – Elizabeth

  4. Baking Soda

    Wow! Come to the dark side Babe! Yours are so eh dark!! What did you do? :D no Elizabeth they do look great. I can imagine you found them very chocolatey although my boys wouldn’t mind even more chocolate haha.

    They ARE dark, aren’t they? I don’t know what I did, Karen. (I don’t THINK I measured wrong….) – Elizabeth

  5. Katie

    Breakfast would be perfect! Even after all the Christmas chocolate….. You are brave….

    Brave, Katie? Hmmm… I think you’re being very kind. But I’m afraid it’s because we’re a bit like fish. We’ll just keep right on eating as long as the food is there. – Elizabeth

  6. MyKitchenInHalfCups

    You know of course I will be cutting the sugar as well … teff, radical but sounds like something to try … but where’s the flax ;-) I can’t understand why you would think you should read the recipe early, I forget everything I read anyway. Breakfast … toast … too much butter (what is that the entire stick) … what heaven.

    I actually thought of putting in some flax seed too, Tanna. But I was in a hurry (what with starting so late in the morning) and didn’t feel like fighting with the nightmare in the freezer to try to find the flax seeds. And then grind them up too. Yup. Too much work. And of course, you’re right. Reading ahead is a ridiculous thing to do. (It didn’t exactly help me to notice the part about sprinkling sugar on top just before baking, did it?) – Elizabeth

  7. Ckay

    Wow Elizabeth, the rolls are lovely! I cannot wait to make them – in fact, I am on my way to the pantry and hope to find the prunes… I know, I must have them “somewhere in there” :-)

    Since the last BBB Bread “modern lardy cake” I made turned out as a cake (a real cake! oh poor me!! still dreaming about the perfect laminating! what am I saying?! any laminating would be good for me, even a “shy one”) – So now, I do wonder about the final result of this chocolate bread….A final with surprise! :D

    Thank you so much for sharing them with “Bake Your Own Bread”.

    PS: What a pity, I didn’t know that a new version of the book would be brought on the market and two weeks before that I ordered the old one… Never mind, there are still plenty of great recipes in there.

    PPS: Do you think it would make sense to order the new edition?
    Have a lovely lovely week end

    xx Carola

    Thank you, Carola! They did turn out pretty well, didn’t they? I just wish they’d been a little more photogenic. All the best for your chocolate prune bread! Don’t forget to dust the top with sugar. It does seem to improve the looks tremendously, judging from the other BBBabes’ chocolate prune bread adventures.
    As for the cookbook, I have neither version, so I can’t really make any recommendations. But Jamie says she loves hers so I’m sure you’ll be fine with that first edition. – Elizabeth

  8. Sandie

    Great post- I laughed while reading it since I thought of many the same things (the whole salt thing!), and the fact that you still felt the need to knead..

    Thank you, Sandie! I’m so glad to hear you laughed. I must say that I’m surprised that you’re the only one who seemed to notice that I kneaded. – Elizabeth


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