Monday, January 26, 2015

Chocolate Hazelnut Semi-Sourdough Boule

Growing up, there was never a time that our pantry went without a jar of chocolate-hazelnut spread. Whether it was brand-name Nutella, the supermarket label or a totally foreign (to us) version, the flavours of rich cocoa, buttery hazelnuts and God only knows how much added oil and sugar were never far from us kids and our wandering spoons! Those days (and I sound so old saying this), we didn't have to worry about bringing tree nuts to school - only peanut butter was verboten - so my picky sister happily subsisted off of Wonder Bread and Nutella sandwiches for years in elementary.

Chocolate Hazelnut Semi-Sourdough BouleNow, of course, more and more things are off the public menu - peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, pork and (most recently in my school) "WowButter" type spreads (granted, this last one is out of worry that the labels will fall off or be accidentally attached to a PB containing item, since the products are so similar). I've even been warned against using chocolate in my cooking classes - which is such a shame given that I preach moderation in all things, including decadent treats. I've kept a few rich goodies on my syllabus though - no fear of that!

Thankfully, out of the school lunchbox doesn't mean off the home menu. While my mom didn't grow up with Nutella, and certainly doesn't have the addiction my younger sibling did, she does enjoy the flavours of bittersweet chocolate and toasted hazelnuts. Looking to create a hearty, crusty and lightly sweet loaf to go with her weekly soup lunches, I took a slightly different tack when it came to infusing flavour throughout the whole crumb. While warming the milk for the dough, I added whole hazelnuts which steeped and softened, giving rich nutty hints to the liquid. Bittersweet chocolate and the merest touch of sourdough starter helped cut through the richness of the nuts and any sticky-sweetness in the dough (which only contained 3 tbsp of brown sugar), and the whole wheat body of the bread stayed moist and tender thanks to both the milk and a touch of soy lecithin. Originally, I wanted to do this recipe with the hazelnut milk I had spotted at the supermarket, but (of course) by the time I got around to baking day it was MIA - no doubt sold out to other hazelnut fans!

Chocolate Hazelnut Semi-Sourdough Boule

A slice of this loaf made for a perfect "end of lunch" carb, not being too sweet but decadent enough for a light dessert when topped with butter or Terry's Chocolate Marmalade. Of course, for breakfast I would totally spread on the peanut butter or cream cheese, and if I wanted a rich weeknight dessert for one I'd make a slab into French toast topped with melted Nutella and dried cherries. Oh yes - I went there!

Shared with YeastSpotting

Chocolate Hazelnut Semi-Sourdough Boule
Makes one large boule, 20 slices
¾ cup whole hazelnuts
1 cup whole milk (or hazelnut milk if you can find it)
3 cups whole wheat bread flour
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp instant yeast
1 tbsp soy lecithin granules (optional, retains the tenderness of the crumb longer, especially if freezing)
½ cup sourdough starter (100% hydration)
¼-⅓ cup water
½ cup chopped bittersweet chocolate
  1. Combine hazelnuts and milk in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook 2 minutes, then remove from heat, cover and let stand 30 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine flour, sugar, salt, yeast and soy lecithin (if using).
  3. Add the sourdough starter, then strain in the hazelnut infused milk (reserve hazelnuts).
  4. Knead with the dough hook, adding water if necessary to make a soft but shapeable dough, for 8 minutes.
  5. Add hazelnuts and chocolate and knead in gently.
  6. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise 30 minutes.
  7. Deflate gently and shape into a ball. Place on a greased sheet tray, cover and refrigerate 2 - 12 hours.
  8. Heat the oven to 375F. Remove dough from fridge and let stand 30 minutes.
  9. Bake for 35 minutes, until hollow sounding when tapped on the bottom. Cool completely before slicing.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 145.0
Total Fat: 6.0 g
Cholesterol: 1.2 mg
Sodium: 123.0 mg
Total Carbs: 22.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.3 g
Protein: 4.2 g