Sunday, January 22, 2012

Stout Chocolate-Cherry Bread and Award

This bread was delicious with little specks of chocolate and pieces of cherry
Today was very cold and snowy! This will sound strange but, it's about time! With the exception of a freak October snow storm (I was in Florida) we have had unseasonably warm weather here in NJ. We didn't even get a dusting for Christmas.  Our temps have been much warmer than usual...that's not all bad, but I've really been missing the snow.  Well, last night it snowed!  Only 6 inches but, it's snow.  This morning everything has been transformed into a magical white, wonderland.  Crisp and clean. Taking away the winter gloom and filling it with wonder and mystery. So, when I woke and saw this gorgeous white carpet, my first instinct was to bake a bread. Snow does that to me. Filling the kitchen with warmth and the sweet smells of something delicious. I planned for this. When I first heard it was going to snow, I pulled out a recipe that I've been wanting to bake.  I clipped it from Cooking Light Magazine years ago. It has always intrigued me. It's a yeast bread that is first made with a sponge. The sponge is made with yeast, flour and Guinness beer. Sounds intriguing, right!  So the night before the snow I started the sponge. It had to be refrigerated over night. The next morning I took it from the fridge and set it out for an hour and a half. Mixed it up, let it rise and in the end, a beautiful loaf of stout chocolate-cherry bread. This bread was delicious! It will not be the last appearance it makes in our house. 

The recipe calls for stout...I had draught

The next morning just out of the fridge
This was the hardest part...kneading in the cherries and patient! 
Let rise till doubled in size
Then punch down and let rest 5 minutes...then shape into a round loaf and let rise till doubled again
Brush with egg white, sprinkle with sugar and bake
Just out of the oven!
My backyard...covered in a lovely white blanket
Our winter wonderland

Stout Chocolate-Cherry Bread
from Cooking Light

YIELD: 20 servings (serving size: 1 slice)
COURSE: Breads

4 1/4 cups bread flour, divided
1 (12-ounce) bottle Guinness Stout
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried tart cherries
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
Cooking spray
1 teaspoon water
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pearl sugar (optional)


Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 2 cups flour, beer, and yeast in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Remove mixture from refrigerator; let stand 1 hour.

Add 2 cups flour, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, and salt; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky). Knead in cherries and chocolate.

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press 2 fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)

Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Shape dough into a 9-inch round; place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Lightly coat dough with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Uncover the dough. Combine water and egg white, stirring with a whisk, and brush over dough. Sprinkle the dough with pearl sugar, if desired. Make a 1/4-inch-deep cut down the center of dough using a sharp knife.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bread is browned on bottom and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pan; cool on a wire rack.

I am very late with a big thank you to Susan, of Create Amazing Meals, who picked my blog to receive the "Liebster Blog" award! Susan has a fabulous blog where she really does create amazing meals! Susan and I met as members of French Fridays with Dorie. We have been cooking together for the past year and I am always blown away by her gorgeous food and her beautiful photos. Make sure you stop by and say, "Hello".

Since I started my blog, I have met such wonderful people, who share a like interest and who, have become my blogger friends. The best thing about getting an award like this is to be able to pass it on! So here it goes! These are my five.
One of my favorite blogs to visit is Ryan BakesThere is always something sweet coming out of Ryan's kitchen. She is very creative and makes the most beautiful desserts! 
A blog that I have recently discovered is The Irish Mother. This is such a lovely blog with lovely photos and great recipes. Looking forward to getting to know her better in 2012.
Elaine of California Living is a fellow Dorista. She always has such artistic and interesting things going on over at her blog. She also participates with Baked Sunday Mornings. I have been cooking with Elaine for the past year and she is always so supportive and generous.
Another Dorista ( A term coined by Trevor of SisBoom) is Rose of OneExpatsLife. I always enjoy reading her blog and getting a glimpse into life in Germany. 
And last but certainly not least is Lola of Lola's Kitchen. Lola is another French Friday Dorista and will soon be baking with the on line group Tuesdays with Dorie.  Her blog is always welcoming and informative.
I hope you check out all of these very talented ladies and their blogs. 
Here are the rules for the awardees:

1.  Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them.

2.  List the top five blogs you love (who have less than 200 followers) and link to them, telling a bit about each one. Leave a comment on their blogs to let them know you've nominated them.


  1. I cannot think of a more perfect bread for a snowy day. We have also been late on the snow - I love how it looks - but I hate traveling in it - so I am a bit of a Scrooge about the snow. But then I look at those lovely photos and dream of your enchanting bread... and winter is just fine. For now.

  2. Congratulations on your award!

    Your backyard looks gorgeous with that blanket of snow, and the weather seems like perfect baking weather. I miss the snow, now I only get snow-capped mountains, and Thursday is supposed to be 82 - hardly winter weather.

    Could you make this without the chocolate and still have a taste bread? I'd love to try it but can't eat chocolate since it gives me a migraine.

    Have a terrific week!

    1. Christy, I would think it would be fine with just the cherries. I would just double the amount.
      Snow capped mountains and 82 degrees sounds wonderful! Enjoy your week!

  3. Congratulations on your award, Kathy! Thank you so much for sharing it with me. I feel very honored!

    Starting off this bread with a sponge does sound so intriguing. I really want to try making this soon. You are so right - baking on a a cold, snowy day is just the most perfect thing to do! I love the pictures of your snow - your backyard looks so beautiful.

    I hope you have a lovely week!

  4. Congrats on the award! And you definitely have more patience than I do with all that kneading!

  5. Just found your blog! Wow! Some really lovely recipes! This one in particular!

  6. Really fun recipe - perfect for this awful cold weather!!
    Mary x

  7. Just came across this blog, congrats on your award. That bread looks amazing. Love the photos of the snow.

  8. Chocolates, cherries and bread. Perfect combination. We miss snow so much down here so we enjoy seeing photos! I love seeing that huge bulk of dough in one photo and then that golden loaf in the next. Delish.

  9. OMG-Kathy, I just love your bread with the chocolate chips and cherries! So inviting, addictive...would not be able to stop at one slice. Incredibly super delicious. It turned out so perfect, and so well worth all that work!
    Your backyard reminds me of my sister's in Ohio! Same tall trees...her back yard looks like a "national forest park" so beautiful in the 4 seasons. Love the serene blanket of white snow:DDD

    Congratulations on the award...I remember this one so well, received this over 1 year ago, and it's still making the rounds!

  10. Wow, I guess both congratulations & thanks are in order! That's very sweet of you and I feel so unworthy.

    And how about sending some of that beautiful snow over this way. We haven't seen a single flake this winter and my Vermont heart is missing it.

    1. Congratulations on your award and I have to say(so sad) on your NY Giants win! Your bread looks just gorgeous and since I'm on a bread baking kick I will bookmark this recipe!

  11. Congrats on the award. I love this bread - totally up my alley :-)

  12. Your chocolate cherry bread looks and sounds delicious. I can not wait to try it. Congratulations on the award:)

  13. Wow, Kathy. This bread is so intriguing! I'm definitely going to have to try it! I'll bet the leftovers would make the most amazing bread pudding!

    I laughed at your comment about the beach & the snow! Too funny! I went on a sunset tour with a professional photographer at the beach on Sunday & was soaked up to my bum! Luckily, it stayed warm enough that I didn't freeze! The sunset wasn't very spectacular that night, but I got some great shots of Starfish & Sea Anemones that I'll be posting soon.

  14. Beautiful winter wonderland you have there! I often yearn for days of staying inside without a lot to do except baking, playing board games, watching movies, etc. :)

  15. Since I have a terrible case of "yeastaphobia," I always enjoy salivating over other people's breads:) Yours looks heavenly, Kathy, just perfect for a long over due snowy day. (not that I can say I honestly missed it but it was a welcome surprise when it too arrived here in PA) I've driven through Jersey many many times in the snow and yes, some spots are simply a wonderland. Kudos on the Award!!!

    Thank you so much for sharing...

    P.S. Our snow is already gone it's so darn warm!

    1. Ours too! It"s been a very warm winter...I still have herbs growing on my deck.

  16. Such a gorgeous loaf, Kathy! I love the addition of dried cherries...yum, yum! Congrats on your well deserved award! I've signed up for Tuesdays with Dorie, too...hope we can keep up with both Dorie adventures!

  17. Thank you for the Award Kathy! Its so nice to feel included in the blogging community. You are a great support to others! I'm traveling but when I get home your bread is on the top of my list of things to do!!

  18. This bread looks wonderful, I am going to pin it and come back to it so that I can make this for Mark as I know he would just love the combination of flavors in it. And, just for the record, the snow pictures were nice, but between you and me, I am not personally missing it here at all. lol

  19. Wow your bread looks so delicious!!!!! Fantastic bread :)

  20. Congratulations on your well-deserved award, Kathy! I always enjoy reading about what you're up to. This bread is so intriguing. I'll bet that people would be surprised if they didn't know it was chocolate and cherries because it resembles a more savory olive loaf. I'd like to try this recipe.

  21. What a spectacular bread idea! Choc, cherry and stout are a heavenly combination. I'm going to have to give this a try really soon.