Yes I know, my last 3 posts have been text-heavy, and picture-less – which just speaks of how lazy I have been in uploading my photos from my camera or my phone. I seriously need to invest in a SD card which allows me to upload stuff wirelessly, so that I will not have any more reason for my sloth.

One other reason is of course, the fact that I’ve been baking uninteresting things like chiffon cakes (which I know I have not posted a recipe of) and cupcakes and have not put in the effort to take nice photos of them.

The other reason, and perhaps the main reason if you exclude sloth, is because life has been rather hectic on the personal front – I’ve been juggling school admissions issues, delaying patisserie school, preparing exemption forms, asking partners for references, managing finances and going through visa formalities which are a huge pain in the ass. On the work front, I unashamedly admit that I’ve been slacking off, so while there are days where I work hard, on the others, I slack off and don’t ask for more work from the partners. Oops?

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So to compensate, I’ve dug out some old photos from my photo archive and here’s something from early 2013. A chocolate bread loaf which has become a staple in my kitchen, along with a pumpkin cinnamon bread loaf (I promise pictures and a post of that soon). Variants of that include a bamboo charcoal loaf and sweet potato loaf respectively. I used to bake breads and loaves on a weekly basis, to supply myself with breakfast for the coming week, but lately I’ve been cutting back on loaf baking because I’m on an Atkins diet (yet again) and I’m cutting down on carbs. I do still bake breads and cheat, and some recent favourites are flatbreads like naan and chapati, and my all-time favourite – pizza! My favourite recipe is from Peter Reinhart. 

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You might notice from the photos that my bread loaf came out of a brown paper bag. That’s not just for show or a prop. I prefer keeping my breads in brown paper bags because #1, I don’t want to waste plastic by storing it in a plastic ziplock and #2, storing it with plastic will tend to dry it out. I can’t remember where I read this before, but you can read this to find out more. For some reason, I think the bread looks a little ‘rough’ in the photos above, but trust me, it is still very fluffy! I think the roughness probably came from me trying to sharpen the photo. If you look at the bread from the top, you can see that the loaf is so soft that the top was slightly dented from me handling it =X

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Looking at these photos make me a little sad, because I haven’t been eating breads for a week (a very short time but feels like ages to me) and it’s especially tortorous because I have to walk past a Paul Bakery when I go to work everyday. I simply luuurrrrvvveee the smell of freshly baked bread. In fact, I torture myself by taking extra deep breaths when I walk past the bakery =X The jam btw is my strawberry jam which I have just a few months ago made another huge batch of thanks to the strawberry season. I make strawberry jam twice a year – I use in-season strawberries from America and then from Australia (I don’t like Korean strawberries) and I make around 800g-1000g each time, so each batch lasts me half a year :]

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Chocolate Bread Loaf with Chocolate Chips
 
Author: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 1 large + 1 small loaf
 
 
Ingredients
  • 300g bread flour
  • 200g wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp (7g) salt
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 15g honey
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • 50g egg without shell
  • 150ml milk
  • 150ml water
  • 1 tsp (6g) instant active yeast
  • 40g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 80g dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
Instructions
  1. In a large mixer, add in all the ingredients except for water, butter and chocolate chunks. Gradually add in the water and start mixing. Continue to knead till dough is not sticky and very elastic which will pull away from the sides.
  2. Add in the butter and continue to knead till it reaches window pane stage. If kneading by hand, simply do the same above, and knead for approximately 15 minutes.
  3. Cover and let proof for 1 hour or till dough doubles in volume.
  4. After proofing, punch out the air and weigh out 600g of dough for the loaf. You can shape the remaining dough into buns or it will fit into another mini loaf pan.
  5. To shape the loaf, you can either roll out the dough into a large rectange and roll it up like a swiss roll before placing it into the loaf pan OR you can divide the dough into further 200g portions, shaping them nicely into round balls before placing the 3 balls in the loaf pan. Alternatively, you can braid the loaf as well. Cover and let the dough proof for another hour, or until it reaches the rim of the loaf pan.
  6. Preheat oven in the meantime to 180C.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes. If you made small buns as well, they will take about 15-20 minutes to bake.
  8. Once baked, remove the loaf pan from oven. After 20 minutes, remove the loaf from the pan and let it cool completely on the rack.
Notes
Substitutions: You can easily halve the recipe if you & your family cannot consume that much bread at one go. Just make sure to use about ¾ tsp or 4g-5g of yeast. You cannot halve the yeast unless you're willing to wait for the dough to proof. As for other substitutions, you can use milk powder instead of milk - the original recipe by Bee uses 20g of milk powder and 300ml of water. I used a half-half instead. You can also go for 300g of milk, although I don't think that it necessary because the milk will tend to mute the taste of the chocolate. As for the wholemeal flour, you can use less of it or none at all, but I have used up to half (250g) and the loaf still turns out great. You just have to knead the dough slightly longer to achieve the window pane stage.
Taste: Whenever I crave for something chocolatey (and I don't want a cake), I will resort to this. I tend to prefer it with less chocolate chunks, so that I can slather on Nutella and jam or peanut butter and it doesn't feel as sinful. Yup I know, I like to deceive myself.
Texture: If you go for a half-wholemeal loaf, the texture will be slightly 'rougher' and not as soft as an all-white loaf. The photos you see are from a half-wholemeal loaf.
Storage: If you use chocolate chunks in the loaf, be sure to consume them quickly or store them in a container because the chunks melt when stored at room temperature. You can also keep slices in the freezer, properly ziplocked of course, and give them a thaw with the microwave when you want to eat them.
Would I make this again?: Definitely!

 

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