Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Welcome to my kitchen

french door

So I've been holding out on posting this for nearly two weeks, partly due to laziness and/or busyness and also in part because I cringe a little when I think about showing my much less than gourmet kitchen. I have almost no counter space and because we live in an older home, the set up is rather odd.

However, I thought it might be strangely inspirational to other bloggers who may find themselves in a similar less-than-stellar kitchen situation. I know I love seeing other bloggers kitchens and, get this, even more when they are tiny and small and when you see them you think, 'Wow! They make everything they do IN THERE?'

Yep. Sometimes you just have to make it work and that is what I do every time I head into my kitchen.It has become my mantra, and so far, so good.

You can read my brief interview and take a tour here, over at Cafe Mom.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Make this bread.

coconut chocolate bread

I'm gonna cut right to the chase: I'm obsessed with this bread. OBSESSED. Obsessed I tell you! I'm so obsessed with it that I've said the word 'obsessed' so many times that it no longer sounds like a word.

I'm so in love with this bread that I even have the recipe memorized. That is no small feat, my friends because let me tell you - I have a horrible memory. Terrible. I instantly forget people's names upon being introduced to them. I couldn't tell you what I had for dinner two days ago. I lose my train of thought like you wouldn't believe.

coconut chocolate bread - first rise
after the first rise

What were we on about again?

Oh! Right. This amazing coconut chocolate bread I can't seem to get enough of!

coconut chocolate bread - dough ball
forming the boule

This wonderful bread is another variation of the infamous no-knead bread from Jim Lahey. I was given his new book My Bread as a gift and this was the second recipe I tested. This is also the recipe that seems to be preventing me from testing out any others in the book, as I can't seem to muster up the desire to try any others (yet). I've made this bread more times than I can recall (no surprise there) and I would guesstimate, at least once a week for the past month and a half (and sometimes multiple times a week!).

I've basically been living off of this stuff. I eat it for breakfast. As an after lunch snack. Perhaps a small slice before dinner. And definitely a thick slab for a late night treat. Admittedly, I start to feel a slight sense of panic when the loaf nears it's end. It's almost gone! I need to make more! I'm going to run out! GAH!

And by 'slight' I mean, 'immense'.

One thing I really love about this particular recipe is that it's not too sweet. I wouldn't call it a 'sweet bread' as the coconut doesn't add much sweetness and using bittersweet chocolate doesn't really either. It's a perfect blend of chocolate and coconut flavor with the amazingly chewey/crunchy texture of no-knead bread.

coconut chocolate bread - dough
before and after the second rise

If you've never ventured into the world of no-knead bread, I highly encourage you to do so. It is truly a beautiful thing. Not to mention, quite yummy.

Just a few notes on this recipe...

  • No-knead bread dough is usually very sticky and wet - this variation is less so. Don't be alarmed if it seems too 'dry'. Don't add more water! I tried this and ended up with a very flat loaf.
  • The original recipe calls for half of the coconut to be added to the dough and the other half sprinkled over the top of the dough just before baking. I tried this and the coconut just ends up burnt during the last part of baking (after removing the lid to your baking vessel). Because of this I add all the coconut at the beginning, which is what probably causes it to be more dry than other no knead doughs, but it works out well
  • I always strive to get my no-knead breads to be taller and more round, so I've taken to putting a strip of parchment under the dough ball during the final rise. This way I am able to lift the dough ball easily into my pre-heated dutch oven without mangling it. If you happen to run out of parchment, use a strip of well oiled foil and whatever you do, don't attempt to use a cut up paper Trader Joe's bag instead. Trust me on this.

coconut chocolate bread - second rise

Coconut Chocolate No-Knead Bread
adapted from My Bread by Jim Lahey

280 grams (2 cups plus 2 tablespoons) bread flour (all purpose works fine as well)
100 grams (2 cups, loosely packed)  large flake unsweetened coconut
150 grams (1 cup) bittersweet chocolate chunks
4 grams (3/4 teaspoon) salt
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
280 grams (1 1/4 cups) room temp water

1. Combine your ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and let sit for at least 12 hours and up to 18 (longer would probably be okay too).

2. Turn dough out onto a well floured surface and shape into a round boule. Lightly grease a large bowl and place a long strip of parchment a few inches wide in the bottom. Place dough ball on top of parchment strip. Cover with a towel and let rise for at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours.

3. 30 minutes before the end of the second rise, preheat your oven to 450 F with your dutch oven inside (any large baking vessel with a lid will work too).

4. Gently lift your dough using the parchment as handles and place into your pre-heated dutch oven and put the lid on. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake for another 15-20, depending on how dark you prefer your crust.


coconut chocolate bread - cut