Someone asked me at work why I bake and cook so much. People often get surprised since not many people like to cook or bake nowadays. I just told them that it is my escape. Escape from real life issues/problems or everyday mundane chores.
Apart from cooking/baking, there is something else I like to do when I am not so happy - 'Go Shopping'. Is there anyone with me on this?
What do you do that makes you happy? That gives you a feeling of escaping from all the challenges life throws at you. I would love to hear about your escape(s).
I made this bread adapting it to use 'sourdough starter'. Refer to the link given to make it without using the 'sourdough starter'. I did make some changes which I have explained below.
Adapted from here.
Sourdough Starter - 1 cup (unfed at room temperature - see notes)
Bread flour or all purpose flour - 3 1/2 - 4 cups
Yogurt - 1/4 cup (in place of egg)
Milk - 1/2 cup (luke warm)
Miniature semisweet chocolate chips - 1 cup
Cocoa powder - 1 TBSP
Oil - 4 tablespoons or 1/4 cup
Salt - 1 1/4 tsp
Sugar - 1/4 cup
Vanilla extract - 2 tsp
Instant Yeast - 2 tsp (See Notes)
For the topping:
Water - to brush the loaf before baking
Coarse sugar/Raw sugar - 2 - 3 TBSP
Warm the milk. Add sugar to it and stir. Sprinkle yeast on it and let it get frothy. In another large bowl, take the sourdough starter. Add salt, yogurt, oil, vanilla extract. Stir to combine. Add the yeast and milk mixture to it and stir. Slowly start adding the flour. Add enough to make a smooth but a little sticky dough. Knead for about 5 minutes. Coat with oil and cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for about 1 1/2 hour or till double in bulk.
In another bowl, take the miniature chocolate chips and coat it with cocoa powder. This is optional. You could actually coat it with some confectioner's sugar if you prefer that. But, if you coat it with cocoa, it will give a kind of marbled effect in the baked bread.
When the dough has doubled in bulk, gently deflate the dough. Add the cocoa coated chocolate chips and work it into the dough. Grease an 8" square pan or a 9 " square pan with vegetable oil spray. Press the dough into the pan so that it is entirely covering the bottom of the pan. Cover loosely with an oiled plastic wrap or aluminum foil and let rise for about an hour or till the dough has risen till the edge of the pan. Brush with water and sprinkle the coarse sugar.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. When preheated, place the pan in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Take out the pan and cover loosely with an aluminum foil. Bake for an additional 30 minutes or till the top is golden. Let it cool on the wire rack in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife on the edges of the pan and invert onto the wire rack to cool completely. Slice the bread when completely cool. Serve with some milk or coffee.
Original recipe had just 3 3/4 cup of flour. Since it took me more, I didn't want to bake in a 9 " round pan as suggested. I used 9" square pan instead. Even if you use 9" round pan, it should be okay, just a taller loaf. Original recipe also had making a mixture of water, vanilla extract and sugar and pouring that on the top of the loaf before baking. I didn't want to do all that and I brushed the loaf with water and sprinkled the sugar. I also didn't have any vanilla bean and I skipped that ingredient. Even though I was using starter, I added yeast since my starter was not fed. If using a fed and bubbly starter, you might need just 1 tsp of yeast. Sending this to Susan's Yeastspotting.
Another picture of how dough looked before baking and after baking ..