Inspired by the Chocolate Cherry bread from Zingerman's Bakery down the street, and spurred on by a fellow FreshLoafer's (JMonkey) post on the matter, I've finally made it my own!
I'll admit it. Asthetically, it's a brute. Shaping didn't really happen, clearly there are no slashes, the sharp chocolate corners broke through the dough because I wasn't thinking about how I was handling it, it oozed, and the chocolate on the outside was mildly charred.
None of that matters.
The smell was incredible. The essence of sour cherries and dark chocolate mingled beautifully and delighted the nostrils of everyone in the vicinity. I dare say it was very seductive.
It tasted great. The little bit of honey I added to the dough helped connect the ingredients better. Otherwise, I wonder if there would have been too much contrast between the fruit/chocolate and bread flavors...
There is though, much room for improvement. I did not develop the dough adequately before folding in the additives. And I think it showed. I also made the mistake of not fully reviving my starter before introducing it to the dough; while it worked, it was rather weak. Also, the crust colored very quickly, and I pulled the loaf before it was fully baked, let it cool slightly, cut it, noticed it was underdone, and rebaked it. Next time, lower temp.
Still though. Very tasty. All the mistakes are rendered, at least temporarily, insignificant by the wonder of this creation.
Dark Chocolate Tart Cherry Levain
1.5 lbs Bread Flour (I used Golden Buffalo)
1lb 2ozs water
Small amount of refreshed s.dough culture (adjust depending on taste/rising time preference)
~8ozs dark chocolate, broken into small bits
~12ozs dried tart cherries (if sugar is added, its okay. They will come out during soaking)
1) Soak cherries for at least 30 minutes to remove any added sugar and prevent burning
2) Mix flour, salt, and water until fully hydrated, let autolyse/sit for ~30 minutes (can do while cherries soak)
3) Cut up levain, add to dough with cherries, mix until fully distributed, knead to develop gluten (which I did not do), but be gentle not to destroy cherry integrity
4) Bulk ferment until approx 1.5x volume increase, folding once* halfway through.
*During fold, add chocolate bits inbetween each fold over. JMonkey's blog illustrates this well, here.
5) Very gently shape the loaf, trying not to puncture the future crust. While it's not tragic if it does happen, if there's a leak, chocolate can leak out and burn, and it might make you a little sad. But you'll be fine! It's okay!
6) Bake on a preheated stone with steam at ~400-425F (I did 450F and forgot to turn the heat down [it was a busy day in the kitchen], so the crust darkened very quickly. A lower temp would give a more thorough bake without the crustular trauma)until internal temp reaches 200F.
LET COOL BEFORE CUTTING. Molten Chocolate is very hot! It will burn if you, so it is imperative that you resist the nearly irresistable urge to eat this bread. Even after about 25 minutes, it was hot enough to burn my friend a little, so be careful.
7) Devour. It will probably not last very long. Not because it won't keep. But because it's too tasty. Even if you mess up a bit.