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Chocolate and Coffee – a Rx for health?
The following recipe from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., and Zoë François contains chocolate and coffee. How can that be healthy?
Well, chocolate contains phytochemicals (beneficial plant chemicals) that may increase HDL (good) cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and decrease the likelihood of blood clots. Milk chocolate has less of these phytochemicals than dark chocolate because some of the cocoa is replaced by milk, and white chocolate doesn't have any at all. Just remember to eat it in moderation since chocolate also contains fat and sugar.
Coffee contains antioxidants. According to one study, Americans get their highest dose of antioxidants from coffee. It's not yet clear whether that translates into higher body stores of antioxidants, but it's opened up a whole new area of research. Even so, this is not a free pass to indulge in those Starbucks mocha lattes. Instead, order a plain latte or cafe au lait with skim milk and dust with a little cocoa powder.
Chocolate Espresso Whole Wheat Bread
by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., and Zoë François, authors of Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients
Makes enough dough for at least two 2-pound loaves. The recipe is easily doubled or halved. Use any leftover dough to make cupcakes.
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1½ tablespoons granulated yeast, or 2 packets
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt (increase or decrease to taste)
- ¼ cup vital wheat gluten
- 1 cup lukewarm brewed espresso or strong coffee
- 1¼ cups lukewarm water
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup neutral-flavored oil
- ¾ cup honey
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water) for brushing on top crust
- Raw sugar for sprinkling on top
- Mixing and storing the dough: Whisk together the flours, cocoa powder, yeast, salt, and vital wheat gluten in a 5-quart bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) food container.
- Combine the liquid ingredients and the chopped chocolate and mix with the dry ingredients without kneading, using a spoon, a 14-cup food processor (with dough attachment), or a heavy-duty stand mixer (with paddle). You might need to use wet hands to get the last bit of flour to incorporate if you're not using a machine.
- The dough will be loose, but it will firm up when chilled. Don't try to use it without chilling at least 2 hours.
- Cover (not airtight), and allow the dough to rest at room temperature until it rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours.
- Refrigerate it in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 5 days. Beyond that, the dough stores well in the freezer for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container. Freeze it in 2-pound portions. When using frozen dough, thaw it in the refrigerator for 24 hours before use, then allow the usual rest/rise time.
- On baking day, grease an 8½× 4½-inch nonstick loaf pan. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 2-pound (cantaloupe-size) piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.
- Elongate the ball into an oval and place it into the loaf pan; your goal is to fill the pan about three-quarters full. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rest and rise for 1 hour 45 minutes.
- Thirty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 350°F, with a rack placed in the center of the oven. If you're not using a stone in the oven, a 5-minute preheat is adequate. Steam is not needed.
- Just before baking, Use a pastry brush to brush the loaf's top crust with egg wash, and then sprinkle with the raw sugar.
- Bake near the center of the oven for approximately 45 to 50 minutes, until firm.
- Remove the bread from the pan and allow it to cool on a rack before slicing and eating.
- On baking day, grease a muffin tin. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1½-pound (small cantaloupe-size) piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a smooth ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.
- To form the cupcakes, divide the ball into 12 roughly equal portions (each about the size of a golf ball). Shape each one into a smooth ball as you did above. Place the buns in the prepared muffin tins. Allow to rest, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for 40 minutes.
- Thirty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 350°F, with a rack placed in the middle of the oven. If you're not using a stone in the oven, a 5-minute preheat is adequate.
- Just before baking, use a pastry brush to paint the top crust with egg wash, and then sprinkle with the raw sugar. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the cupcakes are richly browned and firm.
- Remove the cupcakes from the tin and allow to cool on a rack before eating.
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., and Zoë François, authors of Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients
Full disclosure: I received a free book from Zoe at the book signing at the FoodBuzz Blogger Festival. I did not receive any compensation to do the giveaway for FSB Associates.
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