The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


GloriaH.'s picture




I am a beginner home bread baker. I have understanding of the basics of bread baking using hand mixing/kneading and bread machine cycles. I have owned a bread maker for the last 10 years and, after putting the machine away for the better part of 7 years (because I got tired of baking the same bread all the time), I decided to bake again.

I found a delicious-sounding recipe in one of my favorite bread cookbooks --Beth Hensperger's The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook. In the section called "Sweet Loaves" the author has "Mexican Chocolate Bread." The first time I tried the recipe, the end result was a brick! It did not rise. My Breadman bread maker does not have the "sweet bread" cycle the recipe recommends. So, I programmed the machine for the "batter bread/cake." The dough was batter-like and it did not behave like the other dough I was familiar with.

The recipe calls for a total of 1½ cups of liquids (1 cup of milk and ½ cup orange juice), and 2 large eggs. There are 3½ cups of bread flour called for; ⅓ cup light brown sugar (or piloncillo) and ⅔ cup grated Mexican chocolate Ibarra brand (whose main ingredient is sugar). 

The rest of the ingredients are: 4 TBSP unsalted butter, ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 TBSP + 1 tsp gluten, 1½ tsp salt, 1½ tsp instant espresso powder, 1 tsp ground cinnamon and 1 TBSP bread machine yeast (or 2½ tsp SAF yeast).

Before attempting the bread a second time, I sought advice from a professional baker's blog and she advised to make sure I obtained a soft and smooth (not runny) dough. But the problem I encountered again was that the dough was runny and sticky and even though I followed her advice to program the machine for "basic" the kneading did not look like regular dough (not soft and smooth). So, what I did was to add flour to obtain a soft and smooth, and not sticky dough. This time the bread rose, but because I ended up adding approximately another cup (or cup and ½) of bread flour, the dough was too large for my machine's capacity so I shaped it and baked it in a large oval casserole dish (11"X8.5"X2.5"). The final rise filled the dish's dimensions completely and once baked (60 min. at 250 deg. F) the bread had mushroomed to twice the volume of the baking dish!  The flavor was very good though.

This is what I am looking to finding out from anyone out there with experience:

If I stick to the recipe, should I decrease the liquids, and by how much, in order to obtain a soft and smooth dough? I don't think this is a recipe for a batter chocolate bread.

Or should I just add another 1½ cups of bread flour and later divide the dough in half and bake them in regular sized (8"X4") loaf pans?

I have the feeling that adding the additional flour does tone down the flavor, which I think would be incredibly chocolaty, cinnamony and sweet like sweet bread would be.  This bread reminds me of a cup of hot Mexican chocolate: rich, thick, spicy and sweet. The bread I got the second time around is nice, but not in-your-face rich and spicy.

Thank you and I look forward to reading your advice!

 Gloria H.


LLM777's picture

I would definitely try to decrease liquid first to get the original recipe's flavor. I personally would try 3/4 cup of milk and 1/3 cup orange juice. I also think 2 eggs is a lot. I have only used one egg per recipe so if that is still too runny, try cutting out one of the eggs. The good news is that all your experiments will still be eaten. That's the fun part.

It seems that 1 1/2 cups of added flour is a lot extra. You may need to widdle the milk to 2/3 c. and the o.j. to 1/4 c. next and cut one egg. Keep trying; it sounds delicious!

frazzled's picture

certainly does sound delicious eevn if take one was a disaster! I think like most cooking its a case of trial and error and trying to recall what you did  when you get it right! Will you stick the recipe up here when you work out the best one please I'd loev to try it out!

cake diva's picture
cake diva

In addition to the ingredients modification suggested above, I would do the ff:

1) use the dough cyle on the breadmachine to combine and do preliminary kneading

2)take the dough after the cyle and immediately knead manually in a lightly-floured counter using the slam-stretch-fold method until dough is less sticky and now smoother (I would guess around 10 minutes).  There is a video of Richard Bertinet demonstrating this.  I use this method with sweet dough and it always works.

If this batch fails, I recommend making bread crisps sort of like biscotti.  They make excellent snacks!

GloriaH.'s picture


Thank you LLM 777 and Cake Diva for the advice. I think I will try this recipe again in the next week or so, and when I do, I will certainly reduce the liquids and will use the dough cycle and try the kneading method recommended. 

Cake Diva I love your ideas for using the results of a failed experiment (the biscotti-like bread crisps). That sounds just as delicious!

Frazzled as you can see (or read) I am on a quest to have success with this recipe, and when I do, I will post my notes about it with pix.

As of now, my family is in the process of enjoying my second attempt of Mexican chocolate bread with peanut butter and bananas, orange marmalade, as toast with just butter and a cup of coffee, with Nutella spread. . .


SusanWozniak's picture

This sounds like a great recipe.  Twenty or more years ago, when Jane and Michael Stern were still writing for the NY Times, they published a recipe for chocolate bread that was served with "vanilla butter," actually, frosting.

I lost the original recipe but continued to make the bread, winging it all the time.  The original ingredients were cocoa, flour, scalded milk, sugar, yeast and eggs.  I combined whole wheat and white all purpose flour and used yogurt rather than scalded milk.  I just throw the ingredients in a bowl and mix them, adding the eggs last.

The vanilla butter is just butter beaten with powdered sugar and vanilla.

While I haven't made this bread for at least two, possibly three years, I am anxious to try it with KA bread flour and instant yeast.

I'll also try a version of your Mexican Chocolate Bread, kneaded, not in a bread machine.

BreadBaker775's picture

Hi There.


I'm a lifetime father was a professional Baker so I have been exposed to Baking my whole life.

Looking at your recipe, I would like to make the following suggestions. To cut the liquid amount, I would keep both of the eggs. Eggs help the loaf rise and will add to the keep them and reduce the other liquids. I see that you have 4 Tablespoons of Butter, you could reduce that to 2 Tablespoons with no affect in taste. I would try that and then put in 1/2 a cup orange juice and 1/2 a cup milk. Reserve the other 1/2 cup milk till you see how well the ball is being shaped and add a little more milk if needed. I also notice that you are using a teaspoon and a half of salt. Understand, that salts function in baking bread is to retard the growth of the if your loaf is not rising very high, cut back on the amount of salt you are using.

A couple of other things....the butter should be melted before you add it. and the other liquids should not be cold, neither should the eggs (take them out of the icebox a hour before you use them), they should be room temp.

Use a thermometer to get the correct temp when adding the liquids. For most yeast bread I like it to be between 95 and 105 degrees F. This will make a vast difference in how well the yeast will rise. People who add the liquid by feel usually get it too hot. There is also the matter of timing...many bread machines have you add the liquids first, then the other ingredients. While you are adding the dry ingredients the liquids are cooling down. So it is best if you have the dry ingredients pre measured so they can get added as fast as possible. I usually put all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl (except the yeast), mix them together, put my liquids together (including the butter but not the eggs) and heat them to the correct temp. I add the liquid to the bread machine,add the eggs,  dump in the dry ingredients, put the yeast in and turn the machine on.

Make sure you are adding the yeast in the order listed by your bread machine manufacture (for Breadman, I believe it is the last thing added).

By the way, the reason that the bread did not rise the first time (when you used the Batter setting) was because that setting does not give the bread time to rise, where the regular basic setting gives the dough 60 to 90 min of gentle heat to give the yeast a chance to grow. The Batter setting kneads the batter and bakes right away with no delay.




Barbara Simkin's picture
Barbara Simkin

I have made this bread before, and had good results; I did make one adjustment.  Since the Baltimore Md area can be humid, I increased the yeast by about 3/4 teaspoon, and it came out fine.  Hope this helps!