Sunday, August 5, 2012

We Should Cocoa - Chocolate and Cherries

This month's #WeShouldCocoa challenge is being guest hosted by Janice of  farmersgirl blogspot and the supporting act that we are casting with chocolate this month is Cherries.

I rarely buy fresh cherries and even more rarely cook with them but I do a lot of baking with dried sour cherries so I opted to stick with them and chose this rather rustic but flavoursome loaf to bake up.
The recipe was taken from a 100 Great Breads written by Paul Hollywood (of Great British Bake Off fame) and although the book is composed mainly of yeast raised recipes there are a few other sweet and savoury bakes in there as well, and I highly rate the cheese scone recipe.

Even with variations I feel uncomfortable writing out other chefs recipes so I hope you will forgive me if I just point you to one of his web published recipes over here for a Chocolate & Blackberry loaf which is so very similar to the recipe in 100 Great Breads. The only differences between the blackberry recipe and the cherry recipe were that for the Chocolate & Sour Cherry Loaf:
  • Omit the 50g added sugar
  • Use 30ml of olive oil instead of 40g butter
  • Use 15g of fresh yeast instead of 25g.
The method was the same.
The recipe called for drained tinned cherries so I left my dried cherries to soak overnight in some diluted cherry cordial drained them off and then weighed them out.

You allow the dough to do the main rise before kneading in the cherries and chocolate but when it came to kneading them in I was really struggling to get an even distribution. The cherries were rapidly crushing down to a pulp as I tried to knead them through the dough and the chocolate chips were flying everywhere. I gave up before I would have liked in the interests of keeping the cherries as whole as possible. This had little impact on the baking but when we came to eat the loaf there were clear clusters of fruit and chocolate making it a little harder to slice.
I baked my bread in one large tin loaf whereas the recipe calls for two smaller boules. I just needed to bake the larger tin loaf a little longer.
So here is the loaf, baked and cut in half. I must confess to cutting the loaf a little too soon. The outer crust felt like it had cooled down quite well but on cutting in to the loaf I realised the chocolate chunks were still very soft and this resulted in the chocolate smearing across the crumb as I cut in making the cut loaf look rather messy. Messy or not I was delighted with the taste and texture of this loaf. Dark bitter chocolate, sweet juicy cherries and a crisp crust with a silky crumb. Hard not to keep slicing!

 Later on when the loaf had cooled properly the slices looked a lot better.
We should Cocoa is hosted by Chele of Chocolate Teapot and Choclette of Chocolate Log Blog.  Farmers Girl's own recipe contribution to the challenge is a rather gorgeous looking Chocolate and Cherry Cake


  1. Wow this looks fantastic! Thanks for entering We Should Cocoa this month.

  2. Oooh, that looks great! I hadn't thought of using dried cherries, but I bet they're great in a loaf with chocolate. I can just imagine it toasted - molten chocolate and butter combining - mmmm!

  3. Oh I do like when we get some yeast entries into WSC, so thank you for that. It sounds delicious. I really like sour cherries, they offer such a good contrast to the sweetness of sugar.