It's fall. It's officially fall by the calendar and by the weather outside in beautiful Chicago. For me, that means that I'm back to cooking inside with the oven and that I'm starting to make more hearty dishes.
I made a bunch of bread dough this weekend, and I had some left in the fridge yesterday. As I tried to decide what I wanted to do with it - breadsticks? A boule? More pizza? - I hit upon an idea. I was in the mood for something desserty but not overly sweet. I adore chocolate babka, but oh my word is that an involved process compared to the time I had at 7:30 last night. Plus I already had dough made.
So I made my own version of most definitely not chocolate babka but something vaguely reminiscent of it. And that loaf? Twelve hours later, it's gone. I think that's a ringing endorsement, don't you?
Chocolate Stuffed Bread
1 recipe of your favorite bread dough - you could use my lazy version or even a baguette dough
1/2 c brown sugar (oops, I didn't measure)
1/2 c dark chocolate chips (nope, didn't measure that either)
1 t cinnamon
Make the bread dough according to the regular instructions. Let it go through its first rise. At that point, you'll want to start deviating. Flour your surface well. Go ahead and get it nice and flat, maybe 1/4 inch thick or a little less and long. You want it maybe 4 inches tall and the rest goes to length.
Note that I am not being in the least exact in what I'm doing. It's bread. It isn't supposed to be perfect. This is how people know you made it yourself. Now for the easy part. Sprinkle the brown sugar along the length of the dough. You want just a hint of it, not covered like you would with a cinnamon roll. The idea is to make the dough a little sweeter so that it isn't bread. And chocolate. It's a little more nuanced.
Then sprinkle the cinnamon over the brown sugar because cinnamon and chocolate are awesome together. The chips go atop the sugar and cinnamon. Gently press the chocolate chips in just a little so they'll hold but not so much that they poke through the other side of the dough.
Starting at one of the small ends, start rolling it up like a giant cinnamon roll. Once you have it completely rolled, curl it around itself and press the two open ends together so that it makes a circle. Again, this isn't exact. You just want a shape for your bread, so have fun with it.
Place your bread onto a peel sprinkled with cornmeal to rise. You don't want to have to touch it again and destroy the rising it will do. If you are going to bake this in a pan because you don't have a peel and stone to bake it on, that's fine. Simply make sure your pan is greased so it won't stick when you take it out after it's baked. Let your dough rest for an hour to rise, lightly covered with a barely damp towel.
About twenty minutes into the rise, preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Make sure you have a small, empty pan in the oven on the bottom shelf. When the dough has finished its rise, go ahead and put it in the oven. Immediately fill a cup with water and put the water into the empty pan to create steam. This is how you have a nice crunchy crust on the outside. Once you've added the water, close the door and don't open it again until the bread is done.
Depending on the size of your loaf, the cook time will vary. With a normal size serving of bread dough, bake it for 35 minutes, but adjust based on your oven and amount of dough you're using. I baked my smaller dough for 28 minutes, and it was perfect.
Try to let your bread cook before cutting into it, but if you can't... you weren't alone! Enjoy this and more with Blessed With Grace and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday. Rachel from A Southern Fairytale has an awesome Mouthwatering Monday linkup that I participate in, too.