Second warning of the day: This might be the best bread I’ve ever baked. And I know bread is one of those things (like cookies) which you can’t say there’s an absolute winner, because that choice will always depend on what you’re eating it with, whether it’ll be eaten cold or warm, what time of the day you’re having it, etcetera, etcetera. But this recipe turned out to be so rich in flavor, with a slightly bitter bite from the rye and cocoa, balanced out with sweetness of the cranberries and raisins, and soft and fluffy on the inside but crusty on the outside. What more could you ask for?? Nothing I say. Plus, you can bake it as a sandwich loaf, as baguettes, as diner rolls, whichever way you like! Because the dough is so easy to manipulate once kneaded, you don’t have to struggle a lot to get it to stay perfectly shaped.
And then once you bake it, you can have a thick slice with gouda, spinach, and a poached egg on top. And if you cover that with creamy mustard sauce, then you might just forget it’s monday and that you have to hurry up to get to work on time.
Read more for the recipe!
Chocolate rye bread (with raisins and cranberries)
YIELD: 2 sandwich loaves
2 cups lukewarm water
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp (11grs) yeast
1 tbsp table salt
1/2 cup sugar
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups rye flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup rasins1/3 cup dried cranberries
Place the yeast, lukewarm water and 1 tbsp sugar in a small bowl and whisk softly until dissolved. Cover with a damp towel and let sit for 10 minutes, until it becomes frothy. Meanwhile, place all the remaining ingredients except the raisins and cranberries in the bowl of your mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the activated yeast mixture and mix on low speed for about 2 minutes. Scrape the dough from the sides of the bowl and mix on med speed for 4-5 minutes. You should have a firm, supple, tacky dough. (If not, you can adjust with milk or flour accordingly). Transfer to the work surface and knead by hand for another 4-5 minutes. You should see very small “blisters” on the surface of the dough when tensed. Place in a large bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let rise at room temperature until almost doubled in size (a bit less is ok).
Place the dough back on the work surface and shape your loaves: (I like to prepare the pans by lining them with parchment paper but it’s not necessary). Divide the dough in 2. Punch each piece into a rectangle slightly less wide than your pan and as long as it needs to be to get to abour 3 cm high. Sprinkle the raisins and cranberries on top, press them into the dough. Roll the dough into a log, pressing it firmly with each roll. Shape it tightly and transfer to your pan. Using a damp pastry brush, brush the top and cover with flour. Score down the middle using a very sharp knife and cover with a damp towel or lightly with plastic film. At this point you can either place the dough in the fridge to bake the next day (or second or third, but no more), or let rise again at room temperature until doubled in size, about 2-3 hours, and bake then.
To bake: at least half an hour before baking, preheat the oven to 450ºF. Place a baking dish on the bottom-most rack to preheat as well. Once ready, place the loaves in the middle rack, add cold water to the baking dish (this will create steam, be careful) and close the oven. Bring the temperature down to 420ºF and bake until slightly golden brown on top, rotating the pans twice in the process.
Note: feel free to make any shape you like! Baguettes also work great: