Chocolate Sourdough with Dried Cherries
My husband and his friends were having a peach sour beer tasting party and he asked me to bake something that could pair well with those beers. I considered baking something peachy, but peach season is not quite in full swing yet, so the ones available at the farmers' markets are still a bit too pricey and not quite at their best.
I decided to bake him a chocolate sourdough bread. I used the formula found on the SFBI website, but I think there's a similar formula in "Advanced Bread and Pastry". It's a hybrid bread using both a levain and instant dry yeast which worked out well for me since my starter is acting lazy and won't raise bread sufficiently right now. (See this thread about it: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/38563/not-enough-yeast-starter).
The recipe called for chocolate chips, but I used chopped chocolate instead. Chopped chocolate had the added benefit of staying soft even after the bread cooled off. It's easier to slice when a hard chocolate chip isn't tearing through the crumb. I added 27% dried sour cherries which along with the chocolate gave me an add-in percentage of 20%. The dough is low hydration (64%) so it's easy to handle.
Others (elsewhere on the 'net, not on TFL) that have made this bread mentioned that it was not sweet at all. So I was taken by surprise that it was sweeter than I expected. Maybe other people expected something like a chocolate cake? Well, in that case I can understand the bread was not sweet when compared to cake. I expected less sweet and felt it was more sweet. It's all about expections.
Perceived levels of sweetness aside, I would not call the bread overly sweet. The honey played very nicely with the Dutch-processed cocoa. I didn't detect any tang from the levain. Overall, the flavor of the bread was very well-rounded. The smokey bitterness of the cocoa and the bright tartness of the cherries paired perfectly with all those sour beers.
Love that dark reddish crust, and well fermented crumb. What do think also pairs well with this cake- umm bread :) ?
A lot of beverages pair well with this bread. I think bourbon, Scotch, etc. would be great. Especially if the dried cherries were soaked in some whiskey instead of water. Some red wines pair well with dark chocolate too. As far as food goes, I think any soft mild cheese would work. Brie, cream cheese, mascarpone, chevre.
Don't forget a nice aged Port Great looking bread, Yumm. :)
Ah yes, port would be lovely too!
it is, nt that Lucy needs another reason for a neat bourbon, but a nice limoncello with diet squirt might be interesting at sunset by the pool. Still, bourbon snockerd re hydrated dried cherries would have been a nce compromise:-)
Love everything about this bread except the yeast. Do a 3 stage build on that levain at 76 F (and repeat stage 2 if it doesn't double in 4 hours after the 2nd feeding) That should perk it up and get it back to full strength. Well done and
I will definitely try it again minus the commercial yeast.
Beautiful Bread Mary. I like the idea of the honey to add a little sweetness.