Sunday, 28 April 2013

Apricot and Chocolate Bread

This recipe is my adaptation of the Prune and Chocolate Bread recipe in Bread by Eric Treuille and Ursula Ferrigno. I replaced the prunes with apricots because the word 'prune' makes me cringe (I just don't like the sound of it), and I remember an acquaintance being force-fed prunes as a laxative when they were little. Which will forever make me associate prunes with...well, you get the picture.

You will need:
2 ½ tsp dried yeast
350 ml water
500g strong white flour
1 ½ tsp salt
30g unsalted softened butter, plus enough to grease the tin
200g soft apricots, roughly chopped
200g plain chocolate, roughly chopped
1 egg, beaten

1. Sprinkle the yeast into 100ml of the water in a bowl (1 part boiling to 2 parts cold). Cover and leave for 5 minutes, then stir with a wooden spoon until dissolved. Leave again until surface is frothy. Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl, make a well in the centre and pour in the yeasted water.
2. Mix in the flour, either using a wooden spoon or the paddle attachment of a heavy-duty mixer. Add the water gradually to form a soft, sticky dough.
3. If using a mixer, replace the paddle with the dough hook as soon as the mixture starts to come into a dough. Then leave the mixer on a medium setting for 10 minutes. If kneading by hand, knead until smooth and elastic – about 10 minutes.
4. Leave the dough in the mixing bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave to rise for about 1 hour, until doubled in size. Grease a loaf tin with butter.
5. Knock back the dough, then leave to rest for 10 minutes. Add the apricots, chocolate, butter and egg by gently squeezing in the wet ingredients, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead in the chocolate and apricots. Knead until just firm enough to keep shape.

6. Flatten out the dough gently, then take one end of the dough and fold it into the centre, pressing gently to seal the fold. Fold the other half of the dough into the centre and press gently again to seal the fold.

7. Place the dough seam-side down on the work surface and roll back and forth as if shaping a baguette. Then, lift the loaf off the surface and fold both ends under and place in the prepared tin. Leave to prove for 30 minutes, until risen about 1 inch above the rim of the tin. Whilst it is proving, preheat the oven to 180C or gas 4.

8. Bake for 45 minutes until lightly browned and hollow sounding when tapped underneath.

9. Do not leave to cool! Eat warm! But not straight away, or the molten chocolate will burn your tongue.



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