I tend to do things despite knowing they’ll have a bad outcome.
For one, I have to listen to a song I love, loud. In the car, on my iPod, even at our apartment, it has to be turned all the way up. Never mind that some are ballads that make Roo question our relationship.
It may have to do with my yelling, “Oh my God! So much feels!” when they come on.
And they’re all by Rihanna.
Texting while drinking is another; sending messages to people I haven’t talked to in years.
Do you think they want to read ‘Let’s catch up!!!!!’ at 1 a.m with five exclamation points? If they do, well, that’s why I haven’t talked to them for so long. Weirdos.
But the worst is watching reruns of Gossip Girl during my lunch break. (Um, I watch it for the music and fashion.)
Sometimes, I get caught and am forced to bribe my coworkers with baked goods. It’s the only way to keep them from telling me who Gossip Girl is.
Please don’t tell me who Gossip Girl is.
Wait, is it Little J?
No no! Don’t tell me!
Here, have some bread.
This bread has a lovely, crackly crust, while the inside is soft, lush and filled with chunks of partially melted chocolate. It’s only slightly sweet and great toasted the next day with a dollop of peanut butter.
Adapted from Rosemary and Thyme Bread
Makes 1 Large Loaf
A stand mixer with a dough hook (you can use your hands, it’ll just take longer)
A large mixing bowl (used twice)
A flat surface to knead dough on (a cutting board will suffice)
A dutch oven or a heavy large pot (must be oven safe at 450F and not have a thin base)
A sharp knife
One and a quarter cups of warm water (about 110F)
Two and a quarter teaspoons of active dry yeast
Half cup of sugar (This makes a slightly sweet bread.)
4 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons of coarse sea salt
Extra bread flour (to knead with)
One third of a cup of chocolate chunks or chips (I prefer dark as there’s a touch of sugar in the dough itself)
1 tablespoon and teaspoon of olive oil, divided (to coat bowl and dutch oven/pot/loaf)
Pour the warm water into the stand mixer bowl. Add the yeast . Swish the ingredients around gently. Set the mixture aside for about 5 minutes. The mixture should foam and froth after 5 minutes. If not, chuck it into the bin and start over with new yeast.
In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar and salt. Whisk the ingredients together till combined.
Add the flour mixture to the yeast mixture.
*Don’t add the chocolate chunks! It’s coming, just wait.
Knead the ingredients together, using your standing mixer with the dough hook, on low speed for about 10 minutes. (Be sure to ‘lock’ your mixer down.) If you’re kneading the dough with your hands, expect to do so for about double the time.
The dough ball should be smooth, supple and not sticky when ready. As you knead (whether by hand or by stand mixer), if the bread dough seems too ‘wet’ add a bit of flour to help it along.
During the mixing, the dough ball will actually clean off the sides of the bowl. If the dough ball is still wet and there’s plenty of flour left on the sides of the bowl, it’s not ready.
Place the dough ball into the large mixing bowl. Place plastic wrap over the top and allow the dough to rest in a warm, non-drafty spot until it has doubled in size (about an hour).
After the dough has doubled in size, place the oven rack to the middle position in your oven and preheat your oven to 450F.
Remove the dough ball from the bowl and place on a flat surface to knead. I find my wood cutting board works just fine with a handful of flour thrown on.
Knead the chocolate chunks into the dough, by hand for about 2 minutes, or until the chocolate is evenly distributed. Chunks are a bit harder to knead into the dough than chips. If you see any chunks poking out, try tucking them back into the dough as best as you can. If the chunks start tearing your dough, try pinching the dough back together and knead with a gentler touch.
Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the bottom of the dutch oven. Place the dough ball into that oil puddle.
With a sharp knife, slash a deep cross into the dough. Drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil on top of the dough ball.
Place the lid on the dutch oven and bake for 25 minutes at 450F. Remove the dutch oven from the oven. Reduce the heat to 400F and remove the lid carefully (be cautious of any steam). Bake the bread uncovered for 15 minutes at 400F.
Remove the dutch oven from the oven and allow the bread to cool (while still in the dutch oven). Remove to serve at room temperature.