Monday, May 24, 2021

Mocha Cappuccino Bread

This hearty Mocha Cappuccino Bread is full of coffee and chocolate flavour, accented by the nutty notes of whole grain flour and @naturespathorganic Flax Plus Multigrain Flakes and studded with dark chocolate chips. A slice with peanut (or our favourite - cashew) butter makes for a decadent breakfast or anytime snack!

I have always loved the combination of coffee and chocolate. As a kid, my parents would make cafe au lait with a squeeze of chocolate syrup for me while they had their morning brews, and when I was introduced to cafe mochas as a young teen a good portion of my babysitting money found it's way into the coffers of the local coffee shop. Today, I always treat myself to a scaled-down, yet still delicious mocha as I'm winding down for the night - it may seem counterintuitive to have a late night coffee but it helps me sleep! While I love coffee itself too, I will fight tooth and nail for the chocolate and caffeine fix!

The only other person I know who shares the fierceness of my die hard love of coffee and chocolate is my mom. When I made chocolate-covered spoons in Home Economics class, all of a sudden they would "disappear" and a pot of coffee would be made. Even today, when I'm given chocolates from my students for Christmas or Easter, I'm guaranteed to find all the coffee-flavoured bon bons gone within a day or two! So, when I came across this coffee-infused loaf on Kneady Girl I was inspired to give it a twist, especially when it came to playing with one of my mom's new favourite cereals - Nature's Path's Flax Plus Flakes. She loves them because they stay crisp in milk and have a really deep, nutty and complex flavour when compared to other bran flake cereals as well as having fibre, protein and iron - all nutrients that she (and many people I know) struggle to get enough of in their daily diets. 

The crushed cereal wove its way throughout the loaves, staying slightly distinct even when saturated with the coffee and chocolate milk. For even more chocolate flavour, I rolled chocolate chips into the dough before coiling everything up and letting it proof in springform pans to help it maintain form. This bread baking smelled like the coffee shop I used to have by my university campus in Ottawa - a combination of pastry, yeast, chocolate and freshly brewed coffee wafting it's way around the kitchen. It was a good thing mom was out while I baked - when she came home she made a beeline for it right away!

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Back to Basics Sourdough

What is more comforting than a back to basics, simple loaf of sourdough? If you have time on your hands (at least a few hours worth for active labour and a few days for resting) and a decent starter, this delicately tangy, chewy crust loaf can be yours with really very little effort! My sister hardly waited for it to cool before grabbing a big slice!

Well, happy May! I don't know if it's just me, but time seems to both crawl and fly by when lockdowns are involved - suddenly I have 10 times the work to do and almost none of the time to do it. Luckily, the school year is winding down and Summer is almost here, so while it may be crazy now I'm hoping good weather and more social opportunities will be around the bend.

Because I've been every so slightly busy these days, my breadmaking has transformed into low-effort, long rise affairs where I can simply mix, cover and rest, rest, rest until baking day. Luckily, sourdough is built for just that purpose - and you can mix up a few doughs and bake them throughout the week for always fresh bread with ever-tangier crumbs. This particular loaf arose from my sister's hankering for a sourdough boule while I was writing final exams. After promising her that everything would be baked off after the last test was in the books, I mixed up the levain and let it get to work. After the dough came together, it was pretty much hands off, save for the few stretch-and-folds along the way. A scorching hot Dutch oven was my baking vessel of choice and resulted in a blistered crust with a few open air pockets throughout. 

I say this a lot about bread, but if you have no self-control around carbs, the aroma of this one when it cools will tempt you beyond belief! I think this boule survived an hour on the cooling rack before the knives came out, leading to the round getting ever so slightly squashed. While the appearance may have suffered a bit, once the chunk was smeared with butter it didn't matter - the whole thing was gone within a week and the next batch already resting. The recipe is basic for a reason, and is a keeper in this household - I would love to try it in a real banneton one day too.