Friday, July 6, 2012

Rediscovering the Bread Machine: Cherry-Pecan Cocoa Bread

I might be using my bread machine a lot more.

The August/September issue of Country Woman magazine has a feature on bread machine recipes. I pulled out my Magic Chef, dusted it off and tried two recipes so far.

Here is one, by request of my Tweep Meghan: Cherry-Pecan Cocoa Bread.

Yes, I made it on a day that had a heat advisory, but a bread machine doesn't create as much heat as the oven. And I did it in early morning.

The flavor is really good. My only gripe about Cherry-Pecan Cocoa Bread is that when I added the cherries and nuts before the final kneading, the dough ball was so solid that it just sorta chased them around the pan (I watched) and never incorporated them evenly throughout the dough. So the baked loaf has cherries and pecans around the bottom and sides and not in the middle or near the top. Next time, I will add them earlier ... if not at the beginning, then after the ingredients are moistened and starting to come together.

2/3 cup warm whole milk (70 - 80 degrees F)
1/3 cup water (70 - 80 degrees F)
5 Tablespoons butter, softened
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups bread flour
5 Tablespoons baking cocoa
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (See note)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup dried cherries

Note: A little envelope of active dry yeast has about 2 teaspoons of yeast, so plan accordingly. In bread machine pan, place the first eight ingredients in order suggested by manufacturer, usually beginning with liquids and ending with yeast. Select basic bread setting. If available, choose light crust color and 1 1/2-pound loaf size.

Check dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1-2 Tablespoons of water or flour if needed. Just before the final kneading (or much sooner in my case), add the pecans and cherries. Bake according to bread machine directions. Yield: 1 loaf (1 1/2 pounds, 16 slices.)

From Country Woman magazine, August-September 2012

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