Rich dark cocoa & dark, ale brews. These are two of life’s greatest pleasures. When thrown together with a few other key ingredients, (as with many things,) something magical begins to happen with this Dark black bread, with cocoa & stout.
I chanced upon a few dark loaves sometime back (on Instagram.) These lovingly crafted loaves had a few things in common. They were slow rise breads, often put to bed overnight (waiting for that magic to happen.) They were often enriched with the aid of dark, rich, Cocoa.
Some were in fact enriched with the aid of dark stout…therefore genius dictates that we must combine the two together, to create the ultimate black bread.
There are a few handy techniques which can help the process somewhat. From the methods for the the Plastic Bag Bread (aka cheat’s sourdough.) Effectively this old party trick turns a regular old freezer bag into a mini hothouse for your loaves.
Call it what you will, I shall call it delicious! Whether you’re a pickle fiend, a cheese lover, a smoked salmon coinneussuer or all of the above, I hope you revel in the subtle hint of the rich chocolate brew and (before you ask,) I know, “cocoa & pickles!“
Trust me, you’ll thank me later. ;)
Dark Black bread with cocoa & stout:
this recipe requires one day & (ideally) an overnight rest.
Chocolate Brew (aka the starter) :
1 & 1/2 cups of stout
2 cups of strong flour
1/2 cup of dark cocoa
Generous pinch of salt.
7g of dried yeast
You’ll also need a large tall jar, some cloth & a rubber band and a wan plastic bag.
1 & 1/2 cups strong flour/you can use a mix of rye flour too.
1 (to 1 & 1/2) cups of starter,
Another generous pinch of salt,
Couple pinches of sugar.
Optional: a sprinkle of caraway seeds
Cheese, Dijon mustard & pickles.
Mix dry ingredients with Stout and secure with a loose cloth whilst mixture develops (for a few hours) or ideally overnight.
Measure strong flour, salt & sugar. Add the chocolate brew in & mix well. Knead thoroughly until dough is smooth (adjust accordingly with more or less flour & starter as needed.)
Shape dough and cut a slash into the top. Place onto a pan and secure a clean plastic bag around the pan (to create a mini hothouse for the bread.)
The heat from the kneading and condensation as the dough proves will multiply in that environment. Allow to prove until double it’s original size.
Optional-sprinkle the loaf with a tsp of caraway seeds & bake the loaf at 220C/428F for 20-25 mins.
When finished, switch the oven off and invert the bread for a 1/2 hr. This will help to produce a lovely crust. An old wooden spoon in the door handle helps to allows excess steam to escape.
Serving suggestions: a few condiments and small goods, cheese, salmon, Jamon etc…