MEXICAN CHOCOLATE BREAD
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!