I decided to stop being so pure and create a bread with all the ingredients I avoid all year long: sugar, chocolate, etc. I wanted it to still be highly digestible so I used my basic gluten free boosted sourdough starter. I was concerned that the "sourness" might conflict with the sweet but it worked out really well.
I had an interesting time developing the recipe. I wanted to use cocoa powder, chocolate chips and dried cherries. At this point I have enough experience to have some "instinct" about what basic ingredients to use without following a recipe. By now, I have made enough breads that resulted in excellent texture that I know what I'm looking for in the batter texture: like thick oatmeal. I hand mixed it with a wooden spoon so I could feel the texture change with each addition. At certain times I could feel it needed a bit more arrowroot or flax or water. It was satisfying to choose based on my perceived need and watch and feel it shift to its next stage. I had a rather special experience from it all. I felt connected to centuries of many other bakers who never used written recipes perhaps because they didn't have access to paper and pen or were too busy to write anything down.
The first try was too bitter and not sweet enough. The second was just right! Someone in my family asked why I called it a bread and not a cake. I told him that this bread was not as sweet or light as a cake might be but was more like a sweet bread that wouldn't crash one's blood sugar or turn one into a couch potato. The bread is also made from whole grains and properly fermented so it is highly digestible.
The splurge happens in the chocolate chips and the cherries but the bread itself is not overly sweet. The resulting loaves were very good and were consumed by my family in record time. I made the breads the day before the family came, sliced them, toasted them and served them with a bowl of sweetened whipped cream. They were consumed in record time.
I usually prefer recipes with a simple list of ingredients but this one turned out to be very long. Well woorth it, though!
Holiday Chocolate Bread
Yield: 2 loaves
2 1/2 cups boosted brown rice starter
(boosted with water kefir)
(I wanted a lighter starter so I began it with brown rice flour and used sorghum flour for the other feedings)
½ cup chia gel
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup brown rice or sweet rice flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup water
3 tablespoons melted coconut oil or other oil or butter
¾ cup sugar (I used organic light)
¼ cup coconut flour
¼ cup water
½ teaspoon vanilla powder or vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
¼ cup tapioca flour
1-2 tablespoons arrowroot flour
3 tablespoons flax seed, ground
½ dried cherries
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used vegan chocolate chips)
½ cup chopped walnuts
A few hours before making bread soak ½ cup dried cherries in water, then drain (this hydrates the cherries making them less likely to burn)
Measure out starter into a mixing bowl
Add chia gel, salt, rice flour and mix.
Add cocoa powder, ¼ cup water, oil and mix.
Add sugar, coconut flour, ¼ cup water, vanilla, cinnamon and mix.
Add tapioca flour and 1 tablespoon arrowroot and mix. If the batter seems very thin, add another tablespoon of arrowroot keeping in mind you will next add the flax seed next which will thicken it considerably.
Add ground flax seed. The batter should now be medium thick. If it needs another tablespoon of arrowroot add it now.
Fold in the cherries, chocolate chips and walnuts.
Carefully spoon into 2 loaf pans only half full. (I used parchment paper with the paper higher than the sides of the loaf pan so I could easily lift the loaf out when it came out of the oven)
Let rise 7 hours and bake at 350 for about 50 minutes.
Remove and let cool 5-10 minutes and lift the bread out of the loaf pan for the rest of the cooling.
This bread rose well during the rise but lost a lot of height during the baking so it became a dense almost brownie-like bread/cake.
It was very good right out of the oven.
It’s best warm so after it’s fully cooled it can be reheated by toasting in a toaster or oven.
I also tried slicing half a loaf when it was only out of the oven about 10 minutes. Then I put the slices back in the oven for about 15 minutes. They got a nice outer crust, on the road to Biscotti but not so hard. These were good later on without toasting or reheating.