Monday, January 01, 2007

Pane alla Cioccolata (Chocolate Bread)

Monday, January 1, 2007
I had to find a bread recipe that made two loaves. We dogsat from Thursday until Sunday for the dog (Blue) of a friend (Sarah) of a friend (Teddie). Here is Blue:

Blue is a big dog, a Lab-Huskie mix. He's very sweet and very smart, and I thought it would be fun to have a dog for a few days, and Jim was planning to be home Thursday and Friday, so Blue wouldn't be left alone to get sad and lonesome. It was ideal. Except that around noon on Thursday, Elizabeth called and said, "Blue ran away!" "What!!" said I. "Ran away?!! What? How? When?" Teddie, who happened to be in my office at the time, gathered from my side of the conversation that Blue was gone. She started to cry. Well, to sob, really. Hysterically. (She is very emotional).
Jim and Elizabeth were out in the car searching for Blue, and Jim wouldn't talk to me because he was afraid I might yell at him. It turns out that Jim had decided that Blue should be left out in our back yard to frolic. Only he forgot that our fence has two spots where dogs can escape. We know this because our own dog used to escape until Jim patched the escape routes; since our dog died years ago, the makeshift patches have long since disappeared. Jim remembered one weak spot, but forgot the other one; apparently Blue found it. I didn't want to call Sarah, Blue's owner, because I didn't want to admit that we had flubbed our assignment so early in the game. Wiser heads prevailed, however, reasoning that since Blue had an ID tag, Sarah would be called. Sarah, heretofore having a lovely vacation, called her home phone number and heard a message from Joe, our neighbor across the street: Blue was safe at his house, just waiting to be rescued. I told Teddie, and told her that Jim and Elizabeth would go pick him up, but she said, "No! I don't trust Jim with Blue. I'll go pick him up myself, and take him home with me!" I hung my head in shame. She relented. Jim and Elizabeth fetched the dog, who stayed with us until Sunday with no further trauma. Elizabeth suggested that I should bake a loaf of bread for Joe, our dog-rescuing neighbor. (Yes, this shaggy dog tale is returning to the subject of bread). Excellent idea, I said, but I'm tired of baking bread and giving it away, so I'll bake two loaves. I perused The Italian Baker, and came up with this chocolate bread, which, conveniently, turns out two loaves of delicious, mildly sweet, very chocolatey bread.

It's got both cocoa and chocolate chips in it, and it makes a nice, velvety dough that's soft but manageable. Of course, we had to try it immediately to make sure it was worthy of being given away, so I sliced it while it was still quite warm--warm enough to make the butter melt. The crust was crispy enough and the bread substantial enough so that it didn't lose shape even when it was being sliced too early.

If only I had made a third loaf for Teddie, I could be sure that she would completely forgive us for our haphazard ways.

11 comments:

evil cake lady said...

phew; i'm glad blue was found and everything was okay!

mmm, chocolate bread--that sounds nice and chocolatey without being too sweet or heavy.

happy new year bbc!

Doughadear said...

Happy New Year Marie
Your chocolate bread looks delicious!
I also made a chocolate bread just before Christmas. After seeing its picture in
the December issue of Gourmet magazine I just could not resist and tried it. The dough was really soft and buttery but easy to work with. It was layered with chopped dark callebou chocolate and the end result was decadent abd almost croisant like.

Anonymous said...

Poor ole Jim. He doesn't come off so well in this story... and it really wasn't his fault the dog just wanted to go home. But the bread made it all better in the end and everyone is happy. Cheers, Melinda

breadbasketcase said...

ECL, Happy new year to you too! The bread was not too sweet or heavy; in fact, I could almost talk myself into believing it was good for me, what with the large amount of dark chocolate and the small amount of fat.

Doughadear,
Your chocolate layered bread sounds delicious too, How about a whole year of chocolate breads--now that would be a project, wouldn't it?

Melinda,
Jim has noted that I seem especially fond of telling stories that cast him as a villain, or at least as a doofus. But I say I'm just the reporter of factual events.

Jim said...

Yeah. Like the botulism story.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, you are a riot! Seriously, I have been meaning to write and say how glad I am that you keep blogging, I love it!

I just had a botulism episode the other day, completely unwarranted, it wasn't even something that had the possiblity of botulism, but the disease was in my head and I was certain we were going to get it...the internet can be a blessing and a curse!

Okay, back to the story at hand...let's see, I wanted to write and let you know that not only do I love your site but it is also a great reference, I received the Bread Bible a few months ago and I have baked maybe 7-8 breads from it...everytime I want to bake a bread I page through the book for a few days and then I check your site and look at your pics and read your comments about the chosen bread...I love it!! Thank you! Stacey

Anonymous said...

Goodness, I don't write in months and now I cannot stop...I wanted to also say I received the "Baking with the St. Paul Bread Club" book for Christmas...I have been reading it every night and wanted to pass along a recommendation...great stories of each of the members and some fun recipes.

It is different than Rose's though, much less direction and more focus on learning to "feel" the dough...I do better with the detailed instructions of Rose but perhaps I will graduate to these recipes...plus we always have Rose's techniques to fall back on...

Happy Baking! Stacey

breadbasketcase said...

Stacey,
So glad to hear that other people have irrational botulism fears! Nice to know you're not alone in your nuttiness (not that you're nutty).
I've heard that the St. Paul Bread Club book is a good book--I will put it on my list.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Hi, Marie! Happy New Year!

I just found your blog and what a nice coincidence, a while ago I baked a pane alla cioccolata, too!
It's here, if you have some secs to spare:
http://technicolorkitcheninenglish.blogspot.com/search?q=pane

I love baking, especially breads - I enjoy a lot working with yeast, fresh is my favorite.

I think your "mission" is fantastic - I'll certainly come back here to check the results. :D

Best regards from Brazil,
Patricia.

breadbasketcase said...

Patricia,
I looked at your bread--it looks delicious! I think the recipes we used were similar, but mine didn't have the chocolate topping and had chocolate chips mixed in. The chocolate bread concept is so wonderful, I'm surprised it's not more popular.

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