Well this blog has been so quiet for an entire two weeks. Although I had planned to do some blogging from the road as I traveled through Singapore, Penang, Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Mumbai, after long days of walking in the hot sun and speeding to see as much as I could in the limited time I had at each location, sitting up in front of a computer to write posts and edit pics were beyond my contemplation. I am sorry for my silence, but you will reap the rewards as I have about 6 months of weekly posts on travel and food that I gathered on my trip.
Until then, I am easing back into blogging with a delicious bread for #BreadBakers I had whipped up prior to my departure. This month’s theme is cocoa, or cacao. I had a container of cacao nibs I had picked up a few months back at Home Goods. I love trolling through the food sections of Home Goods & TJ MAXX. You can find great gourmet food products at great prices there!
Although I finally learned the art of sourdough last year, my starter often goes into hibernation as life gets so busy as a freelance chef instructor and since I live alone, it takes a while for me to visit a loaf of bread, even if I often share with others. For this reason, several weeks or even months go by sometimes before I find the time to feed my starter. So then starts the wake up process. If you would like some step by step instructions on how to wake up a dormant starter, check out my post here.
So after it had been many weeks before I had fed my starter, I had to spend two days waking it up. Once Pavani (my starter’s name – she’s named after one of the other Bread Bakers who gifted her to me) had been woken up, I searched through upcoming #BreadBakers themes and was oh so excited to see cacao or any form of chocolate for this month’s theme. I love fresh cacao. There is nothing like picking a fresh nut from the tree, cracking it open and then eating the fresh cacao meat. I am so lucky to have family from the Caribbean and being able to experience the cacao fresh from the tree.
I grew up eating raw cacao and not processed chocolate, as we always had some family member visiting the Caribbean if we did not go ourselves who would bring some back for us. Raw cacao has a lot of great health benefits. It’s high in antioxidant power and has been linked to prevention of heart disease, cardio vascular disease and blood clots. It helps balance hormonal mood swings – Ladies, at that time of the month, this is your excuse to eat as much chocolate as you want, but only the dark chocolate. Remember you want the chocolate to be raw, if possible. Cacao is also super high in magnesium, giving you energy. Another excuse to eat cacao is for shiny hair and nails as well as good liver and pancreas health as it is very high in sulfur. It’s also been linked in helping to lower blood pressure and insulin dependency in diabetics. Not to mention, it helps cognitive function and may lead to Alzheimer prevention…Is that enough? No?
Like green tea, it has MAO inhibitors which is a natural appetite suppressant. If you drink a cup before meals, it should help you shed fat, however, the problem is we usually drink it with milk. If you have to drink it with milk, you should use rice milk or nut based milk because dairy products inhibit the antioxidant absorption.
There are still more health benefits…but too much for me to list here. However, remember I am only referring to raw cacao – not the processed chocolate that often has other additives including butter, sugar, milk products and emulsifiers. In order to get all the full benefits of cacao, I used raw cacao nibs in this recipe.
I knew I had to make a sweet bread since cacao was the star and I thought the contrast with the tang of the sourdough would taste awesome and I wasn’t mistaken. I was so happy this bread experiment turned out to be a winner.
Sourdough Cacao Sweet Bread
Prep Time: 6 hours
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Yield: 1 loaf
- 1 cup fed sourdough starter
- 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1/2 cup ground flax seed
- 3 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup cacao nibs
- 1/2 cup tutti frutti/ candied fruit
- 2 cups warm water
Combine all ingredients except water in large bowl and mix to combine. Add water and mix until thoroughly combined. Cover with greased plastic wrap and a kitchen towel.
Leave to rise until doubled in size, approximately 3 hours.
Spray a 10″ Dutch oven with non stick spray. Transfer dough to Dutch oven and spread in an even layer. Leave to rise until doubled in size, about 3 hours.
Bake for 40 minutes. Uncover. Bake for another 10 minutes.
Notes: I made this bread on the first really cold day of the season, back in January, on a night when it was 16 F outside my window. The rising time will be less if it is warmer where you are. I would start checking it after 1 hour.
This bread is not only delicious but full of all that cacao antioxidant power!
It’s got a great flavor contrast with the sourdough tang and the sweet ingredients used. It is only mildly sweet and is perfectly complimented with speculoos (cookie butter) and cheese.
Spread with speculoos and cheese, this bread is great to compliment breakfast.
Breads with Cocoa, Cacao or Carob in any form
- Chocolate & Cherry Swirl Breads from The Bread She Bakes
- Chocolate Orange Swirl Buns from Mayuri’s Jikoni
- Chocolate and Vanilla Brioche from Kidsandchic
- Chocolate Banana Quick Bread from Basic N Delicious
- Chocolate Buttermilk Quick Bread from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Chocolate Filled Bundt Bread from Food Lust People Love
- Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Chocolate Monkey Bread from Sara’s Tasty Buds
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Quick Bread from Magnolia Days
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Cinnamon Rolls from From Gate to Plate
- Chocolate Yeast Bread from Cook’s Hideout
- Croatian Povitica – Chocolate Walnut Swirl Bread from Herbivore Cucina
- Dark Chocolate Cherry Pocket Bread from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Dark Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns from Baking in Pyjamas
- Double Chocolate Espresso Scones from Wholistic Woman
- Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread from Sizzling Tastebuds
- Egg Free 45 Minutes Chocolate Buns from Gayathri’s Cook Spot
- Eggless Chocolate Babka from I Camp in my Kitchen
- Eggless Chocolate Swirl Buns from Seduce Your Tastebuds
- Eggless Triple Chocolate Scones from Spill the Spices
- Four-Chocolate Sour Cream Quickbread from What Smells So Good?
- Leopard Print Bread from Spiceroots
- Pain Au Chocolat (Chocolate filled Croissants) from G’Gina’s Kitchenette
- Pane Al Cioccolato – Chocolate Bread from Ruchik Randhap
- Petits Pain au Chocolat – Mini Chocolate Croissant from Sneha’s Recipe
- Sourdough Cacao Sweet Bread from The Schizo Chef
- Sweet Russian Chocolate Braid from Hostess At Heart
- Two Chocolates Greek Yogurt Banana Bread from La cocina de Aisha
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.
We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.
If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to [email protected].