White Chocolate Club Med Bread with Step by Step Photos Part 1

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This very special bread is featured in my book The Baking Bible which will be published two days from now! It was inspired by one that my darling cousin Elizabeth Granatelli brought me after a visit to Club Med, where they present guests with a loaf of it at the end of each stay. I adapted a version using my Soft White Sandwich Loaf recipe from The Bread Bible as the base. Adding little cubes of white chocolate to the dough results in small lacy holes lined with a sweet coating of the chocolate. This bread proved to be quite a challenge because the white chocolate close to the surface of the bread became very dark brown. After seven tries, just as I was about to give up, I thought of a great technique: I held out about one-third of the dough before adding the white chocolate to the rest, and then wrapped the dough without the chocolate around the shaped loaf.

I discovered that for the best oven spring and additional 1/2 inch in height, starting at a slightly higher temperature for the first five minutes of baking works well in my oven. As ovens vary in heat retention once the door is opened you may want to experiment with this method for this and other breads! I'm so glad I persisted--this is fantastic bread, incredibly soft, light, and flavorful. It is especially delicious lightly toasted and spread with butter and strawberry jam or brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar! It makes a great and unusual breakfast or tea bread. And sweet/savory lunch spread with peanut butter and jelly or preserves.

I am offering this preview from the book because it gives me the opportunity to provide many step by step photos illustrating this special technique of creating a dough 'skin' or envelope to encase bread doughs. 

White Chocolate Club Med Bread

Makes: One 9 by 5 by 4-1/2 inch high loaf

Oven Temperature : 375°F/190°C, then 350°F/175°C

Baking Time : 40 to 50 minutes

Special Equipment One 9 by 5 inch (8 cups), lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray | A baking stone or baking sheet

Dough Starter

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Make the Dough Starter (Sponge) In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the water, honey, flour, and yeast. Whisk by hand for about 2 minutes until very smooth to incorporate air. The dough will be the consistency of a thick batter. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set the starter aside while you make the flour mixture.

Dough

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Combine the Ingredients for the Flour Mixture In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, dry milk, and yeast. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the sponge, forming a blanket of flour, and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Let it ferment for 1 up to 4 hours at room temperature, or 1 hour at room temperature and up to 24 hours refrigerated. (If refrigerated, allow it to sit at room temperature for 1 hour before mixing.) During this time, the sponge will bubble through the flour blanket in places.

Mix the Dough Attach the roller if using the Ankarsrum, or the dough hook if using another stand mixer. Add the butter and mix on low speed for 1 minute, or until the flour is moistened to form a rough dough. Scrape down the sides of the bowl for any bits of dough. Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 20 minutes. Sprinkle on the salt and knead the dough on medium-low speed for 7 to 10 minutes. It may not come away from the bowl until the last minute or so of kneading. The dough will be smooth and shiny and stick to your fingers. With a spatula that has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray, scrape down any dough clinging to the sides of the bowl.

Let the Dough Rise Using a spatula or dough scraper that has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray, scrape the dough into a 2 quart/2 liter dough rising container or bowl that has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray. Push down the dough and lightly coat the surface with nonstick cooking spray. (The dough should weigh about 25.3 ounces/718 grams.) Unless putting it in an enclosed area with hot water, cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap. With a piece of tape, mark the side of the container at approximately where double the height of the dough should be after rising. Let the dough rise in a warm place (ideally at 75° to 85°F/24°to 29°C) until it reaches the mark, 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

Deflate and Chill the Dough Using a spatula or dough scraper that has been lightly coated with cooking spray, turn the dough onto a floured counter and gently press down on it to form a rectangle. It will be full of air and resilient. Try to maintain as many of the air bubbles as possible. Give the dough a business letter turn (fold it into thirds), brushing off any excess flour, and again press down on it or roll it out into a rectangle. Rotate it 90 degrees so that the closed end is facing to your left. Give it a second business letter turn and round the corners. Set the dough back in the container. Lightly coat the top, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour to firm the dough for rolling.

Shape the Dough and Let It Rise Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter and press down on it with floured hands to form a rectangle. Roll the dough into a 12 by 6 inch rectangle, flouring the counter and the rolling pin if necessary to keep it from sticking. With a sharp knife, cut off a 4-1/2 by 6 inch strip (8.5 ounces/242 grams) from one end. Wrap this dough lightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate while shaping the larger piece.

Roll the larger piece of dough to lengthen it to about 12 inches. Strew the white chocolate evenly on top of the dough. Roll up the dough to encase the chocolate and then knead it to incorporate the chocolate evenly. Sprinkle lightly with flour if it is very sticky. Set it aside, covered with plastic wrap, for 20 minutes.

Lightly flour the counter and roll the dough containing the chocolate into a 9 by 8 inch rectangle. Shape the dough into a log, starting from the top and rolling down to the bottom. When you reach the bottom edge of the dough, pinch it firmly against the outside of the dough to make a tight seam.

Set the shaped loaf, seam side down, on the counter. Roll the smaller piece of dough into a 9 by 8-1/2 inch rectangle. It will be about 1/8 inch thick. Lightly spritz or brush water on top. Set the shaped loaf, horizontally and centered near the bottom of the dough rectangle, seam side down. Wrap the dough rectangle snuggly around the shaped loaf so that the two edges meet, and pinch them together all along the bottom edge. Set it seam side down on the counter and pinch together the sides of the dough to enclose the loaf. Tuck them under, and set the shaped dough in the prepared loaf pan, pushing it down firmly. It will be about 1 inch from the top.

Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap that has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray. Let the bread rise in a warm place (ideally 75° to 85°F/24° to 29°C) for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 2 hours. The highest point should be 1 inch above the sides of the pan and when pressed lightly with a fingertip, the dough should keep the impression.

Preheat the Oven Forty-five minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and place the baking stone or baking sheet on it. Place a cast iron skillet, lined with aluminum foil to prevent rusting, or a sheet pan on the floor of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C.

Bake the Bread Mist the dough with water. Quickly but gently set the pan on the hot baking stone or baking sheet and toss 1/2 cup of ice cubes into the pan on the oven floor. Immediately shut the door and bake for 5 minutes. Lower the heat to 350°F/175°C and continue baking for 20 minutes. For even baking, rotate the pan halfway around. Continue baking for 15 to 25 minutes, or until medium golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. (An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 195° to 211°F/90° to 100°C.)

Cool the Bread Remove the bread from the oven, unmold it from the pan, and transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely, top side up, at least 2 hours.

Store Room temperature, 2 days; airtight: frozen, 3 months.

Notes
Use standard supermarket clover honey such as Gold Blossom or Sue Bee, as they are pasteurized so the enzymes will not kill the yeast.

2 tablespoons is the volume for 0.8 ounce/23 grams of King Arthur's Baker's Special Dry Milk. If using another brand of "instant" dry milk, use the same weight, which will be double the volume (1/4 cup).

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Cool the Bread Remove the bread from the oven, unmold it from the pan, and transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely, top side up, at least 2 hours.

Store Room temperature, 2 days; airtight: frozen, 3 months.

THE FERMENTING STARTER

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MIXING THE DOUGH

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KNEADING THE DOUGH

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THE FULLY KNEADED DOUGH

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THE DOUGH RISEN TO DOUBLE

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STRETCHING THE DOUGH

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FOLDING THE DOUGH IN THIRDS

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STRETCHING THE DOUGH AGAIN IN THE OTHER DIRECTION

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FOLDING THE DOUGH IN THIRDS AGAIN

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CUTTING OFF THE DOUGH FOR WRAPPING THE OUTSIDE OF THE LOAF

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ADDING WHITE CHOCOLATE TO THE LARGER PIECE OF DOUGH

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THE WHITE CHOCOLATE KNEADED INTO THE DOUGH

The Ankarsrum Original is available on this link: Ankarsrum Original AKM 6220 Red Stand Mixer