Rye Bread with Dried Sour Cherries and Chocolate Chips
The original recipe is adapted from Eric Rusch, the master baker from breadtopia.com. I’ve made it 8-10 times with varying proportions of the ingredients, and this is my final version.
As with most of my breads, I used a bit of instant yeast as well as the levain, and did a long (overnight) fermentation. I’ve also tried this (today) with a two-hour second rise at room temperature, and it turned out equally well. So… try it both ways and see what you think.
Note: All measurements are in grams, because precision and proportions count when you’re making bread or anything yeasted. Use an electronic scale that gives weights in both grams and ounces.
350g water – I’d start with 200g boiling water, and add 150g cold water to make it room temp
150g levain (sourdough starter) – more is also okay 4g instant yeast – about 1 tsp
175g (scant two cups) all-purpose flour
175g (scant two cups) bread flour
200g (two cups) rye flour
10g kosher salt
150g dark chocolate chips; I use 51% chocolate chips from CostCo
150g dried sour cherries – Montmorency or Morello cherries (or a mixture thereof)
Additional flour for dusting the countertop
Plastic spatula and a dough scraper; a razor blade or lame; baker’s peel
Butter or oil spray such as Pam for greasing the bowls/pans; baking sheet or pizza stone
1. Take your levain out of the fridge, preferably a good hour before starting this process. It should be starting to bubble. You can warm it in a very low oven.
2. Pour the molasses into a medium-sized bowl and add 200g boiling water. Stir well. Add 150g cold water, then a heaping tsp dried yeast. Stir well, then add 150g levain. Set aside while you measure out the flours.
3. Place a separate bowl on your electronic scale. Zero out after every addition. Measure out 175g all-purpose flours [reset], 175g strong bread flour [reset], 200g rye flour [reset], and 10g kosher salt.
4. Using an electric hand-mixer, beat the yeast and levain until smooth. Add flour+salt to the yeast mixture and beat until well combined. You should end up with a wet dough. Use a hard plastic scraper to incorporate any extra flour into the wet dough.
5. Cover with plastic wrap sprayed with Pam (or oil) pressed to the top of the dough; let the dough rest (autolyse) at room temperature or in a faintly warm oven for 20-30 minutes.
6. While it’s resting, measure out 150g dried sour cherries and 150g chocolate chips.
7. Sprinkle a counter with flour. Dump the dough onto the flour, and use a dough scraper to fold the dough over itself a few times. Knead the dough vigorously for five minutes until it is springy and flexible and is no longer picking up extra flour.
8. Spread out the dough in a roughly rectangular shape. (I use my forearms to press out the dough as required.) Sprinkle some cherries and chocolate chips on half the dough, fold over the other half, and press down. Repeat 6-8 times until all the cherries and chocolate are used up and distributed evenly through the dough. Shape into an log or bâtard shape.
9. Cover with plastic wrap sprayed with Pam or oil and set aside. At this point, you can put the dough in the fridge overnight. If so, bring the dough out at least two hours before you plan to bake it, to bring it up to room temperature before starting the oven. The dough wants to almost double in size before baking. Place on a piece of baking parchment.
10. Preheat the oven to 450°F/235°C. If you have a pizza stone, put it on the lowest shelf. On the floor of the oven, put an old cast-iron frying pan (for boiling water to provide steam). Once the oven is hot, slash the top of the loaf with your razor blade or lame; this helps with oven spring.
11. Boil a kettle. Using a peel, slide the loaf onto the baking stone (or place on a baking sheet and put in the center of the oven). Pour boiling water into the heavy frying pan, and shut the oven door as quickly as possible. Bake for about 30-35 minutes until the internal temp is about 205°F/95°C, and tapping on the bottom produces a hollow sound.
12. Allow to cool on a rack. When completely cooled, bread can be frozen: wrap well in plastic and place in a ziplok bag. Otherwise, store in a paper bag at room temperature.
I like a slice or two toasted with vegan cream cheese, ordinary cream cheese, or unsalted butter. As with anything else containing chocolate, storage is not a problem!